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Powell travels to Montgomery for Junior Miss

Covington County Junior Miss Lauren Powell didn’t have to look far for guidance in preparing for Alabama Junior Miss events in Montgomery this coming week.

Help was as close as home.

Her mom, Cathy Powell, is a former Butler County Junior Miss and statewide first alternate, while her sister, Allyn Powell, competed at the state level as Covington County’s Junior Miss in 2008.

And there was lots to do before leaving for Montgomery yesterday, when she became an “adopted” child of Janice and Rob Seip for the next week.

“They were Allyn’s host family, so I already feel really comfortable about that,” she said. Her roommate will be Sara Lavander, the Pickens County Junior Miss, whom she met at orientation in early December.

The preparation began in July, when she was named CCJM.

“I’ve been looking for things to take with me since then,” she said.

But the preparation hasn’t been just about shopping

“The preparation has been stressful and we’ve been very rushed for time,” she said.

She is a member of the Andalusia Ballet and her talent presentation is a ballet en point to “Schorchio,” so she’s been spending late nights at the ballet studio working the dance.

Physical fitness is part of the competition, so she’s also been working out with local trainer Robert Johnson, where her sister was her workout partner. To prepare for the interview, she’s been keeping up with current events. And she’s been focusing on eating right, resting, and keeping her grades up.

And then there was the packing.

“I’ve got a whole suitcase of workout clothes, sweats and stuff,” she said. “I have one set for every day and extras in case something happens.”

The costume and other clothing she’ll wear onstage had to be packed separately and delivered to Frazier Memorial Methodist Church in Montgomery, where the Junior Miss program will be held, before her parents delivered her to the host family.

And then there were the clothes she needed for the publicity events she and other participants will attend this week.

At AJM orientation in December, she learned she would need to wear hot pink, black and white for the opening number and that the outfit should be “not too dressy and not too casual.” She’ll wear purple in the self expression, or poise, portion of the competition.

And just before leaving town, she stopped to see her chiropractor.

“I have had a back injury for a long time,” she said. “In compensating for that, I pulled some muscles, so we’re trying to be proactive and patch those up.”

With all of the help she’s found at home, she has pretty clear expectations for the coming week.

“I’m not going with the expectation that I will win,” she said. “My plan is to not get too worried or too stressed about it, to meet as many people as can, and have fun. If I win, that’ll just be icing on the cake.”

Preliminaries start Friday night, when the young ladies will perform in the talent competition. The physical fitness and self expression prelims are Saturday afternoon, and finals are Saturday night.

But the biggest challenge may be living without constant contact to the outside world for a whole week. No emails, no cell phone, no phone calls from the host family’s phone, no Facebook.

“I’ll just have to focus on staying in the Junior Miss world,” she said.

In addition to the help she’s gotten from her mom and sister, her dad, Roger Powell, has also been a great supporter, she said.

The Andalusia High School senior is a member of the National Honor Society, president of the Anchor Club and secretary of the senior class. She was a PowerSouth Youth Tour winner, and represents the City of Andalusia as an ambassador.