CHARLESTON, W.Va. - If things seem a little brighter at the state Capitol these days, it may have nothing to do with the gold dome.
Three Miss West Virginias have been working at the statehouse since the regular legislative session convened several weeks ago.
One is a member of the House of Delegates, and two are lobbyists.
Delegate Tiffany Lawrence, D-Jefferson; Talia Markham Will with the West Virginia Oil Marketers and Grocers Association; and Summer Wyatt, West Virginia state director of the Humane Society of the United States, don't let their crowns outshine their workplace.
"You can dream within that organization, and it gives you scholarship dollars to continue those dreams. The organization as a whole really instills that you dream above and beyond. And you are capable of doing anything you set your mind to."
The Miss West Virginia pageants that the three won were preliminaries to the Miss America competition, which provides college scholarships for all state winners.
All three women were able to attend college with the scholarship money. The pageant aims to promote scholarship, style, success and service.
The latter has rung true for all three women, who continue to give back to their state.
"Of the four points of the crown, one is service. And I think that's a precursor to all of our careers; that service aspect comes to fruition in everything we do," said Lawrence, 30.
"I serve on the Health and Human Resources Committee as a legislator, and my platform in Miss West Virginia dealt with self-esteem and mental health issues. I think you can tie everything back to where we started."
Wyatt, 27, from Mercer County and currently lives in Martinsburg, said her pageant platform was animal rights and animal welfare.
"We all want more for ourselves and our state. We want to give back in some shape or form - whether through our platforms or another issue going on throughout the state," she said. "I don't know what I would've done if I hadn't competed."
None of the three was raised to be a beauty queen.
"We weren't brought up or trained to be pageant girls. I think that's a huge misunderstanding," said Wyatt, who is from Mercer County.
"We're just everyday girls, whether we wanted scholarship dollars to proceed and reach our goals with education or whether we loved to sing and dance on stage or something else about the pageant that draws us in.