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Rachel Warren / Houma Courier Staff Writer

HOUMA, La. -- Next summer, Houma native Brittany Guidry will step into the national spotlight as she vies for the title of Miss USA.

The Vandebilt alumna was crowned Miss Louisiana USA 2014 in Lafayette over the weekend. She competed in the pageant as Miss Louisiana Florida Parishes.

Guidry moved to Lafayette to study public relations at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, though she took a break this semester to prepare for the pageant.

The 20-year-old said she'll take the upcoming semester off as well to gear up for Miss USA and focus more on her modeling career.

Getting ready for a pageant especially one as big as Miss USA takes work.

'A lot of people think it's just about working out and eating right because they always think about the swimsuit portion,' she said. 'But it's a lot of mental preparation too.'

The competition has three evenly weighted parts swimsuit, evening gown and interview. Contestants are expected to be well-spoken, poised and up to date on current events.

'There's a one-on-one personal interview with the judges during pageant weekend,' she said. 'I spend a lot of time practicing with my coach.'

Then there are the outfits. Contestants change clothes several times throughout the competition, so Guidry will have to find the perfect swimsuit and dresses to wow the judges.

Guidry wasn't always so interested in getting dolled up. Growing up in Houma, Guidry said she took full advantage of the area's outdoor sports and activities.

'I was the biggest tomboy,' she said. 'I always went hunting with my dad or fishing with my parents.'

When she watched her cousin, Michelle Berthelot, get crowned Miss Louisiana USA in 2008, the then-15-year-old made a life-changing decision.

'It sparked a little fire in me,' she said with a laugh.

Guidry competed in Miss Louisiana Teen USA and won the following year. She was the fourth runner-up in the Miss Teen USA pageant.

'It was so much fun,' she said. 'That's what made me want to keep doing this.'

Paula Miles, executive director of RPM Productions, which puts on the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants for Louisiana, Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina, said she's looking forward to working with Guidry again.

Guidry will make dozens of appearances as Miss Louisiana USA throughout the state over the next year, Miles said.

Miles said she has high expectations for Guidry in the future.

She'll compete for the title of Miss USA in the summer pageant.

'She did very well at Miss Teen USA,' Miles said. 'So I expect she'll do very well in this one.'

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