Lafayette will be well represented in the upcoming Miss Teen USA pageant this summer.
16-year-old Lindsey Conque of Lafayette secured the title of Miss Teen Louisiana USA at the pageant in Metairie on Oct. 21. She now goes on to the next level, which means the national stage at the Miss Teen USA pageant in Las Vegas.
"I didn't think I'd win," Conque said. "When they said my name, I didn't know what to do. But it's a big opportunity and an accomplishment to represent Louisiana."
Conque is a junior at Comeaux High School with a 3.9 grade point average. She is also a cheerleader and a member of the student council. She plans to attend college and wants to one day be either a medical illustrator or and entertainment reporter.
You may not have heard of medical illustrating, but it is an area where Conque feels she can combine her talents and her love of art.
"You know the diagrams you see in a doctor's office? That's what I want to do," Conque explained. "I've always been interested in the medical field, specifically in biology and in the arts. This is something where I can do both."
The Lafayette teen is a newcomer to the pageant world and only entered her first one last year. Former Miss Louisiana USA Erin Edmiston and business partner Ross Walters are her coaches.
Edmiston said Walters first noticed Conque during a cheerleading clinic and thought she had potential. Together, Walters and Edmiston worked with Conque to help to bring out her best for the judges.
"Her natural beauty just portrays that perfect teen image that the judges are looking for," Edmiston said. "They are looking for someone who is beautiful, fit and confident and intelligent. And Lindsey fits all four of those categories.
"You never know who is going to win. One judge could have this idea of beauty, while one judge could have something different. But we knew that Lindsey, overall, has the full package."
Edmiston said coaching Lindsey was like a breath of fresh air. She said the young teen was open to all suggestions and committed to competing — something that is vital in the pageant world.
She is competitive," Edmiston said. "She had that edge about her. She knew she wanted to win and she was going there to win. I think she has an outstanding chance to win (in Vegas). I think she is going to do really well."
Conque is now focusing on the upcoming Miss Teen USA pageant, which will take place over the summer in Las Vegas. Dates and exact location for the competition have not yet been announced.
To get herself ready, Conque follows this checklist of things she works on with her coaches.
1. A personal trainer and a workout routine.
2. Stage presentation and walking across the stage.
3. Interview questions and keeping up with current events including social media trends, news stories, etc.
4. Being herself and looking for the things that set her apart from the other contestants.
5. Keeping a positive attitude and staying focused on school, cheer leading and other extracurricular activities.
Conque describes herself a someone who is not a pageant girl and grew up a tomboy. She said the No. 1 bit of advice she plans to follow is this: "I expect to have fun and just enjoy the whole experience."