Year in review: Miss University of Alabama 2019


CW / Joe Will Field

Kinsley Centers, Staff Reporter

Upon crowning her successor, Tiara Pennington, Miss Alabama, reflects on her reign as Miss University of Alabama 2019. She has hopes that what she has learned and accomplished during her reign will stay with her throughout her time as Miss Alabama and will carry it to the Miss America competition.

Tiara Pennington not only made history when she was crowned the first African American as Miss University of Alabama, she went one step further by becoming the first Miss University of Alabama to be crowned Miss Alabama in the 45-year history of the organization.  Pennington said she believes she has opened doors for minorities and women everywhere.

“The world is changing around us and that’s a wonderful thing that we see more minorities and more women of color and just more women in general feeling that they have the ability to voice their opinions more strongly now than ever,” Pennington said.

Pennington hopes that by making history she has paved the way for minorities and young women to gain confidence in knowing that they can do anything that they put their minds to.

“I hope my legacy is that although I’m the first African American to win Miss University of Alabama or the first woman to win the title of Miss Alabama as Miss University of Alabama that people know that I’ve opened doors for those other individuals and I’m hoping and I know that in the future we’ll see many more young women walk through the doors that I’ve walked through.”

During Pennington’s reign as Miss University of Alabama she made multiple appearances. Some of those included participating in the Huntsville Christmas parade, being a featured soloist in the Christmas show “A Not so Silent Night” and singing the national anthem at the Alabama power leadership conference, emceeing the Capstone Hotel Bridal Show and Classy Threads prom fashion show and visiting the Tuscaloosa VA hospitals.

“It really was so bittersweet and special for me to win Miss Alabama and it has been a whirlwind since then,” Pennington said.

Beyond these appearances, Pennington had dedicated her time to her social impact initiative. She hosted a “So Fun school tour” where she spread awareness about psoriasis.  The tour also turned into an anti-bullying campaign as she was able to speak to children about her social impact initiative, National Psoriasis Foundation and Psoriasis Take Action.

Pennington said her biggest accomplishment as Miss University of Alabama was being one of the advocates at Capitol Hill day with the National Psoriasis Foundation in Washington D.C. Pennington said it was so surreal having the opportunity to speak with those who pass legislation and our representatives and senators about the psoriasis and those suffering from the disease. 

The legacy Pennington has left as Miss University of Alabama 2019 is to be remembered as an advocate for the National Psoriasis Foundation and Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.  Pennington’s supporters are looking forward to what she could accomplish at the Miss America competition.

Denita Daniels, the owner of Classy Threads dress shop, was a sponsor of Pennington during her reign as Miss University of Alabama 2019 and said she is looking forward to cheering for Pennington at the Miss America competition.

 “I can’t think of anybody else that would be more deserving to hold the title of Miss America. She has been an incredible representative for Miss Alabama for us and for Miss University of Alabama,” Daniels said. “So, I’m just excited to see she is walking into the next step.”

Carolyn Eastland, Pennington’s grandmother, said Pennington’s family has always been a big factor of support in everything Pennington has done. Eastland said for Pennington to become Miss University of Alabama and then becoming Miss Alabama was more than they could have ever dreamed of.

“The University of Alabama of course they were just absolutely wonderful. It was just a wonderful experience for her, and we could not have asked for anything better,” Eastland said. “They gave her all the support and all the attention and all the love that anyone could have given a contestant and she just enjoyed it.”

The support Pennington received aided her in her journey through the year as Miss University of Alabama.

“It’s just important to be who you are and to represent those that you know that you represent and who really look up to you and the university did a wonderful job of supporting me as Miss University of Alabama,” Pennington said.