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Paige Duke vies for Miss Hawaiian Tropic

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By Sherry Archie

Modeling comes naturally to Lancaster’s Paige Duke.  

A former Lancaster High School homecoming queen and recent graduate of Clemson University, Duke began modeling  about four years ago. She has an agent, Creative Management Group (CMG) in Daytona Beach, Fla. Modeling experiences with NASCAR and NHRA (the National Hot Rod Association) have helped prepare her for the role she has now.  

For the last three years, Duke has competed in the weekly Miss Myrtle Beach Hawaiian Tropic competitions through the summer, making it all the way to first runner up.  

Most times, she wasn’t able to go to the finals because they fell on special Clemson event days. But in 2008, Duke was crowned Miss Myrtle Beach Hawaiian Tropic, proving that the fourth try was her charm.   

This week, she’s at Choctaw’s Pearl River Resort in Mississippi to vie for Miss Hawaiian Tropic United States.  

Miss Hawaiian Tropic United States finalists will have a week-long schedule of activities, including photo shoots, rehearsals, scheduled meet and greets at the Pearl River Resort, along with media interviews. The preliminary swimsuit competition will be held Friday  at Geyser Falls Water Theme Park, the resort’s water attraction.

All of the week’s events lead up to the Miss Hawaiian Tropic United States Final Model Search at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Duke is looking forward to the competition that includes state and regional winners from all over the country. The competition includes state costumes, evening wear, and, of course, swimsuits.  There are strict guidelines for each category.  

“Our state costumes must reflect something special about our own state. I have decided to focus on our beaches – in particularly the seashells,” Duke said. “I’m wearing a blue sequined dress with earrings made of shells. I also plan to use fishnet with a few extras in my hair to bring the look altogether.”

For the evening gown competition, the dresses must be solid black, silver or pink and reflect old Hollywood glamour.  

Duke is going for the 1940s glamour of Rita Hayworth. She will be wearing a light pink sequined dress.

Preparing for a pageant like this takes dedication, Duke said.  

She has been working out a minimum of one hour each day with a personal trainer over the last few months. Then she spends time tanning to get that necessary Hawaiian Tropic glow.   

Her parents, John and Beverly Duke, are proud their daughter has come this far.  

“We are really excited for her,” her mother said. “I’m going with her to Mississippi to offer my support.”