Ainsley LeBlanc recounts being crowned homecoming queen

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CW / Peyton Shepard

Rebecca Rakowitz

Surrounded by friends, family, peers, lots of school spirit and bonfire kindling that was ready to burn, Ainsley LeBlanc was crowned The University of Alabama’s homecoming queen last Friday.

“It was so surreal,” LeBlanc said.

A senior majoring in public relations and minoring in general business from Memphis, Tennessee, LeBlanc has known she wanted to attend the University since her junior year of high school, when she attended the sibling orientation during her older sister’s Bama Bound orientation. From the people to the campus to the tours of the stadium, LeBlanc knew that this was where she was meant to be.

“I was just like, ‘This is so cool, I’m sold,’ ” LeBlanc said.

LeBlanc is a member of Capstone Men and Women, involved in helping to facilitate Freshman Forum and a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and the Blue Key Honor Society.

She is also the president of her sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi. When asked if she was backed by The Machine, she denied the claims, saying that she was only nominated by her sorority.

As the 2016 Homecoming Queen, LeBlanc is now a part of an age-old tradition at the University.

When friends first suggested to LeBlanc that she should run for Homecoming Queen, she was not so sure. When thinking about how she would promote a platform, an addition to the Homecoming Queen position as of last year, LeBlanc changed her mind.

“It’s not just getting a title,” LeBlanc said. “It’s actually being able to advocate for something and work for a bigger cause.”

LeBlanc’s “bigger cause” is the American Heart Association. The organization is important to her as, a few years ago, a close friend of hers passed away in his sleep because of heart problems.

“Ever since then, I really just wanted to find a way to give back to the American Heart Association,” LeBlanc said.

Through different events such as Heart Walks, LeBlanc hopes to help raise money for the AHA and spread awareness of the cause in the UA community and Tuscaloosa at large. 

LeBlanc said the campaign process was tiring but worth it in the end. She noted there were many late nights planning, but she worked with many great people along the way.

“I guess a lot of people would think there’s that kind of rivalry [among nominees],” LeBlanc said, “but it really wasn’t that way. All the girls were so sweet, and it was great being able to meet all of them and getting to experience everything with them.”

LeBlanc said she loves to meet people and that she’s willing to meet with anyone who wants to chat, especially any girls who are interested in running for queen next year and would like some tips. She admits that the best advice she got was from her advisor for her sorority.

“She called me Saturday morning and said, ‘I’m sure you’re stressed out right now, but don’t let this pass you by. This is seriously a once in a lifetime experience, so take it all in as it comes,’ ” LeBlanc said.

Following her crowning and presentation at the game on Saturday, LeBlanc said that people would do a double-take when they saw her and that little girls approached her asking to take their pictures with her.

“I was like ‘Yeah, it’s just me, I’m just normal Ainsley, but I’d love to.’ ”