The National Watermelon Association’s annual conference was held in New Orleans earlier this year. I didn’t go (maybe next year!), but from what I’ve heard, it was a fun time for everyone.
One of the items on the three-day conference agenda is the crowning of the annual national watermelon queen. Eight regional watermelon queens faced off for the title, and the national title was awarded to Carla Penney of Vienna, Georgia.
I recently sat down with Carla Penney to chat about what life is like as watermelon royalty.
THANKS FOR TAKING SOME TIME OUT OF YOUR BUSY SCHEDULE TO CHAT WITH US! HOW HAS YOUR LIFE CHANGED NOW THAT YOU’RE THE NATIONAL WATERMELON QUEEN?
My life has been changed in so many good ways since I was crowned! Not only have I had a jam-packed schedule with travels beginning less than a week after I was named the 2016 National Watermelon Queen, but I have also met so many new people that I call friends! My year as being the Georgia Watermelon Queen in 2015 really helped prepare me for the national position in teaching me how to manage my time, school and personal relationships to fit into this busy schedule! My quality of my life has truly been enhanced since I was named the National Watermelon Queen.
DO YOU HAVE TO WEAR THE SASH AND TIARA EVERY TIME YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE, OR JUST FOR SPECIAL WATERMELON EVENTS?
I wear the actual, tangible crown and banner only on sponsored promotions, but I am always wearing the crown and sash in my heart and mind. As the national titleholder, I do realize that I can make an impression any time, in any place, and I always want to make a good one!
EVERY WATERMELON QUEEN HAS SOME SORT OF BACKGROUND TIE TO WATERMELON. WHAT’S YOURS?
While neither my parents nor my grandparents were in the agriculture industry, I did grow in up an Ag-centered, very rural town. Watermelons, along with peanuts, cotton and pecans are some of the main crops grown in the Vienna, GA, area. I have many memories that do involve seeing watermelons being harvested and even visiting the farmer's market to purchase one!
YOU’RE GOING TO BE TRAVELLING A LOT OVER THE NEXT YEAR. WHAT PART OF BEING WATERMELON QUEEN ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO?
I am most looking forward to helping people make positive memories that include watermelon, our association and our queen program! A very important part of my job is to make an impact on the lives of consumers, and I most look forward to the opportunities that I will have to work one-on-one with the consumers, helping them create lasting memories that will forever remind them of their love for watermelon!
HAS ANYONE EVER ASKED YOU TO AUTOGRAPH A WATERMELON?
Surprisingly, no, but that sounds like a fun idea!
NOW THAT YOU’RE QUEEN, WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHANGE YOU’D LIKE TO MAKE DURING YOUR REIGN?
I want to continue making a positive impact in the lives of consumers through this wonderful queen program. In today's culture and society, sometimes pageant queens are not looked upon in a positive light. I would like to help change that stereotype, especially when thinking of a state or national watermelon queen. Our queen program is about SO much more than beauty, with communication skills racking up 70% of the total score for the queen contest! People should know just how wonderful this job of National Watermelon Queen is, and I hope to be the person who gets to spread the word of our program and our product!
IS THERE A LOT OF COMPETITION IN THE WORLD OF NATIONAL QUEENS? LIKE, IF YOU RAN INTO THE NATIONAL CANTALOUPE QUEEN BACKSTAGE AT A STATE FAIR, WOULD THERE BE SOME DRAMA AND TENSION?
Absolutely not! I think it is very important to be supportive of other people, and I would be honored to meet another national titleholder!
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR THE GIRLS OUT THERE WHO WOULD LIKE TO BE A WATERMELON QUEEN SOMEDAY?
I would say to keep working toward your goals and never give up. I competed for the Georgia Watermelon Queen title three times before I took home the title, and now I can humbly say that I am the national queen! Perseverance is key! Also, as a side note, invest in a good pair of heels and long-lasting lipstick! :)
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