Huntersville native named Miss Mecklenburg County
by Staff Writer
HUNTERSVILLE – Rachel Gebelein was known as “the softball girl” when she was a student at Lake Norman Charter.
She’s got a new moniker now: beauty pageant winner.
Gebelein, a 19-year-old student at Appalachian State University, won the Jan. 5 Miss Mecklenburg County pageant. The 2012 Lake Norman Charter graduate won “Miss LNC” when she was a senior and finished as the first runner-up in the 2012 “Miss Cabarrus County” pageant.
Nothing, however, compared to the feeling of winning a major pageant just one year after making her pageant
“After I came so close to getting a crown in the Cabarrus County one, I knew I was going to win the next one,” Gebelein said. “I was so excited when they announced my name, that my face just dropped. I couldn’t believe it. I was about to cry.”
Gebelein batted .300 for the Knights’ softball team as a senior, but traded her jersey and cleats for a dress and high heels soon after, just to “see how it went,” she said.
In the pageant, Gebelein sang a French aria from “Romeo and Juliet.” Her on-stage questions related to her ability to throw a fastball 60 miles per hour and her passion for working with Hinds Feet Farm, a Huntersville center for people living with traumatic brain injuries. Gebelein taught music classes at Hinds Feet Farm. She’s got a major passion for music, but she’s majoring in psychology at Appalachian State.
“Answering those questions calmed me down,” Gebelein said. “Anytime I get to talk about softball is fun, and working with Hinds Feet Farm means a lot to me because I love helping people. I was relaxed the rest of the pageant.”
The on-stage questioning accounted for only 5 percent of the total score, however. A 10-minute interview with judges was 35 percent, talent display was 25 percent, swimsuit was 15 percent and eveningwear, 20 percent.
Gebelein graduates from Appalachian State in 2016. Scholarship money became a primary reason for continuing the pageant tour. Gebelein has earned $3,000 in scholarships by participating in pageants.
“I tell girls who ask me, ‘College is expensive and you need it to be successful, so if you can find scholarships, go after them.’’’
She’s the daughter of Linda and Wayne Gebelein, of Huntersville.
Linda Gebelein said her daughter drew questions from regular pageant attendees from the moment she first arrived at a pageant.
“People asked, ‘Who is she? Where’d she come from?’ when we were there,” Linda Gebelein said. “She was not a pageant child. (Her win) represented a lot of dedication and hard work. One of the best parts of being a parent is seeing your child’s dream come true.”
Rachel Gebelein said she’s not finished with pageants now that she has a crown. Her next step is to attempt to win Miss North Carolina and then Miss America.
“Miss America would be amazing,” Gebelein said. “Right now that’s my dream. I’m hoping to make it a reality.”