Catching Up With...Erika Powell
Touching base with Miss USA's South Carolina representative.
When we last talked with Erika Powell she was about to embark for a stint in Las Vegas, culminating in her representation of the Palmetto State at the Miss USA Pageant.
While the competition may have looked glamorous on television when it was broadcast live on June 3, Erika went through rigorous interview and training sessions—along with the 50 other contestants—to make sure it looked that way.
Erika’s performance in those sessions helped give her the confidence when the show went live, a confidence that was confirmed when her name was called among the Top 16 finishers.
“My philosophy is to prepare to win,” Erika said. “I knew I would be in the mix.”
Erika, who turned 27 just after the pageant, drew some of her confidence from the fact that she was no stranger to the big stage, which was a big advantage over her competitors. She appeared in the Miss America Pageant in 2005 and is the only woman from South Carolina to appear in both events.
Even with her experience, dealing with the moving lights and cameras on stage required an adjustment. “We rehearsed for three days on how to deal with the cameras,” Erika said. “It’s kind of like American Idol.”
Though she did not advance beyond the Top 16, Erika had nothing but praise for her the pageant (which as we now know cannot be said for every participant).
“I feel honored to have had the chance to take part,” she said. “It’s going to do nothing but open doors for me and my career.”
Those doors opened pretty quickly. Later this summer she’ll sing with the New York Philharmonic during its annual Mostly Mozart Festival.
Which should give her just enough time to unpack. Between what she brought out to Las Vegas and what she received from sponsors, Erika had seven suitcases worth of clothes. Fortunately, her family was along to help carry it all. “I went through more clothes while I was there than I did in the two years I lived in New York.”