|P a g e a n t N e w s B u r e a u|
|PNB: About what subjects did you talk to the children?|
Smith: Drinking, drugs, and smoking, because I'd never done any of those three, ever. Never tried.
PNB: To what age range did you speak?
Smith: From kindergarten through seniors in high school, and some college kids.
PNB: What size audiences?
Smith: From five to 500. It varied. I also spoke in a lot of churches. If I could tell anything to a girl going into a pageant, you've got to get up and you've got to speak in front of people because that's going to make you comfortable up on stage.
PNB: In what charity events did you participate as Miss Alabama USA?
Smith: Talladega had a fund-raiser for the Alabama School for the Deaf and Blind. It was organized by race car drivers, so my dad and I loved it. I also attended the Festival of Trees for the Children's Hospital.
PNB: In your onstage interview at the Miss USA Pageant, you referred to your involvement in your dad's construction business, and your video showed you driving a Bobcat. Tell us about your work in construction.
Smith: My dad never went to college. He was just really ambitious and started installing drywall when he was 16 years old. From there, he taught himself how to read blueprints and then started a company as a drywall contractor. He had about four or five jobs going at a time. He installed drywall in apartment buildings, especially in Atlanta. My dad was doing that just to make enough money so he could sink a lot of it into racing, [and we could still] have what we wanted. We were OK financially. We had the cars and the house paid for. Then, once he got injured, he decided to concentrate on his business, even though he was at the point where he was ready to sell the business and race for a living. But the wreck changed that. Now, he's had up to 28 to 30 jobs all over the Southeast and some in the West. I help him estimate the drywall. When we get the blueprints in, I read them and figure out how much it is going to cost to do the job.
PNB: Do you really use a Bobcat at work, or were you driving the Bobcat for the sake of an interesting video?
Smith: We've got a Bobcat, a backhoe, a front-end loader and a tractor. Those are some of my dad's toys. We don't use them on the job sites except to lift the drywall up to some of the units. The video shows me digging the dirt and getting the land ready for Dad's new office building.
PNB: With which contestants did you spend the most time at the Miss USA Pageant and what qualities did you like about each of those girls?
Smith: It would have to be Miss New Mexico USA, Taunya Harris. She is a schoolteacher who is just as sweet as she could be. Taunya was really down-to-earth. We prayed together before we went onstage. We said if it's meant for us to win, we'll win. It didn't matter to us if she got in the Top 10 or if I got in the Top 10. I also really liked my roommate, Jennifer Reed, Miss Michigan USA, because she was so organized, like I was.
PNB: As your parents' only daughter, you are very close to your mom and dad. Tell us more about your dad's involvement in car racing and how you grew to love racing.
Smith: Dad started racing as a hobby. He built his first race car in 1976. Mom was a homemaker. Since she didn't work, when I'd come home from school, she'd help me with my homework. I was a brat growing up. We'd fight over whether I had done my homework because I had a really hard time in school. From there, my mom got my two brothers and me involved in sports. I played softball, volleyball, and basketball. I would practice from August through May. In August, we'd start volleyball. As soon as volleyball ended, we started basketball practice. As soon as basketball was over, we started softball. Half the time I would leave one and go to a second practice in a different sport. I think that's why I turned out to be such a good kid. Mom kept me so involved in sports that I didn't have time to get into trouble. Monday through Friday I was at practice, and then, Friday afternoon, we'd go out of town to watch Dad race short track. We'd be at the races through Sunday, and I'd come home and find out that everyone else had gone out drinking or partying. I remember one weekend when Dad won a race in Myrtle Beach, and my friend and I scored the race cars. We made $60, which was big money back when I was 12 or 13. We also liked some of the boys at the races. We enjoyed the weekends at the short tracks. I think that developed the closeness in our family. We're all so close because we did everything together. We traveled every weekend together. But we can fight, too, because we are so close. I think that's the bond we have . . .
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