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  • Val T.

Strasser honors mother, brother, takes Second Runner-up at pageant


Sports Editor, RTC

Miss Fulton County Second Runner-up Darah Strasser

Laneia Strasser was Miss Fulton County in 2002.

Twenty-two years later, her daughter Darah finished Second Runner-up in a field of seven at the Miss Fulton County Queen Pageant at Rochester High School Saturday.

Chesnee Miller won the title, and Alexa Finke was First Runner-up.

Strasser, 18, will be a senior at Rochester High School this fall.

“It feels really good,” Strasser said. “All the girls that competed were great. It’s just an honor to even be Second Runner-up.”

Strasser said all the competitors got along well.

“I really didn’t know them super well,” Strasser said. “But at all the workshops, we all just clicked and got along well, and everybody was so nice, and they were all so great, so it was fine competing with them. I was like if they win, I’m happy for them.”

Strasser said weeks of preparation went into the pageant.

“But the day of, I just trusted that I was ready and put my trust in God and told myself to be myself,” Strasser said.

She had to prepare a one-minute speech and wrote it about sudden cardiac arrest, a condition from which her brother Drew suffered in August 2022.

“You’re supposed to do it about something that’s near and dear to your heart, and that’s near and dear to my heart,” Strasser said. “I just had to separate the feelings from it. … It’s something I’m passionate about, so it was kind of easy. The words just flowed.”

The pageant also included a personality outfit, which she called “very simple,” and the on-stage questions.

Strasser said this was her first pageant and that she had never been interviewed on stage before.

She said the most common advice she received from her mother and previous pageant competitors was just to be herself.

“Which seems pretty difficult going into it because you’re like, what if they don’t like me?” Strasser said. “But clearly, they liked me enough.”

Strasser is also a versatile volleyball player – Laneia is the head coach – and the starting center fielder on the sectional championship softball team at Rochester.

“They’re definitely stressful in different ways,” Strasser said when asked to compare the stress levels of a sporting event and a pageant. “Because for me, I had never done a pageant before, so I was preparing myself, but I really didn’t know what to expect, but I’ve been playing sports my whole life, so I always am prepared for that.”

Strasser is also the vice-president of the National Honor Society and a member of the student council. She also volunteers for Special Olympics basketball, which she called “super fun.”

“I do a lot of babysitting,” Strasser added. “It’s really not an extracurricular, but that takes up a lot of time.”

Strasser said the pageant forced her to be vulnerable.

“You’re just really putting yourself out there,” Strasser said. “And for everybody to see. Everyone’s watching you. It’s just been a good opportunity.”

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