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25 January 2008

JSU student to Vie for Miss America

By Andy Johns
Star Staff Writer

Reprinted here in its entirety.

Miss America contestants like Wadley's own Jamie Langley have a full plate this week as they prepare for Saturday's finals.

There's evening wear, swimwear, charitable causes and a side of Rambo.

Langley, a senior at Jacksonville State University, is the reigning Miss Alabama and will represent the state in the Miss America Pageant this week. The finals will be televised live from Las Vegas on The Learning Channel (Anniston Cable Channel 34) at 7 p.m. Saturday.

"They keep us busy 24-7, it seems like," Langley said in a phone interview Thursday. "There's just something all the time."

Langley, 24, has competed in the preliminary interview, swimwear, evening wear and talent competitions already this week. The competitors have attended several events in Las Vegas, including the red-carpet world premiere of Rambo, which opens in theaters this weekend.

Saturday, the field of 52 contestants will be narrowed to 16. The 16 contestants will participate in the swimwear competition and then be cut to 10 before donning eveningwear. After that, the field will narrow to eight finalists, who will perform their talents.

Langley, a singer who has recorded a CD for charity, said she plans to sing "Listen" from the movie Dream Girls if she makes it to the finals. She said she would not find out until the rest of the country does if she is in the final 16.

Langley competed in her first pageant when she was 3 years old. She said she is not nervous, but excited.

"The only thing you can do is just be yourself," she said. "You never know what the judges are looking for."

Langley also participated in the Miss America Reality Check television show and bonded with many of the other contestants during the two weeks of filming in Los Angeles. She said she and her roommate, Miss Indiana Nicole Rash, have become friends and have talked about visiting each other's home town.

Langley's mother, Mailey, said about 40 or 50 friends and family members made the trip to Las Vegas from around Wadley. Though she and her husband, Jeff, had been to Las Vegas before, she said it was still an overwhelming scene.

"It's quite different from small town Alabama, I can tell you that," she said.

"It's quite different than large-town Alabama."

If Langley does make the cut to 16, her parents will be seated on-stage, along with parents of the other finalists.

Alabama has had four Miss Americas since the program began in 1921. Yolande Betbeze of Mobile won the competition in 1951, JSU student Heather Whitestone of Birmingham won in 1995 and Deidre Downs of Birmingham won in 2005.

Miss Alabama at a glance

Name: Jamie Langley

Age: 24

Hometown: Wadley

Talent: Singing

Education: Jacksonville State University senior; communication major with a minor in music

Platform: Cardiac Care: From the Heart

On TV: 7 p.m. on The Learning Channel

About Andy Johns

Andy Johns is the mobile reporter for The Star. He is a graduate of Berry College in Rome, Ga.

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