Miss Chesterfield: Savannah Lane

Year: First Year

Major: Foreign Affairs, Arabic with a Minor in Dance

Hometown: Chesterfield

1. What does the title of Miss Chesterfield entail?

The title of Miss Chesterfield is a local title in the Miss Virginia and Miss America Organization. There are so many components that go into being a titleholder—you truly never know what to expect throughout your year of service—but the most important would be the service aspect of the job. As a titleholder in the scholarship organization of the Miss America program it is important to serve your area to the best of your abilities in various events and appearances, dedicate time and fundraising efforts to the Children’s Miracle Network as an ambassador (Miss America’s national platform is the Children’s Miracle Network), promote your own personal platform (mine is entitled “The Power of Performance”) and represent your local at the next level of competition. I am so honored and eager to represent my hometown of Chesterfield at the Miss Virginia Scholarship Competition in June!

 2. What kinds of events have you participated in since being named Miss Chesterfield?

As Miss Chesterfield I volunteer and organize events to give back to both my community here in Charlottesville as well as Chesterfield on a daily basis. My mission is to serve and reach as wide of an audience as I possibly can but my particular target audience is the most vulnerable in society. With this goal in mind I constantly organize performances at various nursing homes and veterans care centers, mentor students with Autism, reach out to speak on my platform to local schools, perform at children’s hospitals, help fundraise for the Children’s Miracle Network and more! You can visit my blog (www.savannahmlane.wordpress.com) to learn more about my service mission and follow my events and service! Most notably my favorite event this year as Miss Chesterfield was when I was honored with the opportunity to promote my platform of “The Power of Performance’ and arts advocacy to members of our United States Congress this past March on Capitol Hill during National Arts Advocacy Day. This has been on my bucket list for years and I feel so privileged to have had such a receptive group of legislators to discuss the importance of the arts.

3. How do you feel about women's body image in today's media?

It is no secret that there is absolutely a focus (an obsession almost!) with body image and how we as women compare to others. With images of gaunt-looking models and celebrities photoshopped on magazine covers to appear thinner girls face constant pressures to fit a certain mold and look a certain way—their minds are warped to think beautiful bodies can only appear one way. This can be fixed with more positive role models that promote healthy bodies. This is something the Miss America Organization does through the “Lifestyle and Fitness Competition” (more commonly known as the swimsuit portion of the competition). While many might think that this could be seen as degrading to women it is quite in fact the opposite—it is empowering women. This aspect of the competition provides young girls with positive role models that prove you can be healthy and fit (but don’t have to be stick-skinny or achieve a desired body in a dangerous manner) and still be considered beautiful. If we have more young women promoting that health, fitness and muscle are something to be proud of instead of thigh-gaps and size 0 labels then I feel girls will be able to not only be inspired to follow a healthier lifestyle but feel more comfortable in their own skin.

4. What is your favorite memory at UVa so far?

I have had so many wonderful memories so far dancing with the Virginia Dance Company, competing with the UVA women’s water polo team and even helping crown the Mr. 2017 but my favorite memory would have to be any chance I get to perform with my sister Caitlin Lane. My sister Caitlin is a 2nd year here at UVA (Mechanical Engineering student/RA in Page) and is truly a phenomenal vocalist/guitarist/songwriter (and yes I know you are probably just thinking I am biased because she is my sister but she really is incredible). I am always so inspired when I watch her take to the stage and feel so honored whenever she asks me to join her in a performance. Not only has she made my transition into “college-life” a breeze, but she has made this year one filled with unforgettable memories.

5. How has the UVa community influenced your future goals?

The UVA community has influenced and shaped my goals in countless ways. The student body in itself is inspiring with its tremendous and unique accomplishments however, the academic opportunities and diligent professors have opened my eyes to many new possibilities that I did not even know were possible for my future. I am excited to be continuing my studies in foreign affairs, the language of Arabic, and the dance minor program in the years to come. I hope to one day utilize what I have accomplished as an undergraduate here at UVA and serve my country as an FBI agent (no that is not because I saw the movie Miss Congeniality…).

6. Do you have any advice for your fellow UVa students?

As someone with a performing background my mother always reminded me of the quote “today is not a dress rehearsal” and that is something that I live by. Whether I am doing a literal performance on a stage or just waking up to a another day of classes I try to treat every single moment as if it was my one and only chance to “perform” on that particular stage and prove myself. This mentality has allowed me to never take an opportunity for granted and truly appreciate every single challenge and chance thrown my way. If you live with the idea that “today is not a dress rehearsal” it makes every single day exciting and allows you to fight your way to success one “performance” at a time.