Meet the Royal Court!

The Derby Festival Royal Court is a long-standing tradition with the Kentucky Derby Festival and The Fillies, Inc.

Chosen from over one hundred applicants, these five young women represent represent The Fillies®, the Kentucky Derby Festival, the City of Louisville, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky as official ambassadors for the springtime tradition of the Festival.

Meet the 2020-2021 Royal Court!

Gia is a senior at the University of Louisville majoring in Psychology with a minor in Pan-African Studies. She is the Vice President of the Caring Of New students Experiencing College Transition (CONECT) Peer Mentoring Program, and a Woodford R. Porter Scholar, and a Denny Crum Scholar. She is a member and the Secretary of the Beta Epsilon Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

Hannah is an Honors graduate of Northern Kentucky University and currently a graduate student at UK working on her Masters in Education and Policy. She was the 2018-2019 Student Body President, has served as a Henry Clay Scholar on Capitol Hill, served as the NKU Inaugural Presidential Fellow, a Paul Sipes Award winner, and the received the Outstanding Senior Award in Communications. Hannah is a first-generation college student, member of Kappa Delta Sorority, a Teach for America Corp Member, and supports her personal initiative “Read Ready Kentucky”.  She is currently teaching 6th grade Social Studies at Holmes Middle School in Northern Kentucky.

Leah is a junior at the University of Louisville dual majoring in Political Science and Liberal Studies with concentrations in Race & Gender Studies, Global Public Health, and Economics. She is a McConnell Scholar, a Harvard Kennedy Public Policy Leadership Scholar, the College of Arts and Sciences Vice President, a member of Chi Omega Sorority, is a “children’s advocate” for the Center for Women and Families, and was featured on the July 2020 cover of Today’s Woman for her advocacy of young black women.

Molly is a graduate of Bellarmine University and the Department of Communications Faculty Merit Award winner. Before completing her journalism internship abroad in Shanghai, China, she was a public affairs intern for the Kentucky Association of Counties. Molly is also a Bellarmine University Women’s Council Scholar, member of Phi Mu Sorority, former WHAS11 News intern, active volunteer at the Kentucky Refugee Ministries (KRM), and currently an on-air reporter for WMAZ.

Hannah is a senior at Bellarmine University studying Business Administration and Marketing. She is a first-generation college student and business woman. She is a 2020 Bell Award recipient, a Bellarmine Professional Excellence Award recipient, and helped to raise over 6,000 toys from the Miss Toys for Tots Pageant as Pageant Director.




1957 – Jackie Love
1958 – Pat Travis
1959 – Martha Layne Hall (future Governor Collins)
1960 – Lillian Campbell
1961 – Dillard Marr
1962 – Jane Helm
1963 – Judy Roach
1964 – Trudie Musson
1965 – Jennifer Burcham
1966 – Lynne Girdler
1967 – Julie Short
1968 – Lynn Morris Haymond
1969 – Melinda Milliken
1970 – Starr Sprigg
1971 – Jennifer Lynn Storm
1972 – Gail Gorski
1973 – Julie Williams
1974 – Marion R. McCord
1975 – Annette Grundy
1976 – Kathy Carpenter
1977 – Robin Marie Clore
1978 – Elizabeth Page Penna
1979 – Ronda Marie Hartlage
1980 – Holly Wright
1981 – Gwen Francis Hettinger
1982 – Mia Todd
1983 – Lala Michele Thomas
1984 – Jessica Elizabeth Thomas
1985 – Peggy Barton
1986 – Kristen Zapata
1987  – Jennifer Lynn Stratton
1988 – Christina Lynn Levy
1989 – Margaret McGaw
1990 – Heather Marie Peet
1991 – Kristi Wright
1992 – Michelle Gaines
1993 – Preethi Anathakrishnan
1994 – Melissa Purvis
1995 – Tara Lutz
1996 – Charliese Brown
1997 – Leslie Ann Corbett
1998 – Natalie Ann Hallal
1999 – Michelle Elaine Ackerman
2000 – Kerri Richardson
2001 – Anne Marie Abell
2002 – Caryn Rae Willian
2003 – Rebecca DeSensi
2004 – Maria Maldonado
2005 – Brittany Diane Carpenter
2006 – Patti Jo Grice
2007 – Charlee Doom
2008 – Taléa Renee Drummer
2009 – Harini Chenna
2010 – Megan Imel
2011 – Trisha Maclin
2012 – Kaelyn Gault
2013 – Cameryn Jones
2014 – Julia Springate
2015 – Briana Lathon
2016 – Madison Orman
2017 – Natalie Brown
2018 – Tara Dunaway
2019 – Brittany Patillo
2020-2021 – Giavanna Combs