Lampe and Crawley Crowned Derby Royalty

by Erin Brock
Staff Writer

Transy is home to two out of the five 2009 Derby Princesses: senior Meghan Lampe and sophomore Sydney Crawley. The two went through a rigorous selection progress and were named princesses, along with three other girls, on Jan. 13.

Senior Meghan Lampe (second from left) and sophomore Sydney Crawley (second from right) will have many duties to fulfill as Derby Princesses.They had to send in an application, submit three pictures and two letters of recommendation, participate in two interviews and were required to have at least a 3.0 GPA.

“The competition sets the caliber and the bar really high. These are girls with ambition and drive, with the same goals as I have,” Crawley said.

Both girls have devoted a huge chunk of time to this competition, missing class for some events and surrendering leisure time.

“It’s a big time commitment. But if the reasons you’re doing it are the right reasons, then you enjoy it,” Lampe said.

Lampe and Crawley play a very important role in the Derby Day events. Each princess is required to pick a horse before Derby Day, along with attending a plethora of social and press events.

“A Derby Princess is basically an ambassador for the Kentucky Derby,” Crawley said.
Lampe and Crawley will be in the public eye constantly for that whirlwind of two weeks.

“You have to smile all the time. I’ll feel like Miss Congeniality because I’ll smile so much,” Lampe said.

There are more than 70 official events that all five princesses are required to be present at, along with about ten unofficial events.

“I’m really excited about the parade. We get to stand on the float and see everyone. There will be a lot of people from Transy there to support us,” Crawley said.

Other events are more formal, such as traditional dinners like the Barnstable Brown Party. This star-studded event has attracted stars like Peyton Manning, Kid Rock, Usher and many more. It is very early, but rumors this year are that Justin Timberlake and Tiger Woods are being anticipated as guests. One of the duties of Lampe and Crawley will be to escort celebrities to their seats.

“I’m so excited. I think I’d faint if I got to escort someone, anyone, like that [Justin Timberlake, Tiger Woods],” Lampe said.

With all of the hours spent fulfilling their princess duties, there are certainly perks in addition to meeting celebrities. Each girl will receive a 2,000 dollar scholarship and a complete wardrobe. Included in the wardrobe are four outfits from Ann Taylor, four from Talbots, 2 suits and of course, a beautiful ball gown. Along with the clothes, accessories will be received along the way, including a custom made derby hat.

“Everyone wants to be Cinderella for a day,” Lampe said.

“We probably get about $15,000 worth of stuff,” Crawley said.

But their motivations are definitely not monetary.

“Ever since I was little I wanted to be a Derby Princess. I’m proud to be from Louisville… It’s not just something we do in Kentucky. It’s a nationwide, a worldwide event,” Lampe said. “I just hope to do a good job. You become a role model for a lot of little girls. It’s something that impacted me as a woman, and I want to do that for others.”

Crawley finds inspiration in the fact that Martha Layne Collins, the first female governor of Kentucky, was a Derby Princess. Many strong and successful women have participated and continue to be involved with the program.

“It’s amazing. These women can balance hardcore women’s rights with being a lady,” Crawley said.
Participants wish to stress that the competition is based on many different aspects of the individual.

“It’s not based on looks or superficial qualities. It’s about personality, the ability to communicate well with others, community involvement and academic merit,” Lampe said. “You’re really able to capitalize on your own qualities unique to yourself. It’s about the individual woman and what she can become.”

Crawley agrees.

“It’s not a beauty pageant. It’s not based on what you look like. It’s a networking opportunity, a career opportunity. I would encourage every girl to apply regardless of if they think they can win,” Crawley said. “It’s more than just being cute and standing on a float. I will be able to look back and say that it was one of the best experiences of my life. It’s a huge honor.”

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