The reigning Miss YMCA Queens are Tiny Miss Ava Whittle, Young Miss Adah Weeks, Junior Miss Abby Whittle, Miss Annabel Mullinax and Miss Collegiate Kacy Herron. (Contributed)

Story by Elisabeth Altaminaro-Smith

Photos Contributed

Last August, Annabel Mullinax was crowned Miss YMCA for Chilton County. Miss YMCA serves as a local ambassador who holds the commitment to help everyone in the community reach their potential through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Mullinax holds grace and poise, as most beauty queens do, as well as a confident, positive disposition that is eager to help others.

“Everyone needs to know that it is okay to be yourself. People will like you for who you are,” Mullinax, age 17, said. “If you are going through difficult times, remember that the tough times will pass. Find people that you love and trust that will listen and support you.”

Although Mullinax acknowledges that technology is helpful and a wonderful asset, she names social media as being the most important issue that her generation is currently struggling with.

“If someone doesn’t like you and wants to publicly talk bad about you (on the internet), they can block you from being able to see it,” Mullinax said. “That is very hard to deal with no matter what age a person is.”

Mullinax said that dealing with bullies can be difficult and that people should see themselves in a constructive light.

“Every person is perfect in their own way,” she said.

Being around Mullinax is uplifting. She attributes much of her positive affect and the ability to share positivity with the Clanton YMCA.

“Everyone is so friendly at the YMCA. I love being there! The classes are encouraging and the instructors help coach you through the work-out. If you aren’t physically able to do the exercise, it is okay. Everyone just does the best that they can,” said Mullinax. “The atmosphere is for everyone and all body types.”

Some of the aerobic classes she enjoys are cardio-swag, tumbling and yoga.

During her reign as Miss YMCA, she participates in community events and travels throughout the state, giving positive affirmation to others, as well as promoting the Y.  Some of the events she has enjoyed the most have been visiting the Gardens of Clanton at Thanksgiving and Christmas, making pillowcases with the Girl Scouts for cancer patients at Hope Lodge and hosting a community painting party for the community with her queen sisters.

“One of my favorite things that I have been a part of has been Lunch Box Rocks, hosted by the YMCA,” Mullinax said. “Children, age 0-18 receive a free lunch and we play games. Kids need more love and time spent with them and it is a great way to do that.”

The program meets at E.M. Henry Community Center, 413 14th St. in Clanton.

When Mullinax entered the Miss YMCA competition, she was nervous.

“I have not been in many pageants before. I was afraid to walk out onstage. My friend, Tammy Price encouraged me and I decided that I wanted to participate,” said Mullinax. “I am glad that I did. I conquered that fear.”

Unlike most people, a great characteristic that Mullinax possesses is her gift of public speaking.

“Speaking to large groups is not something that scares me,” she said. “It comes natural. Regardless of the situation, I can relay a message confidently and calmly in a professional manner.”

Her future aspirations are to become a doctor and she knows that her gift of communication will benefit her future.

When she is not attending events as Miss YMCA, she has the life of every busy teenager. She enjoys practicing dance routines for the Blast from the Past performances, volunteering as an elementary teacher’s aide and cheering for basketball and football. She loves hanging out with her friends and her Calico cat, “Macy Rose.”

Mullinax is grateful to the YMCA community, and friends and family that have loved and supported her. She hopes that others may be inspired to compete for Miss YMCA in 2020.

“It is so much fun! I hope that everyone will consider doing it,” said Mullin ax. “Some of the other pageant mothers have been like a second mother to me.”

Her parents are Steven and Susan Mullinax. She has two younger brothers, Christian and Casey.