Sharing the crown

Miss NC promotes brains over beauty
By Shelby Harrell Staff Writer | Mar 02, 2014
Photo by: Shelby Harrell Johna Edmonds, Miss North Carolina 2013, takes a photo with Rylee Melton after getting her autograph. Edmonds made an appearance at Music Works! in Clyde to talk to dance students about pageants and performing.

The Music Works! Studio of Performing Arts and Meadowbrook Elementary School were filled with blushing cheeks and expressions of awe on Thursday when dozens of Haywood County children were able to meet Johna Edmonds, the reigning Miss North Carolina 2013.

The words “she’s so pretty,” and “she looks like a Cover girl,” could be heard Thursday afternoon at Music Works! when dozens of little girls waited in line to ask Edmonds for an autograph.

It seemed that most of the girls in the studio that day were thinking the same thing.

“She’s really, really pretty,” said a gushing Alex Traynham when asked what she thought after meeting Edmonds. “And she’s really nice — and pretty.”

Cameran Holgen agreed with Traynam, and added that she had asked Edmonds to sign her tap dance shoe bag.

After signing autographs and taking photos for an hour, Edmonds, talked to Music Works! students about herself and the pageant.

The main reasons she competes in pageants is for scholarship and philanthropy, Edmonds said. As the daughter of single mom, Edmonds knew she would have to earn a scholarship to attend college.

She also talked about her personal platform, Readers to Leaders: Promoting Literacy in America’s Youth. The platform emphasizes service projects that educate not only students, but also teachers and parents on the importance of literacy among our state and nation’s young people.

Edmonds recalls struggling with reading at a young age and said she now advocates for children’s literacy to help other young readers.

“My classmates picked on me and teased me and that took a toll on me,” Edmonds told the Music Works! classes. “I knew in order to fulfill any dream I had, I would have to learn how to read.”

Edmonds confessed that she loved to perform on stage, which was another reason she chose pageants. Singing in her church choir was only the beginning for her, as she would later go on to sing in the talent portions of many pageants — including in the Miss America Pageant she competed in last September.

When a student asked Edmonds who her role model was, it didn’t take her a second to answer with “my mom.” Edmonds added that her mom had always encouraged her to reach for the stars and lead an “extraordinary life.”

“So I want to courage you all to do the same,” Edmonds said. “Create an extraordinary life for yourself.”

Earlier that same day, Edmonds paid a visit to the kindergarten classes at Meadowbrook Elementary.

During her question and answer session time with the kindergartners, she revealed that her favorite food is pizza and that she mostly only drinks water and coffee. She also informed the children that the local MAO (Miss America Organization) and Miss Asheville/Blue Ridge Valley was perfect place to get started in pageantry.

Edmonds, originally from Raleigh, is a graduate of North Carolina State University, where she obtained a bachelor of science degree in accounting with a concentration in financial analysis and a minor in Spanish language and literatures.

Edmonds is a member of Alpha Kappa Psi, professional business fraternity and Beta Alpha Psi, accounting fraternity. She is an active board member of the Helps Education Fund, a nonprofit organization committed to supporting educators and improving learning outcomes for students.

She has taught English in the Dominican Republic on an alternative spring break trip with NC State’s Center for Student Leadership, Ethics and Public Service, and has also studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she was able to teach local youth and their parents on the English reading and writing fluency.

She recently worked as a Winter Tax Intern for KPMG Raleigh and was selected for the KPMG Global Internship program where she traveled to work in Paris, France during the spring 2012 semester with some of the firm’s largest and best-known clients.

Currently, Edmonds is obtaining a master’s degree in accounting from North Carolina State University. After becoming a certified public account, she will begin her career with one of the big four accounting firms, Ernst & Young LLP.

For more information about your local system, contact Jeff Jones or Jon Vance at