POULSBO — If true royalty is defined by possessing beauty, grace, elegance and humility, then Miss Viking Fest 2006 Jasmine Campbell’s legacy will remain timeless on the shores of Liberty Bay.
Campbell will pass her crown and bunad to the next Miss Viking Fest at 7 p.m. April 27 at Christ Memorial Church when one of seven contestants is chosen to succeed her.
Far from the shy high school senior, who said, “I’m totally in shock and I definitely didn’t expect to win,” on the night she won the tiara and the Norwegian bunad, Campbell has blossomed into a strong, confident young woman ready for the next challenge life has in store.
“I’ll be trying out for American Idol once more,” she said. “I’m very passionate about singing and sort of modeling.”
While singing is her passion, academics are equally important as she is studying early childhood education at Olympic College.
Being in school and holding down a job at the Poulsbo Dairy Queen in addition to wrapping up her Viking Fest duties are things Campbell has learned to take in stride, because of how she’s grown through her reign.
“I think if I hadn’t won that pageant, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now,” she said. “It has totally changed my life.”
Campbell said her father is but one of those who has noticed the pageant’s positive impact.
“He said it seems like I’ve grown two years in one this year,” she said.
Campbell’s reign began with controversy from outside of the community concerning having an African American hold the title of Miss Viking Fest, but crescendoed during the Viking Fest parade when the North End community rallied around her.
“When we came down Fjord (Drive) and saw all the people, I had to hold back tears,” she said. “It was the best feeling I’ve ever felt.”
That support boosted her confidence and throngs of people continued expressing their support for her long after Viking Fest ended, she said.
From that experience Campbell said she learned humbleness and to think before she acts or speaks.
“A lot of what was going on last year was a lot of people who didn’t think before they spoke,” she said, referring to the racist e-mails and threats made by members of white supremacist groups.
Another lesson Campbell and her court learned was how to eat lutefisk at the Viking Fest lutefisk eating contest.
“I’m not a fish person to begin with, and I will never eat it again,” she said.
But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t become part of the Miss Viking Fest code of conduct, she said.
“I hope it becomes a tradition,” she said. “All of the girls should have to do it.”
When it comes to future title aspirations, Campbell said she is already making plans to run for Miss Kitsap in 2008.
“I wanted to run this year, but I couldn’t hold two titles at the same time,” she said. “I definitely plan on running next year.”