Anna Kettlewell was the Wisconsin Honey Queen during the 1999-2000 season and the National Honey Queen from 2000 to 2001. She is from Greenfield, Wisconsin, a suburban neighborhood of Milwaukee. Her grandparents were commercial beekeepers who had a tremendous impact on her life. Bees had always been around (with about 50 hives maintained by her and her family near their home) and ever since she became aware of the program, she wanted to be a Honey Queen. Her grandmother was chair of the National Honey Queen program and helped start the Honey Queen program in Wisconsin.
Kettlewell was a senior public administration major at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay when she took a semester off to become the National Honey Queen. After achieving this title, Kettlewell traveled from Florida to Colorado to Tennessee, and many places in between. She stopped in urban as well as rural areas with a visit to Baltimore for a Department of Agriculture open house. “We were spokespeople for the industry,” Ms. Kettlewell explained, “we would visit with school groups and go to fairs. It was quite fun.”
Wherever Ms. Kettlewell went, attention was sure to follow. She was interviewed by numerous newspapers, reporters, and radio hosts. She had gotten the training for it, too. Publicity was one of the reasons for the program since the beginning. Media outlets would be quick to interview a young, attractive woman with a curious occupation. With a small budget to pay for travel, honey queens could generate significant value in the form of newspaper articles and airtime.
Not only did the media fancy Ms. Kettlewell, but so did the general public. Honey queens need to always be at the top of their game when participating in the competitions at the different state fairs. “You always had to be on your toes,” described Ms. Kettlewell, “because they didn’t revealed the identity of the judges until the final interview. At the fair, anyone could be a judge so you always had to smile and be polite.”
Ms. Kettlewell described herself as initially a shy person. However, through the Honey Queen Program: the large amount of necessary interpersonal communication and always being on display, she was able to find her voice and develop her public speaking skills.
Ms. Kettlewell appreciated her time as a Honey Queen and was so invested in it that she remained involved with the program and is now the chairperson of the National Honey Queen Program.