Two whirlwind months were capped for Nicole Pollard when Miss Indiana Audra Casterline was crowned June 21 in Zionsville.
The reason: Pollard, who served as Miss Indiana 2009 operates Next Level Pageantry, a consulting business for pageant contestants. She gives help with everything from tips on how to gracefully handle the interview portion of competition to how to walk across a stage confidently in a swimsuit. At the same time, she’s Verizon IndyCar Series driver Martin Plowman’s fiancée.
The two roles kept her busy during Spring 2014 as Plowman prepared for his first Indianapolis 500 in May while would-be pageant royals turned to Pollard for her expertise.
That meant that after the Indianapolis 500 Victory Banquet on May 26, when most of the IndyCar community was taking a breather, Pollard switched gears from racing to pageant preparations. She didn’t stop until pageant season was over.
Pollard and Plowman were in the audience for the Miss Indiana finals .
She learned about racing through her romance with the English driver and Plowman learned about pageants.
“I started dating Martin after I was crowned Miss Indiana but before I went on to Miss America so I was full-fledged in preparing. It was a weird way to invite (a person) into your life,” said Pollard. “One of my best friends, Rachel (Vogle, of Indianapolis) pulled him aside and said, ‘you need to understand how important this is to Nicole.’ She said, ‘it’s like if you could only compete in the Indy 500 once in your life.’”
That’s when Plowman seemed to really understand Pollard’s Miss America bid – she didn’t win but she placed in the top 15.
“He was very supportive once he grasped the concept of it being that one shot and you’re done,” Pollard said. “He flew out to Las Vegas to watch me compete. The first pageant he had ever gone to and he got to see the biggest pageant in the nation.”