- Associated Press - Sunday, September 25, 2016

HARRISON, Ark. (AP) - Lauren Colclasure said she had a feeling about Miss Arkansas Savvy Shields a long time ago.

“Whatever the ‘it’ factor is to be Miss America, she has it,” Colclasure said of the new Miss America.

Colclasure, owner of Salon Ellen in Harrison, was with Shields as her hair stylist at the Miss America Pageant when she wowed judges to be crowned Miss America.

Colclasure knows a little bit about the big contest. She’s been going to the Miss America Pageant to do hair for Miss Arkansas and others since 2008. Her candidates have gone on to first and second runners up and she also worked on Miss New York when she won.

But there was just something about Shields. Colclasure said she knew from the moment Shields was crowned Miss Arkansas that the state had its best chance of bringing home to Miss America title.

“Savvy is a very contagious person,” Colclasure told the Harrison Daily Times (https://bit.ly/2d4PXtp).

Colclasure was born and raised in Harrison. She points out that she was born in 1982, the last year a Miss Arkansas got the national crown.

She and her mother opened Salon Ellen (the shop is named after her grandmother, Jo Ellen, and her own middle name is Ellen) 15 years ago.

Colclasure herself was a pageant contestant when she was younger. It was during that time she met Billy Hoyt of Morrilton, who was a hair stylist for the Miss Arkansas Pageant for more than 30 years.

It was then she came to a realization that she didn’t really want to be Miss Arkansas.

“I wanted to be Miss Arkansas’ stylist,” Colclasure said.

She studied with Hoyt for a couple of years and took over for him when he finally retired.

“The door opened at the right time,” she said.

In her time with the Miss America Pageant, Colclasure has worked with a lot of the same people. Stylists from Oklahoma and Hawaii are always nearby. As she puts it, “It’s almost like having another group of co-workers.”

At this year’s pageant, she sensed something special. She even called her husband that Sunday night and told him their 4-year-old daughter had to be allowed to stay up late, even on a school night, to witness the end.

It was going to be historic, she said, so she wasn’t all that surprised when Shields took the crown.

“We’ve waited for this moment and she’s the perfect girl,” Colclasure said.

Pageant officials told Colclasure they will fly her to Shields’ appearances whenever the Miss America requests. Shields will be a presenter at the CMA Awards in November.

Colclasure said some people might look down their noses at a beauty pageant winner, but the Miss America Pageant truly is a scholarship pageant. Shields has already earned $90,000 in scholarships and will make a six-figure salary for the year.

But with being in a different city every 48 hours, one thing’s certain.

“She will earn it,” Colclasure said.


Information from: Harrison Daily Times, https://www.harrisondaily.com

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