TOPS: Tell us what being Miss Kentucky means to you.
Alex Francke: Miss Kentucky is kind of like Wonder Woman, who works to serve the people in her world to the best of her ability by using all of her special powers to bring them peace and security. As Miss Kentucky, it’s my role to use everything I have been given all of the tools in my toolbelt, if you will and all of my special skills to serve the people of this state, as well as to bring them joy, laughter, love and encouragement. Growing up, I can remember how I looked up to the “big girls” in my life with eyes full of hope and aspiration to be just like the Wonder Women in my world. It’s my greatest hope and most fervent prayer to make all of the people I meet feel seen, heard and loved. If I can make even one person see that they are more than equipped to pursue their wildest dreams – and then get to watch them go do it – I will have won more than the crown this year.
TOPS: What does a day in the life of Miss Kentucky look like?
Alex: Haha, which day?! As Miss Kentucky, you’re constantly on the road as the official spokesperson for Ken- tucky Proud through the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, so you can pretty much go from talking at a school assembly, to emceeing a charitable event, to making small talk at a livestock show, all in the same day! I’ll be zig-zagging throughout the state to serve not only Kentucky agriculture, but also our two Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (Kentucky Children’s in Lexington and Norton Children’s in Louisville) and the Miss Kentucky Scholarship Organization local programs and sponsors! It definitely keeps you on your toes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m committed to serving Kentucky, so I’m willing and able to serve wherever and whenever I’m needed.
TOPS: Tell us about your platform, Adopt an Art, and how you plan to expand on that cause?
Alex: When I graduated from the Governor’s School for the Arts in 2013, I realized the profound impact that the arts have had on my life. Later I came to learn that many students in Kentucky didn’t have access to the same affordable arts education in their communities. Once I started researching the challenge, I realized it was present in my hometown of Lexington just as much as it was in the more rural areas of the state. I started my 501(c)3, Adopt an Art, to create a mentorship-based model that would give Fayette County Public Schools access to free after- school classes in dance, drama, art and music. It was a very grassroots approach, as I assembled a very small team of volunteers to help me write the curriculum, teach the lessons and raise the funds needed to make it a reality! Our first school partnership was Mary Todd Elementary (thanks to Dr. Jennifer Bell) and we have served over 100 students by offering them free classes, building relationships with them as well as taking them on field trips to see local performances and touring Broadway shows! I’m so excited to continue working with FCPS, but I am also looking to expand my efforts and partner with more organizations throughout the state to reach even more children! I would love for people interested in volunteering or partnering with Adopt an Art to contact me through our website, adoptanart.org.
TOPS: What has being a part of the pageant system taught you?
Alex: On a surface level, my involvement in both the Miss America and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Organizations has polished so many of my hard skills, such as public speaking, entertaining an audience, carrying yourself with poise and grace and making a lasting impact through community service. But more than anything, it’s given me something that is more valuable than all of those things through relationships and life lessons. I’ve learned so much about having perspective when competing. It can be so easy to put all of your hopes and aspirations into winning the crown: it’s human and natural to do so! However, the leadership has framed the experience in such a way that you’re not so focused on winning the title, you’re more so focused on how you’re growing and learning through the process, and working to become a better version of yourself constantly... not for competition week, but for your life! Every single year I’ve competed, I’ve learned something new from the amazing women who are a part of this organization. You really do get to spend time with some of the most hard-working, impressive, outwardly and inwardly beautiful girls in the state and country! As iron sharpens iron, the time I’ve spent with my MAO and MAOTeen sisters is something I will value for the rest of my life, long after my year has come and gone!
TOPS: Tell us how you and former Miss Kentuckys help make our community a better place.
Alex: Even though every Miss Kentucky is very different, we all have a lot of underlying traits in common, such as our dedication to doing everything we do with excellence, serving others with our whole hearts and mentoring and investing in the next generation. With or without a crown, a Miss Kentucky is characterized by her heart for others and her desire to make a difference in her own unique way. I have been involved at Southland Christian Church for the past four years, mentoring children and high school students. I’ve worked as a digital marketing consultant for charities like the Ronald McDonald House and I’ve poured my heart and soul into UK’s DanceBlue over the past five years. All of the former Miss Kentuckys have contin- ued to serve and love the people around them through so many different and diverse outlets; you’ll see them on the boards of charities and philanthropic events, as regular volunteers in organizations they care about, running companies or even running for office! This group of women is truly unstoppable and I’m honored to be associated with them.
TOPS: In your opinion, what makes Lexington great?
Alex: Lexington is great because it has so much to offer people at every stage in their lives. Having been born and raised here, and then continuing my education here at UK, I’ve gotten to enjoy the culture from different angles. I’ve been going to CATS games since I was a toddler in a tiny cheerleader outfit and cheering on the horses at Keeneland since I was a baby! The culture here is really so special because we really know how to rally around a family or a cause in time of need. We know how to comfort each other in times of sadness and celebrate the mountain-top moments. We’ve got enough southern charm to sweeten the tea, but we’ve also got a desire for progress and a high tolerance for change that keeps us growing and shifting with the times. It truly is the most special place to live and grow up, and I’ve heard it’s pretty great for raising a family and growing old, too.
TOPS: How are you preparing for the Miss America competition?
Alex: I still can hardly believe that I am going to get to walk and sing on the Miss America stage, but we are going full-speed ahead with mock interviews, voice lessons, paperwork sessions and fundraising initiatives to make me the best version of myself and the best Miss Kentucky I can be when I go to represent us on the national stage! I really want Kentucky to be seen for all of its amazing qualities – like its kindness, charm and grit – when I get my time to shine.
Meet American Pharoah
His favorite thing to eat is baby carrots.
He gets turned out in his field every day and likes to have a good roll, so he gets groomed daily to make sure he is always looking his best.
With the racing credentials he has – and being such a good looking horse – he is a very popular stallion.
Coolmore has a daily tour Monday-Friday where fans can come and meet AP and more of their favorite superstar stallions while learning about the farm. These tours can be booked through Horse Country Tours.
American Pharoah is a kind horse with an incredible temperament, something he seems to be passing on
to his offspring. He has made a great start to his stud career with 4 very impressive winners so far from only a handful of runners. It seems like there’s a lot to look forward to in horse racing’s future, thanks to the legacy of the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years!