1. What is your best festival memory?
My best festival memory would have to be seeing the community come together and having a good time as they showed their love and support for the sweetest festival in the state. I had never attended the festival prior to last year, and I fell in love with this festival immediately as I attended each festivity throughout the week. Also, seeing our youth share in this love for the festival and being the princess, as they'd say, that they wanted to take a picture with was definitely the cherry on top for me.
2. What did you learn during your reign?
Getting sugarcane from farm to table is not as simple of a process as it seems. Being able to learn firsthand in the fields, refineries, mills and even on a combine what it really takes to harvest sugar and get it to the sweet treat we all know and love was eye-opening for me. It was also rewarding that I was given the opportunity to learn everything there is to know about sugar in order to promote this industry, which I hold near and dear to my heart.
3. How did you promote the sugar industry to stand apart from the competition?
I feel that I was able to stand out to promote the sugar industry by just being myself—genuine and kind—and by using all my knowledge of sugar to show the judges why I would make the best representative for this festival. I also was able to incorporate my nursing knowledge and teach the judges the health benefits of sugar, which I feel helped me to really stand out. This allowed me to show them my love and passion for two things that I really love: sugar and taking care of people.
4. What does the sugar industry mean to you personally?
For me, the sugar industry is not just a business, but a family business. It is a way of life for the farmers, truck drivers and employees of the mills and refineries as well as their families. Yes, this industry does have a huge economic impact on our state, but to me it is about everyone who works behind the scenes to ensure that sugar is on the table around the world. These sweet people were my focus and motivated me throughout my reign. This past year has not been about me, but about the people of New Iberia, the Louisiana Sugarcane Festival, our farmers and our sugar industry.
5. What is your favorite sweet treat?
That's a hard question considering I love sweets so much and wanted to be a pastry chef for the longest time. I'd have to say that a Berry Chantilly Lace Cake is my absolute favorite.
6. Why is this title more than just a crown and a banner?
It was never about the crown and banner for me. This title was what I considered my "out of reach" title. I had always dreamed of being Queen Sugar ever since I was little, but never thought in a million years that that dream would ever become a reality. Even as my reign is coming to an end, it still does not feel real that I am Louisiana Queen Sugar LXXVII. Being Queen Sugar, I knew that I had to be a representative for the festival and an advocate for our famers and the industry. I made it my goal to travel to as many fairs and festivals as possible to promote this industry and festival, as well as to talk about all things sugar.
7. What do you plan to do now that your reign is over? Do you have any future titles in mind?
Once my reign is over, I plan on focusing on finishing school and getting my BSN. With that in mind, I will need a break from school, so on the weekends I hope to travel some with Queen Sugar 78. Other than that, the only future title in mind would be Janet Nelson, R.N. My pageant career will be ending, and I could not think of a sweeter way to do so than as Queen Sugar 77.
8. What are you studying at Nicholls and what are your plans after graduation?
I am pursuing my degree in nursing and am currently in my second semester of clinicals, which I absolutely love. After graduation, I plan on passing the NCLEX to become a licensed R.N. and begin working in the field. I do know that I want to work either in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or Pediatrics. I enjoy taking care of people, but children definitely have my heart.
9. What does it mean to you to be a role model for other people your age?
I want to make a difference in people's lives and inspire others, whether as Queen Sugar or a nurse, because you never know who is watching you or how you have had an impact on someone's life. There were numerous times throughout my reign and even with my parish title when I had little girls, even some young ladies, come up to tell me “hi” and want to take a picture with me. With that said, I personally would not consider myself a role model as I was just being true to myself.
10. Do you have any tips for the next queen?
Gain as much knowledge as you can about sugar and the industry. It comes in handy when promoting the festival and industry because you will get many questions about who you are and what you represent. Also, make the most of your year. Travel as much as you can, make as many friends as possible, get to know King Sucrose (he is pretty awesome) and take lots of pictures. Yes, it does make your reign go by faster and it is not fun when your friends have to give up their titles and then it is your turn to do so, but you will have so many memories that you will cherish for a lifetime. I hope your reign is as sweet as mine was, and always remember to #staysweet!