We chatted by speaker, cell-to-cell, from her home at Manor Six Forks in Midtown.
Arlie Honeycutt, who in June was crowned Miss North Carolina 2012 – our 75th – needed to multi-task a bit. Of course, I didn’t mind.
Arlie, 20, was preparing for a 1 p.m. flight Wednesday to Las Vegas. She’s headed to the city that keeps its secrets to do just the opposite: On Thursday, she’ll introduce herself to the world in the 86th Miss America pageant – and, perhaps, bring everything that happens there back home.
Anybody who knows Arlie understands what the state pageant judges found out: She’s pretty and smart. She’s compassionate and extremely talented. She’s focused and funny. And she’s so down-home genuine, you’re forced to do a double-take.
Check out snippets of Facebook shout-outs found on Arlie’s page:
“The time has come! Who gets these opportunities??? Only those that really deserve it!”
“Enjoy yourself and most of all BE yourself because you are yourself the best!!!”
“You are a winner already!!! Remember that and the fact that you are dearly loved every moment while you represent the great Tar Heel state.”
That’s the Arlie who will stand before the Miss America judges.
“One of the best ways I could describe Arlie is perfectly poised,” said Beth Knox, executive director of the Miss North Carolina Scholarship Pageant. “No matter what situation she finds herself, she is able to communicate with the people who are there.”
We can show our support for Arlie – and help ensure she makes it into the Top 15 – by casting our votes in the People’s Choice at www.missamerica.org.
Arlie has relied on our support as she has traveled more than 18,000 miles statewide in a red Toyota Camry, a title perk.
“I have really enjoyed every minute of it,” she said. “It has just been absolutely amazing. I’ve been so excited to see so many different places I hadn’t seen, and there has not been an unfriendly face in any place I have been.
“I’m so grateful to the state of North Carolina for being so welcoming to me.”
She credits family, friends and community for keeping her simply Arlie: humble, gracious and genuine.
“I keep the people close who have been with me,” she said. “I stay close and remember to appreciate them. Even on the most stressful days, they are the people who care the most and that you can lean on the most.”
Arlie, a vocal performance major at East Carolina University, is a native of Garner and a graduate of Enloe High School. She competed in the Miss North Carolina pageant as Miss Lenior/Kinston, closer to ECU.
Wearing the 75th crown has given Arlie a chance to meet past title holders and be in on all of our learning about the Miss North Carolina program through an exhibit at the N.C. Museum of History.
“It has made it a neat experience,” she said. “It’s given everybody an opportunity to get to know a little bit more about our program, besides rhinestones and hairspray.”
Performing in her blood
Arlie is at home on stage. Her parents, Scott and Beth Honeycutt, are mainstays at the Garner Performing Arts Center, home of the Towne Players. Beth Honeycutt – who competed in the Miss North Carolina pageant 30 years to the day before Arlie was crowned – is the artistic director of the award-winning theater troupe.
But Arlie has found other stages, where she performs in song and theater, excels academically and promotes volunteerism through her pageant platform, The Domino Effect.
Arlie closed 2012 with a public showcase of “every piece of competition wear she will have in Las Vegas,” Knox said. That includes gowns, an interview awards-ceremony cocktail dress and her swimsuit. She also shared her talent, singing “Someone Like You” from the musical “Jekyll & Hyde.”
It’s all Arlie.
Even though she had a “prep team” to help make those decisions, Knox said, “They were her decisions. She listened to the advice of these very qualified individuals and decided for herself how she wants to present herself to the panel of judges.”
Arlie’s interview, evening gown and swimsuit competitions are all on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Knox said, she will compete in the talent portion.
She chose it that way, too. “Arlie is such a strong competitor, we were comfortable with the judges seeing her that consistently on Tuesday,” Knox said. “And she was very definitive as far as how she wanted to compete.”
Arlie has always been a Miss America fan. As a teenager, she decided, “if I work really hard, perhaps this can be me.”
“Even if I don’t walk away with the title, I have accomplished something important, and that’s the attitude I’m taking with me to Miss America.”