Camille Cathey’s photo was hanging in a Wynne hair salon when her hair stylist was approached by a Miss Arkansas Teen contestant. The contestant later got permission to ask Cathey’s mother if she would be interested in being part of the Diamond Mentorship Program. Cathey, who was 6 at the time, was convinced immediately and excited about the potential of getting to wear fancy dresses and learn from older girls. 

As Cathey grew, she continued to be mentored by Miss Arkansas Teen contestants, and the older she became, the more she felt empowered by the organization. This year, Cathey was crowned as Miss Arkansas 2024. 


“I was hooked as a little girl. I got to see all of these young women with dreams turn into women with visions, and I thought they were the most beautiful and intelligent, and I thought they were the coolest girls ever because they would get down on my level and talk to me like I was the most special girl in the room,” Cathey said. “For me, that was a wow moment. I realized you can be all the things you want. You can work really hard and be pretty, and you can be part of this.” 


From girlhood into her teen years, Cathey knew she wanted to compete as soon as possible, so she began competing for the title of Miss Arkansas Teen at age 13. When Cathey was entering her junior year of high school, she was crowned Miss Arkansas Teen. 


“It was such an awesome experience, and I was so excited,” Cathey said. “That was the best year ever, and because I was Miss Arkansas Teen, I got to see the behind-the-scenes. I was able to have this job, but I still had to go to school and do all of those things. I knew then that one day I was going to compete for Miss Arkansas, and that I was going to serve this state, and that it would be so much fun.” 


With a deep love for her hometown, Cathey said she owes a lot of who she is to the Miss America Organization and the Wynne community. 


“I’m excited to make a trip back to Wynne and just to get to see some of the people who have carried me along the way. I think what I love most of all about Wynne is how unified and giving my community is,” Cathey said. “I feel like half of the town was there on Saturday night, and that is such a testament to the type of community that I was raised in. Everyone knows everyone, and everyone loves everyone.” 


Cathey, who admires many parts of the Miss America Organization, said one of the most impactful parts of competing is winning scholarship money and being gifted the ability to continue education. 


“In 2018, along with winning Miss Arkansas Teen, my entire undergraduate degree was paid for. I remember realizing how big of a deal that was at the time, but it didn’t really set in until I received my student bill back from the University of Alabama every semester, and it would say balance $0,” Cathey said. “It was such a significant and jaw-dropping heaviness lifted off of me. It’s a feeling you don’t understand until you see it.” 



Photo Credit: Danny Barger Photography


According to Miss America’s Scholarship Foundation, The Miss America and Miss America’s Teen programs award thousands of dollars in scholarships to young women across America. This foundation provides the most scholarship funding for women in the United States. 


Cathey was admitted to the University of Arkansas School of Law this fall but deferred her admission until fall 2025. Similarly to her undergraduate experience, the organization and an academic scholarship will pay for the entire price of her legal degree. 


While Cathey temporarily relocated to Alabama for school, she knew she wanted to come back to compete for Miss Arkansas when she felt she could be the best Miss Arkansas she could possibly be. 


“You can start competing for Miss Arkansas when you’re 18, but I knew that I was probably not prepared enough to be the best Miss Arkansas at that age. So, I came back to compete at a time where I felt ready to be Miss Arkansas, and where I knew I could take on the responsibilities of the role,” Cathey said. 


Cathey returned to compete last year when she was 21 and was runner-up to Miss Arkansas 2023, Cori Keller. As Keller crowned her as Miss Arkansas 2024, she realized her dream of serving Arkansas in this capacity had finally come true. 


“I always knew I wanted to compete for Miss Arkansas, and not Miss Alabama, because Arkansas gave me the opportunity to even be at Alabama,” Cathey said. “I really feel like it was good for me to go outside of Arkansas, make new friends and plant new roots.” 


Cathey advocates heavily for the University of Alabama because of all they do for the Miss America Organization. Currently, the university gives all 50 state title holders at Miss America’s Teen a scholarship. 


This year, Cathey has big plans to crisscross the entire state and make her mark in a memorable way. 


“Most of all, my biggest goal is to leave a legacy of compassion wherever I go and to really be someone that people say, ‘You know, I couldn’t even tell she was Miss Arkansas; she made me feel like we were the only two people in the room,’” Cathey said. 


Cathey competed with her platform being Proudly Volunteer, which is a broad service initiative on purpose.


“There’s so much you can do with volunteering, and every Miss Arkansas contestant has a platform. This year, I hope to partner with the entire 2025 class of Miss Arkansas contestants to help shed light on their community service initiatives,” Cathey said. 

Photo Credit: Danny Barger Photography
READ ALSO: Wild West Murder Mystery at the Shepherd of the Hills Theater in Branson