By Adele Marchant
Photos courtesy of Shannon Lynch
As both a Georgetown graduate and the former Miss District of Columbia World 2015 and Miss District of Columbia United States 2014, Shannon Lynch knows a little something about what it’s like to have both beauty and brains. Thirty Seventh decided to call her up for a round of 20 questions to learn what makes her tick. Check out Shannon’s responses below!
1. What did you study and when did you graduate?
I doubled majored in Government and American Musical Culture. It’s a tiny, tiny major most people don’t even know exists at Georgetown. I was in the College and I graduated in 2014.
2. What do you do now?
I just started grad school at American University. I’m in a grad program for Audio Technology. I also work for a small consulting company based in Alexandria.
3. Where are you from?
I grew up in a small town in Washington state, actually, called Steilacoom.
4. What groups were you involved with on campus?
I was on the cheerleading team, part of the concert choir for a little bit, and Georgetown Entertainment and Media Alliance (GEMA). I was also part of the Armenian student Association.
5. How did Georgetown prepared you for pageants?
I think since we have such small classes and a lot the professors really take advantage of that and make sure – at least in my classes – there was usually some type of speaking in front of the class and having to formally present your thoughts for a project. That made me feel a lot more comfortable in pageants with being able to speak on stage in front of however many people, or being judged in an interview setting in front of a panel of judges.
6. What’s your Starbucks order?
I’ve really been trying to not drink coffee, so recently I’ve been drinking a lot of hot chocolate.
7. Best advice you’ve received at Georgetown?
The best advice I ever received at Georgetown wasn’t even from a professor but a member of GEMA, a Georgetown alum who went in the ‘70s, I think. Now he’s one of the super higher-ups at Sirius XM, a very successful musician. I had just graduated, and he told me “Don’t worry about it, just go through the open doors”. I guess what he meant by that was that sometimes you don’t always know where you’re going or what your plan is, but if you just take the opportunities that come to you, then you’ll be fine.
8. As a fashion blog, you know we have to ask – favorite article of clothing you own?
If I still had it, it would be the first evening gown I competed in.
9. Beauty secret for looking your best on stage and at appearances?
Dry shampoo for sure! A lot of us will still put dry shampoo in our hair to add volume to it because for being on stage you have big hair most of the time. Pageant hair is usually bigger than normal, so it really helps with the teasing process and keeps volume in the hair for several hours.
10. What would you tell someone at Georgetown who is interested in pageants?
If its something they want to do, then just go for it. That was the position I was in. When I was a senior at Georgetown I decided to compete in my first pageant. I had never watched a pageant, never been to a pageant, never even seen one on TV. I knew nothing about pageants at all. I just saw something about it and thought hmmm this would be fun. I did it on a whim. I think some people have negative stereotypes about competing in pageants but it’s just like anything else. If you take the time to really talk to someone that has a competed or watch a pageant or learn anything about it then obviously you’re gonna be ignorant about what its really all about. I would just say go for it, do it!
11. Best public speaking tips or answering those dreaded onstage questions?
When you see those videos of the girls that totally mess up onstage questions, nine times out of ten it’s because the girl did not listen to the question. She heard the first part of the question and thought she knew exactly what they were gonna ask but did not actually listen to the entire question and then just tripped over herself. There was an example of that a couple of years ago at the Miss USA pageant with Miss Utah, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. I know the man that coached her for interview and she’s a very intelligent woman actually but she just didn’t listen to the whole question. So that’s the biggest tip any pageant interview coach will tell you: listen to the entire question before you go running off with an answer in your head.
12. Can you tell us about your platform?
My platform is supporting military families and it is important for me because I am part of a military family. My mom and dad are both army veterans. It is important to me because I know what its like to grow up in a family where sometimes your mom or dad is deployed, both of my parents were in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. So it is a very important issue to me because it touches me personally. Even though I no longer live near the base I grew up near, it’s very relevant here because we have a large military population in the DMV.
13. What’s it like backstage at a pageant?
It’s actually a ton of fun. I’ve probably only experienced cattiness once and it wasn’t even directly at me, it was something I saw. Other than that, girls are very helpful. It’s really super chaotic. You go out and compete in swimsuit and then you’re expected to change into this huge gown that weighs a ton in 2 minutes, literally. Most times it’s very chaotic. Before a show when we’re all just getting ready, it’s just like girls hanging out getting ready to go out to a party. It’s pretty laid back. Everyone’s always really nice to each other for the most part.
14. Tell us something people might not know about you.
I am the youngest of five children.
15. Favorite Georgetown professor?
That’s so tough. Since I had two majors, I had some really good Government professors, but you couldn’t really compare them to my Music professors. So for Government, Eric Langenbacher and for Music, I will go with Anna Celenza and Ben Harbert
16. Sweetgreen or Chipotle?
Sweetgreen, for sure. I love Chipotle, but Sweetgreen is unique and it’s owned by Georgetown alums.
17. Favorite secret spot on campus?
In Healy, if you go up to the very top floor that you can go, the view from there is really, really pretty. Whenever people would come to visit me at Georgetown I would always bring people up there to see the view of the Washington Monument.
18. What’s your plan for the next 5 years post-Georgetown look like?
Well I’m in a grad program right now so I would like to graduate and finish that program. And hopefully do something involving that. I would like to keep competing. I still have a few more years of eligibility. And keep going through the open doors.
19. Sunrise at the monuments or sunset at the waterfront?
Sunset at the waterfront!
20. Best part about having a title:
The best part is to be able to communicate with organizations that matter to me for my platform. Sometimes it’s hard to get people to let you help with certain things or plan events or things with them. Sometimes it’s trickier or less of an impact if you just do it on your own but I had the help of a pageant director and got to have a fan page. It makes public service a little more effective.