2017 Mx.Westminster wins the crown with his outgoing personality

Nathaniel Woolley, the Residence Hall Association’s 2017 Mx. Westminster, stands among the competition’s other participants. Woolley said he knew he was going to win because he thought he did well during the opening dance and question portion of the pageant. Photo by Dariia Miroshnikova.

Nathaniel Woolley, the Residence Hall Association’s 2017 Mx. Westminster, stands among the competition’s other participants. Woolley said he knew he was going to win because he thought he did well during the opening dance and question portion of the pageant. Photo by Dariia Miroshnikova.

Twelve Westminster College students took the stage on Jan. 31 and competed in the Residence Hall Association's Mx. Westminster pageant to raise money for the Rape Recovery Center. Nathaniel Woolley, a first-year dance and theatre major at Westminster, took home the crown. 

Cambri Fox, a dance major at Westminster, has worked closely with Woolley through the dance program and said she wasn't surprised when she found out Woolley won.  

Nathaniel Woolley, a first-year dance and theatre major, shows off his sock puppet skills for the talent portion of the Residence Hall Association’s Mx. Westminster event on Jan. 31. “Apparently people like weird Phantom of the Opera sock puppet shows,” Woolley said. Photo by Dariia Miroshnikova.

Nathaniel Woolley, a first-year dance and theatre major, shows off his sock puppet skills for the talent portion of the Residence Hall Association’s Mx. Westminster event on Jan. 31. “Apparently people like weird Phantom of the Opera sock puppet shows,” Woolley said. Photo by Dariia Miroshnikova.

“He is a very talented individual and is so unique,” Fox said in an email. “I had a feeling he would at least be in the top three of winners.”  

Woolley has acted onstage since he was 11 years old. He said acting and dance have made him a more outgoing person, which was one of the reasons he said he chose to compete in this year’s Mx. Westminster—along with a desire to raise money for the Rape Recovery Center. 

“I really like being in front of crowds and audiences,” Woolley said. “I can go do ridiculous things in front of people and make them laugh.”   

The newly-crowned pageant winner sat down with The Forum to talk about his performance and life offstage.  

Q: What was your favorite thing about participating in Mx.Westminter?   

All the other people in it. They were really fun to talk to backstage. At first we didn’t talk too much, but by the end we couldn’t shut up.  

Q: Did you think you were going to win Mx. Westminster? 

Yes. I feel really ashamed, but yes. In the opening dance, everyone forgot the choreography and I made it look like a stripper. I over danced it [and] showed my booty to the audience a lot. I thought my question section went well; I played to the audience and judges. My talent was successful. Apparently people like weird Phantom of the Opera sock puppet shows.  

Q: Are you involved on campus?  

I go to all the events where there is free food because I like free food. I do actually like going to a lot of the sports games. I have never been a big sports person, but being here it’s so small that you know people on the team and you want to go support them.  

Q: What's your favorite thing about acting?  

It allows you to be empathic to other people, really think about what it is to be another person [or] grow up in different time period, different situation and different relationship.  

Q: Have you ever experienced stage fright?  

At first—when I was really young—I was shy in front of crowds. I liked being in plays, so I just got over it after being in so many shows. Only thing I still get stage fright about now is singing sometimes.  

Q: What do you think is unique about your acting and dancing?  

Movement feels very natural to my body. It is why I like movement pieces in theatre. I enjoy physical theatre. I think a lot of actors get caught up in face acting. I am kind of the opposite—very good at physically being a character and having their body language down. Also in really dramatic stuff I like to find the comedy and lightheartedness. There is almost never a situation in life where you aren't experiencing multiple emotions. You’re always experiencing three to five emotions, and I try and pick out what those are.  

Q: What are your post-graduation plans?  

I want to get involved in an organization or start one that is essentially an arts charity. It gets funding to go to communities that don't have access to the arts so much and gives them community-based classes. They find artists and it helps fund their art. [There's] great art and great potential out there that can't make it [to some communities] due to funding it. Maybe money should go to food [and] basic health care first, but then why not bring them a little joy? 

Q: Anything else you want people to know about you?  

I need a kitten co-parent immediately.