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PNB interview, take 3:

Autumn Smith 
talks to Patrick Nathaniel Bartholomew III

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Autumn Smith
PNB: How did you get the opportunity to work for TNN and appear on "Motor Madness?"

Smith: My dad and I went to the opening of the NASCAR Cafe in Nashville this fall [1997].One of the producers of "Motor Madness" came over to our table and asked me if I would be interested in auditioning for the show. I drove back to Nashville in November for the first interview, but the second interview was canceled so I didn't really think about it anymore. Then, when I was in Miami Beach in January, I checked my answering machine back home in Alabama, and a producer had left a message asking me to come to Nashville as soon as possible. I flew back home and drove to Nashville. Within three days, I was at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis shooting several segments as Pamela VanDoren in the infield at a monster truck rally. Next weekend, I'll be shooting several live segments from a rally in Pennsylvania.

PNB: When can we watch you on "Motor Madness?"

Smith: Friday nights from 7 to 10 p.m. Central time on TNN. 

PNB: That's exciting. Let's get back to your family again. How has your relationship with your mother grown through your teen years and into your twenties?

Smith: Mom and I did not get along until I grew up. I was the biggest brat you've ever seen. I tortured my brothers. I really believe that I turned out to be such a good kid because I was scared of her. She's five feet tall and I'm six feet tall, but she had the bluff on me because I felt that if I did anything wrong, she would find out. She was so wise to what I was doing. Kids will try to get by with stuff if the parents don't have enough sense to know better. I knew with her that there was no getting past her. I figured that out pretty young maybe about 13 or 14. That's when I grew up. I was really shy up until sixth grade, and then I started coming out of my shell. That's when we would fight even more until I was 13 or 14. Then I grew up and started hanging out with my brothers' girlfriends. They were five or six years older than me. When I started hanging out with them, I was with a more mature crowd. Now I think I'm very mature for my age. Mom and I became best friends. We dearly love each other. If you can be too close, we are probably almost too close.

Autumn SmithPNB: After the Miss USA Pageant, you attended the Grammy Awards in New York. Tell us about that night. Who did you meet at the awards ceremony and the parties?

Smith: I went with a friend of mine Dwight Yoakum who was nominated for a country music award. It was a wonderful experience. I'd never been in New York. It was unbelievable. Probably the most exciting time was flying in and thinking this city is so big. It was beautiful flying into there. I had a limo pick me up and take me to the Four Seasons Hotel. I had my own room.

After I unpacked, Dwight and I went to a party. Later in the day, Dwight was on the Conan O'Brien Show so we went to Conan's studio and I sat in the Green Room during the taping. From there, we went straight to the Grammys. I met lots of people from the music industry including Travis Tritt and LeAnn Rimes. Donald Trump was there with Marla. I saw them after seeing them two weeks before at the Miss USA Pageant. They were both very nice. After the Grammys, Dwight and I went to several more parties. I was tickled to death and honored to go.

PNB:You've had some experience as a model. What are your goals in that field?

Smith: Growing up, I was always tall. Everyone said that I either needed to model or play basketball so I started doing both. I played basketball and started modeling. My goal in modeling is to try as hard as I can. If it's meant to be, it'll all work itself out because I am different than a lot of the people in the industry. I am a Southern girl. I am really close to my parents, and it is hard for me to be away from them. If it's meant to work out, I think it will. I'll try as hard as I can. I'm not going to be one of those girls who just stays in her hometown. I don't want to wonder ten years from now what would have happened if I had moved to Miami or New York. I don't want to regret that when it's too late.

 

PNB: What else would you like to do in the future?

Smith: I'd love to get married one day and have kids. Family is very important to me, but that's way on down the road. I would also be interested in acting.

PNB: Did you attend college? If so, where?

Smith: Yes, I got my degree in Interior Design from Southern Institute in Birmingham, Alabama. It was a two-year program, and it's really what I wanted to do.

Autumn Smith
I love architecture. It helped me in the dry wall business. I learned how to draw blueprints. If you can draw them, you can surely read them.

PNB: Let's get back to pageants again. What was the first pageant that you entered? What age were you? Were you successful?

Smith: The first pageant that I entered was my high school pageant in seventh grade. I finally won it my junior year which was the fifth year in a row that I had entered. The high school pageant raised money for the prom so just about everybody in the school had to be in it to raise enough money so that the juniors and seniors could have a prom. I didn't know what I was doing the first couple of years. You do learn because there is kind of a walk and a stance. I learned a lot and then my junior year I won it. While I still had the title of Miss Chelsea High School, I won the Miss Alabama Teen USA Pageant in my first year.

PNB: If a girl is interested in entering pageants, at what age do you think she should begin? Why?

Smith: Whenever she is old enough to make her own decision to enter a pageant. In my case, I was in the junior high when I went to my mother and told her that all of the girls were entering the pageant to raise money for the prom.

PNB: What lessons have you learned from your involvement in pageants?

Smith: I learned a lot about being comfortable speaking and interviewing. When I go out to a job interview, I'm thinking that my scores are not going to be showing so I feel that I can handle any interview now. Pageants also helped me to meet people more easily. It polishes you up. Pageants make you aware of things that you don't think about everyday. You think about your goals. Pageants make you think and they make you write down what you really feel which I think a lot of people don't take the time to do.

More talk with Autumn Smith ...

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