April Reinle has wanted to compete in the Miss America pageant since she was a little girl. Now, the 18-year-old Springfield native might just be on her way.
Reinle was crowned Miss University of Louisville Wednesday, March 11, and with that honor comes a spot in the 2009 Miss Kentucky pageant, which sends its winner on to the Miss America pageant.
Reinle said she was surprised with the win, and when her number was called, she had to look at her own number to make sure it was her.
“The girl I picked to win it all was called as the first runner-up, so I was thinking, ‘Who’s going to win?’ Then they called number 7, and I had to look and make sure it was me,” Reinle said.
The win wasn’t the only surprise for Reinle, who was nominated and selected to enter and represent her sorority, Kappa Delta. The nomination also caught her off guard.
“Someone nominated me, and on the spur of the moment I said OK,” she said. “I was surprised, and from that moment on, I thought, ‘Well, I guess I’m really doing this!’”
She was indeed doing it, and she was the youngest girl in the contest. Most of the girls against whom she competed were seniors and even graduate students, while Reinle is just in her freshman year at U of L, where she is majoring in biology.
The pageant world is not a new one to Reinle, who was crowned Washington County’s 2008 Junior Miss. Still, this title left her and her family in a state of shock.
“I think we were all kind of beside ourselves, and we were even joking, myself included,” Reinle said of her family the night of the pageant. “It wasn’t that they didn’t think I could do it, but they were so surprised because all of the other girls had so much pageant experience and were older.”
April’s father, John Reinle, said he is proud of his daughter, and is happy to see her dream of succeeding in pageants coming true.
“She always talked about stuff like that, and I always took it as being regular girl talk,” John said. “Then when she started in Junior Miss and was fortunate enough to win, that spurred everything on. I’ve heard her mention it quite frequently since, and it’s a passion of hers. Everybody is pulling for her, and we’re all really proud of her.”
Along with her father, April’s mother, Mary-Anne Reinle, was also at the pageant, along with her Memaw Fanny Nally, Mary-Anne’s mother. Mary-Anne said she never pushed April toward the pageant world, but has always encouraged her.
“I never encouraged April to be in Junior Miss or Miss U of L. But it was always her dream to participate in these pageants,” Mary-Anne said. “Although I didn’t encourage her, I always supported her. I would always tell her to ‘smile’ and have fun. Don’t worry about winning just enjoy it. That’s exactly what she did! “
April’s Memaw, Fanny Nally, takes her shopping for her dresses for pageants.
“There were a lot of stairs to climb to get to the pageant, and she just had her 77th birthday. She told me I was the only person she’d walk all of those stairs for,” April said.
April’s brother, Jordon, who worked to help her with her talent portion of the pageant, was not able to attend, but he did respond to a text message from his father that said April had won. April did a clogging routine to the song, “Footloose.”
“Are you serious,” the message read, according to April.
Serious, indeed. In addition to the title of Miss U of L, Reinle also collected a $1,500 cash prize, as well as having her tuition paid for two half semesters, and other prizes including gym memberships and more.
The next step for Reinle will be to compete in the Miss Kentucky pageant July 16-18 at the Singletary Center for the Arts at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.