Photo by Frank Carnaggio Photography

Mary Catherine Dulaney is a junior at the University of Alabama, currently pursuing a degree in hospitality management and dance. She was crowned as the 2023 Miss Shelby County on July 9, 2022, and is eager to share how her platform, The Giving Well, will positively impact students in local schools. Here, she discusses her involvement with the Miss Alabama organization and the plans she has moving forward. 

Tell us about your platform with Miss Shelby County. How is your work benefitting our community?

My social impact initiative, The Giving Well, is all about encouraging younger generations to choose water over less healthy options. With this I’ve had the opportunity to go into local elementary schools and read my book, “David’s Choice,” that I have written and illustrated to share my message. Spending time with children and teaching them the benefits of staying hydrated has been one of my favorite parts of my involvement in the Miss Alabama organization.  

You have a background in dance and are very talented. What fuels your passion to express yourself through dance?

Ever since I was a child I have always loved to perform on stage! Dance has always been a way express myself and tap into a creativity that can only be shared through artistic ambition. I am so thankful that I am able to continue to dance on stage and share my passion with the audience! 

As a hospitality major, what do you hope to accomplish career-wise?

I would love to become a wedding planner. I came into college wanting to be a wedding planner, but the past couple of years have really solidified that for me, too. I have had the opportunity to plan events with as many 1,300 guests. I have always been really interested in all aspects that go into planning a wedding and love the idea of making someone’s dream a reality on one of the most important days of their lives. 

Who do you think has most heavily influenced you in becoming who you are today?

My mom has definitely been one of the most influential figures in my life. She has played such a critical role in shaping me into the woman I am today, and I am so proud to be her daughter.  

What advice do you have for other young women, looking to make an impact in the world around them?

The hardest part of achieving your goals is always the first step. The idea of whatever you are trying to accomplish is bigger than the actual task at hand. You are so much more capable than you can imagine! Learning to be bold and confident in your abilities is my biggest piece of advice.