Queens dont always take themselves seriously. Kenna Erhardt, Pierce Countys newly crowned Daffodil Festival queen, is a prime example.
Kenna, short for McKenna, is a senior at Rogers High School. She topped 23 other princesses from Pierce County high schools and will preside over the royal court throughout festival season, including at the Grand Floral Parade on April 13.
Kenna, 17, says the princesses didnt compete for the title. In her eyes all the girls are winners, and the most exciting part of serving as queen is spending more time with them.
The South Hill resident teaches Bible school and preschool at two churches, is a two-year Rogers soccer team captain and is passionate about children and community service. She plans to enter Pacific Lutheran Universitys nursing program in hopes of becoming a pediatrician, and still manages to stay silly with her friends at Red Robin.
The morning after her coronation between appointments for hair and dress alterations Kenna sat down with The News Tribune.
Question: It hasnt even been a day since you were coronated. I have to ask did you get any sleep last night?
Answer: I didnt go to bed until late because I was excited, so my friends and I hung out afterwards and went to Dennys and ate because I hadnt eaten anything that day. I went home and had so many messages, and I kept waking up and I had more messages. So it was a lot of falling asleep, waking up, falling asleep, and thinking, Is this real?
Q: Did you ever expect to be in an event like this? What inspired you to become Daffodil royalty?
A: Not at first. My friends were all really excited about running for Daffodil, but that was never me. ... As soon as I heard about it and realized what an amazing foundation it was, I was like, Yeah, that is me.
Q: How do you balance all of your commitments?
A: Its a lot of knowing what you need to get done and whats important, so prioritizing. The support system is probably the most important. I know my parents are always there helping me, making sure Im on top of things. My friends are really understanding if I cant make it to something. Its a lot about the people who support you.
Q: What do you do for fun when you arent wearing your tiara?
A: I hang out with friends. We eat a lot at Red Robin. And then the next day I hope I still fit in my dress. I have a lot of kids in my community and I help teach Sunday school. That is the most fun to me, working with kids and mentoring them outside of the yellow dress.
Q: What is your favorite thing to eat at Red Robin?
A: Clucks & Fries with a lot of barbecue sauce and a Diet Coke. There is a waiter there named Trent who knows my order and all my friends orders to a T.
Q: Now you can go and wear your tiara.
A: Yeah! (Laughing) Queen Kenna.
Q: Moving forward, what are you most excited about?
A: The community service and being an ambassador. As soon as I found out about it, I was so excited to take on that title because community service means so much to me. I was really excited to get out there and start doing something for our community.
Q: Who was your role model growing up, and how did that person or people influence who you are today?
A: My grandma was my role model. She was so loving. ... She was a single parent, but she still got out there and served her community. She was so involved in the church and just everyone loved her and respected her. And that taught me that I wanted to be a well-respected person in the future.
Q: Was your grandma at your coronation?
A: Yes she was there. ... It was so nice to see how proud she was of me.
Q: What has been the biggest challenge or what do you anticipate could be your biggest challenge for the coming year?
A: This is kind of silly, but the biggest challenge is probably going to be taking on and off that dress every time. Its a really big dress, and I love it, but it is hard to do it by yourself, and there are going to be times Ill have to get ready by myself and try my best to get that thing on and off safely (without tearing it). We can only hope for the best.
Q: I know a lot of us are thinking it do you get to keep the dress and the tiara? Will you wear either again in the future?
A: I do get to keep the dress and the tiara and I am super excited about it. And I probably wont wear it in the future unless Im home alone and feel like trying it on for funsies to be honest, I probably will try it on again in the future. ... We can only hope it still fits.
Q: Is it difficult traveling in those dresses? What is that like?
A: At first it is difficult, but it is a lot of fun trying to pack the car with five girls in yellow dresses. Its a lot more fun than it sounds. Its exciting, its funny, you sit on each other, you pull each others dresses, but it makes for a great adventure.
Q: What advice do you have for girls thinking about becoming Daffodil royalty?
A: Be confident no matter what happens. Youre a princess no matter what. Be happy for whoever wins, because they are going to need a lot of support, and you are going to be able to play a big role in that because you understand what that persons going through. Just do you. Just be the person you are because the only way youre going to get through the Daffodil season is to be yourself.