Photo: Donald Kravitz / Stringer / Getty Images

Molly Matney’s crowning glory so far was being named Miss Kentucky. But her journey doesn’t end there. She’s competing for the biggest crown of the nation at the 97th Miss America 2018 live from Atlantic City, New Jersey. She’s bringing her beauty, talent, and cause to the Miss America platform. Curious to know about the Miss America 2018 contestant? We’ve got everything on the potential winner in Molly Matney’s wiki right here.

#1. She Grew up on a Farm

The daughter of Rhonda and Avery Matney grew up on a beef cattle farm in Center, a rural town in Metcalfe County, Kentucky. She was passionate about agriculture from a young age and is even pursuing a degree in it at Western Kentucky University. Her immediate goal is to graduate with a Bachelors degree in agriculture, but she one day hopes to work as an agricultural lending executive.

An active farm life is the secret to Matney’s super-fit and gorgeous body. As she says in her Miss America bio, her motivation comes from her dad’s diligence when it comes to physical activity. “Rarely does a day go by that he doesn’t run for miles and miles at a time!” she gushed.

#2. Pageants Weren’t Her First Calling

The 20-year-old wasn’t always into pageants. She tried out for a local contest called Little Miss Dream Girl when she was 11. But she had very little understanding of what a pageant was. “I remember putting on layer after layer of this hot pink lipstick because I thought makeup had to be applied at least five times before people would know you had any on. I think I even sprayed glitter in my hair. I am blessed my hair and makeup knowledge have evolved!” she said.

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Matney is, in fact, fairly new to the pageant circuit compared to most of the Miss America contestants. It was only when her agriculture professor, David Coffey encouraged her to try out in pageants, that she signed up for Miss Metcalfe County in 2015 and won. From then on, there was no stopping her.

#3. She Advocates Farm Fit

Matney’s issue during her reign as Miss Kentucky will be Farm Fit. While representing Kentucky at the Miss America 2018 pageant, she will be advocating the importance of a healthy lifestyle by consuming produce from local farmers markets in her state.

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She is already working towards her healthy and active cause as a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Kentucky Proud program that promotes food grown on state farms. Speaking to kids about where their food comes from is her passion. “This is my dream job. I can’t even explain how it feels. I’ll get to speak to so many kids, so it’s amazing and I feel so blessed.”

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#4. Her Advice for Future Miss Kentucky Winners

After joining the Miss Kentucky Organization, Matney didn’t compete right away because she thought she was inadequate. “I would say, ‘Next year I’ll be in the teen pageant because this year I don’t have a dress.’ Or, ‘Next year I’ll be in Miss Kentucky because this year I just don’t know what to sing.’ I wasted a lot of valuable time thinking I wasn’t good enough or I wasn’t pretty enough or this or that.”

Her advice to young ladies who want to compete in pageants is to just go for it. Calling it a growing experience of discovering oneself, she says, “It’s about going out there and showing your heart, showing what you stand for.”

#5. She Has a Big Cheer Base

Matney has a beautiful voice to complete the package and she hopes her singing will help her win Miss America. After all, it won her the title in her home-state. As unbelievable as the moment she was crowned felt, her grandmother, Shirley Matney knew Molly would win. Describing her granddaughter as a perfect and beautiful person both inside and out, Shirley said, “She will look at anyone and smile. She has all of the qualities a Miss Kentucky and a Miss America ought to have.”

She has her entire family’s support as she competes for the crown and her parents look extremely excited at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall where the pageant will be held. There’s no word on whether she has a boyfriend at the moment. But judging from her Instagram, she’s got a swarm of support from back home. Not only do Kentucky natives leave messages of encouragement on their beautiful representative’s Instagram and Twitter, but they also gave her a massive celebration as she left for Miss America.

From her wardrobe, to diet, and even forming a solid opinion on global issues, Matney has her work cut out for her. But it’s easier with the encouragement she’s getting. “I have a great support system with my parents, my community, and my board of directors at Miss Kentucky. It’s such a once in a lifetime experience that I know I will never forget.”

Miss America 2018 will air on Sunday, September 10 at 9:00 p.m. on ABC.

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