Fashions; Miss NC take center stage

Published 9:40 am Tuesday, November 3, 2009

JACKSON — Women from all over Northampton County converged here to check out the latest fashions and meet Miss North Carolina 2009.

On Saturday, the Jackson Women’s Club held their Fall Fashion Show featuring items from The Quality Shop in Roanoke Rapids and make up by Cathy Akree, a Mary-Kay consultant.

A special guest was also on hand for the event, the current Miss North Carolina, Katherine Southard.

Southard spoke to the audience of approximately 120 women at the luncheon, focusing on her latest activities as Miss North Carolina, her rise to the title and also her platform scoliosis, an abnormality that leads to curvature of the spine, which she has lived with all her life.

Southard, a Matthews native and Elon College alumna, was just a child when she was diagnosis with scoliosis. An avid dancer, she didn’t let the pain and embarrassment that came with having the spinal abnormality get her down.

“I was taught you cannot quit anything,” she said.

Instead, she danced her way through grade school and into pageants, competing for Miss North Carolina in both 2005 and 2008.

Six months after competing in 2005, Southard underwent corrective surgery where a metal rod was fused along with her vertebra down her spine. With the surgery behind her, she had to relearn dancing and in 2008 competed in the Miss Mount Holly pageant. It’s the very path that led Southard to the eventual win in June.

Since being crowned, Southard has thrown herself into her Miss North Carolina duties. She recently visited Fort Bragg and Washington D.C. to lobby funding for scoliosis research.

With her platform being “Scoliosis: Ahead of the Curve,” Southard has started “The Angel Brigade,” which connects young women from each state whose lives have been effected by scoliosis.

Southard said those suffering from the spinal abnormality need that camaraderie and understanding.

“It was a thrill to have her there,” said Women’s Club President Ann Cox. “Things like that don’t happen around here. We were just excited and honored; most of us have not been close to or have met Miss North Carolina.”

Cox said the real thrill was seeing Southard interact with the 14 girls that attended the event.

“She just made us all feel really special and to watch them listen to her and just be in awe of her,” she said.

In all 12 models “strutted their stuff” at the annual Fall Fashion Show, wearing autumn fashions. Cox said the event is a fundraiser for local charities. Cox said one of the donations made will go toward Southard’s cause. The event also funds a scholarship the club awards each year to a student from the Jackson school district that has been accepted into a four year college.

The Jackson Women’s Club has 15 members and was formed in 1951.