When Victoria Huggins heard her named called Saturday night, a lifelong dream came true as she was crowned Miss North Carolina 2017.
Huggins, who was competing against 43 other contestants as Miss Greater Sampson County, will now be spending her days preparing for the Miss America pageant in September and traveling across the state serving as an advocate for the state.
“It has been a whirlwind since the crown was placed on my head,” Huggins said during a telephone interview Monday morning as she was working to move her belongings from her home in Wilmington to the Miss North Carolina apartment in Raleigh.
Immediately following her win Saturday night, Huggins hit the ground running, traveling across the state, while preparing for her entry in the Miss America pageant. Sunday was full on television interviews, with Huggins noting she had only had a few hours of sleep since the pageant.
Wednesday morning, Huggins, along with her prep team, hopped on a plane to Florida to begin the process of selecting wardrobe for September’s Miss America pageant in Atlantic City.
“I have already started my quest preparing for Miss America,” Huggins said. “I am excited to be able to juggle both titles and represent North Carolina in September. While I will be busy preparing for Miss America, my job as Miss North Carolina just started.”
Huggins won the Dana Reason Quality of Life Service Award Saturday night for her work with Alzheimer’s. This is the second time she has won this honor. Additionally she has won the Miracle Maker Award four times in previous competition. This is the contestant who raises the most money for the Children’s Miracle Network, Miss America’s primary service organization.
Saturday night was Huggins fifth attempt at the title, but the newly crowned queen admits it was different this time.
“This time was a completely different experience,” Huggins noted. “I decided to enjoy every moment and not look at this as being my last chance to compete. I wanted to show the judges how I have persevered and pushed along.”
A native of St. Pauls, Huggins was currently residing in Wilmington, working as the TV morning show producer and reporter for WECT in Wilmington. She earned her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and mass communications from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, graduating cum laude and a member of the chancellor and dean’s lists.
At graduation, Huggins said she was debt free, having earned enough scholarships through pageants to pay for her college tuition. Now working towards obtaining her master’s degree from John Hopkins University, she has $56,000 in scholarships to help work towards this goal.
Huggins has competed for the title of Miss North Carolina the last four years, competing as Miss Fayetteville, Miss Central Carolina, Miss Great Southeastern, Miss Wilmington and Miss Greater Sampson County.
According to Angela Martin, executive director for Miss Greater Sampson County, Huggins won a Kraft Macaroni and Cheese contest at eight years old and earned a $10,000 scholarship and her face on one million boxes of macaroni and cheese.
Her vocal talents allowed her to be a featured vocalist at the Alabama Theater in Myrtle Beach and she placed in the top 100 on American Idle as a teenager. Her talent in this year’s pageant awarded her with the Talent Preliminary award, for the fourth time.
“I am so proud of Victoria,” Martin said. “She is a hard working young lady who is kind, genuine, humble and a joy to work with. Victoria is truly a young lady that exemplifies the four points of the Miss America organization — scholarship, style, service and success. I am beyond proud to know that I was able to have her as my representative at the Miss North Carolina pageant and that she represented the people of Sampson County with grace, style and elegance.”
Thankful for all the support she has received over the last five years, Huggins said having the people of Sampson County, and now the entire state of North Carolina, behind her is a true blessing.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.