An Arlington resident is in the running to become the next Miss USA.
Shannon McAnally, who lives in Courthouse, is the reigning Miss Virginia USA and will compete for the national title live on NBC on Sunday, June 16.
Though she will be representing Virginia, McAnnally is actually a native Texan. She moved to Arlington just over a year ago to help her family expand its construction business to Virginia.
The company, MCC and Associates, specializes in restaurant construction and renovation. McAnally is the company’s marketing director and a licensed contractor — the latter being an exceedingly rare accreditation for a young beauty pageant contestant.
“It is very unique… I don’t know many women my age who are involved in the commercial construction industry,” she said. McAnally noted, however, that the Miss USA pageant has featured women who are attorneys and doctors.
“That’s one of the misconceptions you find in beauty pageants, is that you think it’s just about being a pretty face, when it has more to due with the substance of a person,” she said. She said her involvement in pageants started as a fun hobby, but grew into a serious goal and drive to become Miss USA.
McAnally said she picked Arlington and the Courthouse neighborhood as her home above every other locality in Virginia because of the county’s urban amenities, which for made an easier transition from her hometown of Dallas.
“Everything is so convenient,” she said. “You can walk to restaurants and stores, it’s just a perfect area to live in.”
If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the potential future Miss USA, her interests provide a clue about the types of places she frequents.
McAnally says she’s an appreciator of museums, dining out, shopping, and music. Her favorite shopping destinations are Georgetown and Tysons Corner, but she can often be spotted at the Courthouse farmers market on Saturday mornings, or two favorite Clarendon food destinations: Whole Foods and Circa restaurant.
Just don’t expect to see her out much between now and June 16. McAnally says she’s been busy training for the pageant, working with walking coaches, interview coaches and other advisers. A vegetarian, McAnally has also been eating extra healthy and “exercising like crazy,” so she can be in top shape for the swimsuit competition.
If you do see McAnally out and about, it may be as she tours the Commonwealth in her role as Miss Virginia USA. She has been able to crisscross the state in style, thanks to the silver 2013 Mercedes Benz C250 that she received as part of her statewide pageant win this past November.
McAnally says she hopes to win next month by presenting herself as someone who’s a leader and a businesswoman, but at the same time relatable and down to earth.
“The beauty of me is really that balance of being able to take control but also do it in a way where people enjoy being around you,” she said.
If she does win the crown, she hopes to raise awareness not only about breast and ovarian cancers, which are part of the Miss USA organization’s official platform, but also about heart disease, which runs in her family.
At least 40 friends and family members from Arlington, Dallas and elsewhere will be in Las Vegas next month cheering McAnally on. She says she hopes to bring the crown back to her adopted state and end Virginia’s long Miss USA drought.
“It’s a really exciting year because if I do win, it will be the first year Virginia has won since the early 1970s,” she said. “That should give people a reason to watch and root me on, to bring the crown home.”