Beth Stoval is still reeling from the thrill of being crowned Miss North Carolina Saturday night, and while the shock is now beginning to wear off, the excitement is only building.
Stoval, Miss Greater Sampson County, said in an interview Monday that she is thrilled with her new title and the opportunity she now has to share her platform across the state and nation over the next year.
“This is a wonderful opportunity, and I’m so excited, so humbled,” she said.
Stoval’s road to Miss North Carolina began when she was Miss Goldsboro, a title she relinquished only to receive the Miss Greater Sampson County just a few short days later.
“I was Miss Goldsboro last year and I gave up that title on Nov. 9,” explained Stoval in a telephone interview. “You can only be a local representative for one year, and I had to acquire a new title to compete again.” Stoval competed in Miss Greater Sampson County just one week after relinquishing the Miss Goldsboro title, and won.
“I knew I wanted to go back to Miss North Carolina,” Stoval explained, noting her reason for entering the Miss Greater Sampson County pageant.
After securing her crown as Sampson’s representative, the next goal was preparing for Miss N.C.
That preparation, and no small amount of talent, paid off Saturday night.
Although she won preliminary contests in swimsuit and talent earlier in the week, when her name was called Saturday night, she was still taken completely off guard.
“I was in complete and utter shock,” she said about winning. “My main goal was to do better than last year.” She wanted to win the talent competition, and perform her talent on TV, she said.
“After being that close I realized I was in love,” she divulged, detailing how she realized that she had the tools and the motivation to work harder towards her goal.
“I know that Johna Edmonds (Miss NC 2013) competed three times,” Stoval explained. “I knew I could do better than last year.”
Standing on the Memorial Auditorium stage waiting to hear the winner’s name called, Stoval said was a surreal moment and one she’ll never forget.
“I am completely shocked and almost in disbelief,” she said. “I am extremely humbled and honored. I am humbled that they thought I was the best for the job.” Her perseverance, hard work, determination, and focus paid off with the 2014 Miss NC crown.
That crown is going to enable Stoval to share her platform, “Inspiration Art,” with people across the state and even, she hopes, the nation, something she is looking forward to doing.. She developed her own platform, and she wants to continue using it to “inspire students everywhere,” she said.
“I want students interested, active and involved in the arts and to discover their creative talents,” Stoval detailed. Stoval’s creative talent is vocal performance, which she demonstrated in her performance of “Je veux vivre” a piece from a French opera, at Saturday’s pageant.
It won rave reviews and helped her capture the Miss NC crown.
Her next step, she said, was Miss America, a lofty goal, but one she is determined to give her best toward.
“My next goal is the Miss America crown,” asserted Stoval. “You only get to be Miss NC for one year, and you only get one shot (at Miss America).”
So, along with promoting her platform, the next few weeks and months will be about preparation for the national title.
“I am energized to be Miss NC and I want to maintain the excitement and eagerness to be competitive,” explained Stoval. “I want to really shine. I want the judges to see I am ready to be Miss America.
“I am launching full throttle into my preparations, staying focused on fitness and a healthy lifestyle,” said Stoval. “It’s about training and healthy eating.”
“I will also be perfecting my performance, and maintaining my vocal lessons,” she said. Stoval will have to take year off from studies at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington so she can focus on her duties as Miss NC.
“I need to be pitch perfect,” Stoval said, explaining that it was important to her to work on her brand as Miss NC and really stand out to the Miss America judges.
“As Miss NC I am representative of the state,” she said, adding that she is excited about the new title and spreading the arts in NC.
“I am so excited to implement it on the state level,” Stoval added. The self described fun and quirky girl said that it’s about keeping the arts alive.
Stoval will spend the next year as a spokeswoman for the pageant while continuing to hone her competitive skills for the Miss American pageant later this year.
Though determined to give both her new title and the upcoming pageant her all, Stoval is quick to point out that she was not a girl who had always been on the pageant circuit.
“I started pageants at 16; I didn’t grow up doing pageants,” the 20-year-old disclosed. She said that her friends at school say that she is almost like two different people, and that she is fully dedicated to her academics. Stoval explained that she will often just throw her hair up in a bun and do the basics and get to class. Her major is music in vocal performance.
While she didn’t start competing at an early age, Stoval has the competitive bug now.
“I want the Miss America crown,” Stoval asserted. “NC has only had one win for Miss America. We are due, and I really believe we can do it. And I feel the committee is ready to help me do that.”
Stoval’s parents live in Goldsboro. she has one younger brother, Ben, who is 12.
“They are just so thrilled,” expressed Stoval of her family’s reaction to her newly claimed title. “They are the best support I could ever ask for. And it’s just so humbling that someone else saw I was ready for the crown.”
She’s also appreciative to the folks of Sampson County who welcomed her as their new queen.
“I am so thankful for the Miss Greater Sampson County committee,” she said. “For everything they did to help me to get ready and all the love that they have shown me. They have been fully dedicated to help.
“I love them so much; they are a fabulous, fabulous committee,” Stoval said. “I am excited to start traveling and I want to be an amazing representative in Miss America.”
“I’ll never forget my roots,” Stoval added. “The most important thing is the people that help you get where you are.”
One of those people that helped her win Miss NC is Angela Martin, who is the executive director of Miss Greater Sampson County.
“I’ve very excited,” said Martin in telephone interview Monday. “She has been an absolute joy. She is the most sincere, genuine and humble person.”
“She will be a fantastic representative for North Carolina,” added Martin. “I cannot say enough wonderful things about her. She is a wonderful young lady.”
Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122. Follow us on Twitter: @SampsonInd