You had competed in pageants and been a winner at the local level. You get your degree in Communications from Samford University. Now, you need a job or business. What do you do?

The answer was natural for Thomason Bryan, a Montgomery graduate of Trinity Presbyterian High School, now living in Birmingham. You envision, organize and open up a business, coaching and training pageant contestants.

S&T Consulting.

That startup was in 2020. In the short time since, the fruits have been amazing. Winners and more winners. Scholarships. Career opportunities. Thousands raised for charity. Lives changed.

But first, you get a business partner who shares the same goals. Enter Stella Kontos Hess, a graduate of Auburn University in chemical engineering. What? Well, of course, a pageant contestant needs to generate a certain chemistry to catch the attention of the judges and win. That has worked.

Stella has a personal motivation to work with the Miss Alabama system. The charity benefitting from Miss Alabama/Miss America is Children’s Miracle Network hospitals. Stella was herself a patient at Children’s of Alabama – a successful patient. As a youth, she was diagnosed with urinary tract reflux. It turned out she had a double kidney on one side and scarring. Under the care of Children’s of Alabama, she was completely healed by age 13.

Within three years of healing, she successfully competed in pageants, ending with Miss Jefferson County of 2019, competing in the Miss Alabama pageant.

Now, Stella and Thomason have organized a business for coaching pageant contestants. They are the S and T of S&T Consulting.

The term used to be “beauty pageants.” That was in the days of yesteryear. Now, the competitions (not just pageants) include poise, interviews, physical fitness, academics, talents of every variety and community service platforms. What have I left out?   

What are the purposes (plural) of these competitions? To award scholarships. To open doors for careers. To build confidence and poise. To raise funds for worthy causes. To entertain audiences, in person and by TV. To motivate the contestants. To network for contestants, families and friends. To make memories for a lifetime.

Is it going too far to say that pageants are for young women what football is for young men? Scholarships. Doors opened. Competition. The Miss America crown is like the Heisman Trophy.   

There are at least 10 systems that organize and run competitions on the local, state, national and sometimes international levels. The best-known of the systems is Miss Alabama/Miss America. Dozens of local competitions are organized and run annually. The local winners go to Birmingham for the Miss Alabama competition. The winners of all state competitions then go and compete in the Miss America competition.

It will take you a while to read the impressive list of winners coached by S&T Consulting, just in the Miss America system:

Miss America - 1st Runner Up,

Top 3, Top 5, Top 15, Social Impact Initiative Winner

Miss Alabama - Winner

Top 5, Top 12,

Evening Gown Winner, Talent Winner

Community Service Winner and Top 7 Finalists

Miss Illinois - Winner

 Top 5, Top 10, Overall Talent Winner

Social Impact Pitch and OSQ Winner

Miss Colorado - Winner

Community Service Winner

Miss Georgia -Winner

Overall Talent Winner, Evening Gown Winner

Miss Wisconsin -Winner

Talent Winner, Evening Gown Winner

Miss Iowa -Winner

Evening Gown Winner, Top 5, Top 10

Community Service Winner

Miss Nevada -Winner

Miss Arkansas - 1st Runner Up

Overall Onstage Question Winner

Interview Winner, Evening Gown Winner

Miss South Dakota - 1st Runner Up

Evening Gown & OSQ Winner, Quality of Life Winner

Miss Maryland - 2nd Runner Up

Talent Winner, Evening Gown Winner

Miss New York - 2nd Runner Up

Social Media Award, Quality of Life Award

Miss North Dakota - 2nd Runner Up

Overall Interview

Miss Texas - 2nd Runner Up

Miss Vermont - 2nd Runner Up

Miss Hawaii - 2nd Runner Up, 3rd Runner Up

4th Runner Up, Community Service Winner

Miss South Carolina - 4th Runner Up, Top 10

Overall Interview Winner, Talent Winner

Miss Tennessee - Top 10

Miss New Hampshire - Top 10

Miss Pennsylvania -Top 11

Miss Arizona - Top 10, Top 12

Miss Mississippi - Top 15, Quality of Life Finalist,

Alpha Evening Wear Award, Talent Award

Miss Oklahoma - State Finalist

Miss Kentucky - State Finalist

Miss Idaho - State Finalist

Miss North Carolina - State Finalist

Miss Indiana - State Finalist, STEM Winner

Miss West Virginia - State Finalist 

Miss Minnesota - State Finalist

Miss Michigan - State Finalist

Miss Connecticut - State Finalist

Miss Alaska - State Finalist

In addition to the Miss America system, other pageant systems with winners coached by S&T Consulting include:

Miss America’s Teen

USA National Miss

Miss USA

Miss Teen USA

Miss High School/Collegiate/Jr. High/Elementary America

International United Miss

Miss Volunteer America

Royal International Miss

National America Miss

Ideal Miss

Winners coached by S&T Consulting in all systems can be found here.

In addition to pageant contestants, S&T also coaches for sorority rush and personal development, including job interviewing.

Thomason Bryan comes from two families of Alabama leaders. Her father is Justice Tommy Bryan of the Alabama Supreme Court. Her mother is Pam Mizzell Bryan, daughter of Dr. Joe Bob Mizzell, a minister and retired governmental consultant of the Alabama State Baptist Convention.

S&T Consultants has this message for contenders and potential clients:

“She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.”

Proverbs 31:25

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at [email protected].

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.