An LSU freshman took home the prestigious title as Miss Louisiana Teen USA on Saturday, Jan. 16. Lafayette native Gracie Petry was named victor of the annual pageant that took place in the Jefferson Performing Arts Center in New Orleans.

However, this year was her last and only chance to compete for the crown before she aged out as a teen contestant. Luckily, all of her prayers were answered for the exhilarating weekend.

“It was crazy, obviously for someone who has competed for 5 years and got first runner-up twice," she said. "I stood in that top 2 position, but my name was never called so I felt a lot of shock.” 

Upon capturing this title, Gracie wants to accomplish many goals during her reign by bringing awareness to her non-profit that she started at the age of 15, Smile Pack. Her organization promotes healthy dental habits worldwide distributing free dental supplies and educating people on health disease.

Gracie is a biology major studying pre-med at LSU. She is also a proud member of the Delta Zeta sorority. She was crowned by her sorority sister and predecessor, Sydney Taylor. She enjoys tutoring and working with young children while modeling on the side.

In addition to being a full-time student, Gracie believes she can handle both positions without it being a difficult task. While competing in pageants, she has gained time management skills and adjusted through a flexible schedule due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

Petry succeeded in all phases of the competition and her final answer to the question, “What do you miss most in in-person education,” set her apart from all other contestants. 

Without hesitation, Petry replied, “It’s a lot different because you don’t get to interact with your friends in class and have fun or joke around. I think being online is fun because your schedule is more flexible.”

Gracie Petry will be preparing to compete in the Miss Teen USA pageant that will take place in late November. She will be competing against several young women across the nation in hopes of representing Louisiana and bringing home the national crown.

You can stay updated on Gracie’s journey by following her LA Teen USA Instagram account, @misslateenusa.