Woman of the Month: Miss University of Alabama
Evy Gallagher | Managing Editor
On Nov. 5, 2022, Ibby Dickson was crowned as Miss University of Alabama (UA). Dickson is a senior studying news media and political science and has been competing in pageants since she was 13.
“I competed at my first local preliminary at 13 years old where I couldn’t even reach the podium during my interview with the judges,” Dickson says. “I held off on competing and began again at 15 years old, and I’ve been competing every year since.”
Dickson spoke about her history within the Miss America Organization. Alabama’s Outstanding Teen Competition is held in her hometown of Sylacauga, Alabama annually and Miss America was something she watched on television every year.
“I started in the Miss division at 18 years old and since then have held the titles of Miss Sylacauga, Miss Jefferson County and presently Miss University of Alabama,” Dickson says.
There are two pageant organizations in the United States: Miss America and Miss USA. The organization that Dickson competes is Miss America, a scholarship competition that consists of talent, evening wear, interview and physical fitness categories.
“Miss America’s prize package includes a $50,000 college scholarship, with an additional $303,000 in scholarship money for the runners-up, finalists, preliminary talent winners, swimsuit winners and Miss Congeniality,” according to al.com.
Miss USA, on the other hand, consists of a swimsuit, evening wear and interview categories. The winner of Miss USA receives a six-figure salary, a modeling contract and many other perks. The winner also goes on to compete in the Miss Universe contest.
Dickson says the Miss University of Alabama is a local preliminary to represent UA and the Tuscaloosa community at the Miss Alabama competition.
“However, there is so much tradition and an incredible legacy in the Miss University of Alabama competition,” Dickson says. “This is what encourages young women from across the nation to compete each year.”
As far as preparation for Miss UA, Dickson took it seriously. She knew that the other 18 candidates would be tough competition. Dickson prepped by keeping up with the news, practicing her vocal performance, working on her social impact initiative, Mentoring Matters and “practicing her red-carpet walk in her 6-inch heels down the halls of [her] sorority house.”
Dickson touched on the fact that pageants take a village and a lot of hard work to prepare for. “Anyone in the pageant world can tell you that we train and prepare for months and even years for the opportunity to serve our community or state.”
As Miss UA, Dickson connects with students, alumni and numerous organizations within the Tuscaloosa community. “Tuscaloosa has embraced me as one of their own,” Dickson says. “I get to travel to different areas across Tuscaloosa and am always welcomed – even if they have no idea why I’m wearing a shiny crown sometimes.”
When asked about misconceptions within the pageant world, Dickson says, “I think most people think we are just competing for a crown or a title, but the reality is that the title and legacy of the Miss America Organization allows me to not only further my education through scholarships, but it also allows me to serve communities and promote programs about mentoring. Being a titleholder in the Miss America Organization offers titleholders a solid foundation to stand on to promote the causes we care about. Pursuing my passion, serving my community, earning scholarship money, furthering my education and wearing some beautiful gowns at the same time sound great to me.”
Dickson will be competing in and representing The University of Alabama at the Miss Alabama competition at the end of June. It will be a four-night competition at Samford University Wright Center where Dickson will compete in a private interview, fitness, evening gown, talent and on-stage questions. The new Miss Alabama will be crowned on the final night of the competition and it very well may be our own Miss UA.
“It has been my dream to become Miss Alabama since I was a little girl, and it is surreal to have even made it this far,” Dickson says.
Alice wishes Dickson the best of luck in her upcoming endeavors and hopes to see her crowned as the next Miss Alabama this summer.
Evy Gallagher serves as our Managing Editor. Throughout her three years with Alice, she has written stories for digital and print channels. Originally from Manhattan Beach, California, she is a current senior studying news media with a minor in psychology. She has previously served as our Food & Health Editor.