06/15/14 — Battle for the crown: Miss Goldsboro 2014 Emily Tucker

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Battle for the crown: Miss Goldsboro 2014 Emily Tucker

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 15, 2014 1:50 AM

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Emily Tucker, Miss Goldsboro 2014, models the red Mac Duggall gown she will be wearing for the talent portion of the Miss North Carolina pageant during a wardrobe showing held last weekend at the Wayne County Museum.

Beth Stovall, Miss

Were it not for an interruption in her education plan, Miss Goldsboro 2014, Emily Tucker might never have entered a pageant.

The 2009 graduate of Eastern Wayne High School was already familiar with the Miss American organization and its scholarship opportunities. She had just completed her degree in vocal performance in 2013 from East Carolina University.

"I had graduated college. I had acquired a vocal problem that forced me to take a year off from school," she said. "I saw that time as a newfound opportunity to step out of my comfort zone."

The detour turned into an affirmation to try new things, she said. Among them was competing for the local crown, which she won.

"I knew the moment I was crowned in November that I wanted to be Miss North Carolina," she said. "I believe that if you want that job, then you need to be living your life like the job."

In the months since, she has focused not only on preparing for the state contest but also becoming more involved in the community. Her platform, Operation: Outreach, designed to reignite patriotism within young people while enriching the relationship with the military and its surrounding community, has surpassed her expectations.

It has already been introduced in Wayne County Public Schools and she has partnered with several military organizations, with hopes of expanding it around the state.

The notion of patriotism is especially near and dear to her heart, growing up as the child of a military veteran. Her parents are John and Tawnya Tucker and her dad retired here from the Air Force when Emily was in middle school.

The 23-year-old also holds down a job, as a sales associate at Belk in Berkeley Mall. One of her co-workers is her younger sister, Olivia Tucker, a representative at the Clinique counter.

"She's become my make-up artist. She's really my sidekick. She's four years younger, so we have been partners in crime, the one constant" when moving around in a military family, Emily said.

The opportunity to vie for Miss North Carolina holds more than just a glamorous attraction, she said.

"I'm not here just because I want this crown," she said. "I'm here because I want this job.

"It's molded me into the best version of myself. My speaking skills have improved. I've thought deeply about things I may not have thought about before. It's prepared me to be a successful business woman and a successful woman in general."

It's also a role she feels equipped to handle.

"I'm going into this experience knowing that if I were granted the opportunity, I would be a wonderful Miss North Carolina," she said. "What I'm looking forward to the most is being able to be my very best self and do all that I can to convince the judges that I'm the right person for this job.

"I have a sense of peace. If they think you're right for the job, then it will happen."

Last weekend, she was featured in a wardrobe showing at Wayne County Museum, previewing some of the outfits she will be wearing during the upcoming pageant, including the evening gown, swimsuit and talent outfit.

The evening gown is a strapless Sherry Hill black velvet mermaid gown with emerald green crystals.

"I think I'll feel really elegant," she said of the choice.

Contestants this year were given the option of wearing a red, black or white swimsuit. Miss Tucker will wear a two-piece red suit by Jamye Shaw.

"I chose red because you could choose different shades of red," she said, adding, "Swimsuit can be nerve-racking but you just have to be confident in everything you do.

For her talent, singing a selection from a French opera, she will wear a red Mac Duggal gown.

"I tweaked it to make it all my own," she said. "It's one of my favorite outfits of my competition wardrobe.

"It's dramatic. It really exemplifies the song. Since my talent piece is so unique, I wanted a costume to show that."

She, along with 33 other contestants, moved into Peace University in Raleigh this weekend, where they will be housed throughout competition week. Preliminary events are held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, leading up to the actual pageant on Saturday night.

The local event may have been Miss Tucker's first foray into the pageant circuit, but she said that could still work to her advantage.

A Miss Goldsboro has not won the Miss North Carolina title since 1942, a streak she hopes to break.

"I feel like I'm bringing something new to the table," she said. "I'm here for a reason. I'm excited for the experience. I'm excited to represent Goldsboro.

"Win or lose, I have grown so much from this experience. It's going to help me with my future success regardless."

To follow her through social media, on Facebook it is Miss Goldsboro 2014 Emily Tucker and on Twitter, at Em_Tucker.

For those wanting to send regular mail or gifts, the address is: Miss North Carolina Pageant, Emily Tucker, Miss Goldsboro, William Peace University/Finley Dorm, 15 East Peace Street, Raleigh, NC 27604.