Allyson Whitt


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College Heights Herald article about Miss Kentucky Nancy Bradley.

Franklin senior Nancy Lee Bradley walks around in high heels and a swim suit in front of millions of people. She shops for clothing like most people shop for groceries. When she walks into a room, people notice her and ask her for her autograph.

Nancy Lee Bradley is Miss Kentucky, and she is in Shreveport, La. preparing for the Miss USA pageant that will be telecast live on CBS tonight.

Nancy has competed in pageants off and on since she was 10, but quit competing her sophomore year at Western.

"My modeling career picked up, and pageants had gotten boring," she said.

She wasn't planning to compete in the Miss Kentucky pageant in 1996, but with some encouragement, she finally did.

"My mom talked me into it," Nancy said. "When I won first runner-up (in 1996), it got it back in my blood."

She ran again in 1997 and shocked judges by winning. It was the first time a runner up had gone back and won the title.

"They didn't expect for me to go all out," Nancy said.

She and her mother said they think Nancy's attitude has helped the beauty queen achieve success.

"I wasn't out for blood," Nancy said. "I was just there to have a good time."

Her mother echoed those sentiments.

"She's really enjoyed it," Ann Bradley said. "It was something she wanted to do, she went for it, and she got it."

After Nancy was crowned in July, a colleague in the pageant circuit cautioned her to be prepared for Miss USA.

Keeping that advice in mind, mother and daughter vowed to do something every day to help them prepare for the competition. That included hiring a personal trainer and spending endless hours shopping for clothes.

"When I won, I was told I'd need 50 outfits," Nancy said.

Her hotel room in Shreveport, La. reflects all the shopping she's done. She has six trunks, three luggage bags and a hang-up rack full of clothing.

While the contestant has had fun, she said she is ready to relax. She's been too busy to even get nervous.

"I'm so worn out my nerves are numb," she said.

The schedule that keeps her and other state titleholders so busy includes 10 hours of rehearsing a day. They are then whisked from one appearance to another at night.

A hectic schedule, though, is a recurring them in Nancy's life. While remaining a full-time student, she has nurtured a modeling career, held a part-time job and still has time to spend with her boyfriend. The only way she has been able to juggle everything is to remain organized.

"Having a high school teacher as a mother has taught be to be organized," Nancy said.

Her organization skills have been crucial in helping her plan for the Miss USA pageant. She cautions people not to write the pageant off as being as glamorous as it appears to be. She said it's like having a full-time job.

Competing is also a lot like college, Nancy said. There is an interview segment where the judges can ask anything and she said it's important to study for the questions in order to have an answer ready.

"One judge asked me if I could be anything today, what would it be," she said. "I said awake."

After all this planning and preparation, Nancy said she will be glad when the competition is over.

"I'll feel like I can breathe again for a little bit," she said.

She says that being Miss Kentucky has been a positive experience, and she is not worried about getting the title of Miss USA.

Her mother said she feels the same way.

"We're excited and we look forward to it," Ann Bradley said. "Her goal at Miss USA is to represent Kentucky well. If she wins, she wins. The cake was Miss Kentucky."

Nancy said she has gained a lot of experience, met a lot of people and achieved a goal she had set for herself.

"It's something I'll never ever forget," she said. "This is something no one can ever take away from me. I am Miss Kentucky 1998."


Western Kentucky University, Beauty Contests, Beauty Queens


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