Thursday, April 26, 2007

Nevermind... :(

Well, I thought I'd be co-hosting Toledo's Andrew Z Morning Show tomorrow, but as it turns out they asked a few area women and someone else responded sooner. I was really looking forward to it and I'm disappointed, but I guess now at least I don't have to wake up at 5 A.M...

Also, I apologize for the lack of posting, I’ve had a stressful few days and it won’t be over until Saturday night. This year I’ve coached and judged BGSU’s Forensics team, but what I don’t think I’ve mentioned here is that I’ve also co-chaired the establishment of a Forensics Alumni Chapter. Saturday we’re hosting what was supposed to be our first annual Alumni Banquet. Unfortunately alumni response was low, so it’s more of an End-of-the-Year event for students and their parents. All was going well until yesterday morning when my caterer cancelled!!!

I owe so much thanks to Loren, who calmed me down as I was hysterical on the phone with him, and even helped find a replacement. But later, as I worked to nail things down with my co-chair, she informed me that we would barely break even, and maybe go into the red. While it wasn’t our main focus, we had assumed the event would render us a profit to become a functional organization. Against every rational bone in my body I was talked into making the food ourselves in order to make a profit!!!

Granted, it’s only for 40 people… and the plan is to do a simple pasta dish with chicken, mixed vegetables, salad and bread. I’M FREAKING OUT!!! Fortunately desserts and beverage are already taken care of, but still! If anyone has any advice, email me!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Miss Ohio Line-up!

There's no word yet as to whether my music-theme prediction is correct (fyi, that's a joke. Insert laugh HERE). But, here are the contestant flights and numbers, as selected in a lottery today during the Miss Ohio Spring Forum:

Catan Fashions Flight
Tuesday: Talent, Wednesday: Swimsuit, Thursday: EW Gown and Onstage Question

1: Jessica Barrett, Miss West Central Ohio, vocal
2: Allie Krucek, Miss Clayland, dance
3: Rachel Maris, Miss Buckeye State, vocal
4: Emily Cousino, Miss Mansfield, vocal
5: Alyssa Hanson, Miss Heart of Ohio, vocal
6: Kristen Haas, Miss Maumee Valley, dance
7: Roberta Camp, Miss Maple City, vocal

Newman Technology Flight
Tuesday: Evening Gown and Onstage Question, Wednesday: Talent, Thursday: Swimsuit

8: Becky Minger, Miss Northwestern Ohio, vocal
9: Erica Gelhaus, Miss Lake Festival, opera
10: Sophia Davis, Miss Miami Valley, dance
11: Karissa Martin, Miss Scioto Valley, vocal
12: Heather Lindsay, Miss Hamilton, vocal
13: Christie Youssef, Miss Portsmouth, harp
14: Kasey Wilson, Miss Central, opera

Constance Care Home Healthcare flight
Tuesday: Swimsuit, Wednesday: Evening Gown and Onstage Question, Thursday: Talent

15: Allison West, Miss Ohio Valley, dance
16: Elyse Healy, Miss Greater Cleveland, vocal
17: Jillian Dansko, Miss Greater Dayton, dance
18: Lauren Hogan, Miss All American City, vocal
19: Andrea Andryscik, Miss North Coast, vocal
20: Lauren Shatlock, Miss Stark County, vocal
21: Nancianne Strosnider, Miss Lake Erie, vocal

All Private Interviews will be on Friday.

Check out the contestant's blogs, listed on the sidebar, for photos from the forum.

Back to our Regularly Scheduled Programming…

Today the Miss Ohio contestants are in Mansfield attending Spring Forum… by my third year of competing, I found it a “necessary evil.” Though attempts are made to make the day enjoyable, it is undeniably long and boring. New contestants will be inundated with more information than they can digest and returning contestants will count the ceiling tiles. Seriously though, by the end of the day they’ll know this year’s theme (something to do with music, I’m sure), what clothing they need for production numbers and most interestingly, their contestant number and flight.

Below are photos from the Sweetheart pageant. [From Facebook]

And for everyone who likes to go “Awww…” here are photos of Amanda Race DeHart’s new baby boy, Brody. Amanda competed at Miss Ohio as Miss Chillicothe and Miss Portsmouth; she was my roommate at Miss Ohio one of those years. She and her family are great and I wish her all the best with her new baby. [Photos copied from Facebook.]

More about the Sweetheart Pageant coming soon...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Today, we are all Hokies

The tragedies that transpired on the campus of Virginia Tech Monday morning are horrifying and my sincere condolences go out to the students, faculty, family and friends.

I found myself at home feeling under-the-weather Monday morning and I stumbled upon the news coverage quite by accident. Much like September 11th and the coverage of the “official” start of the Iraqi war, I found myself fixed on CNN. Today I spent the entire day continuing to watch the news coverage from a hospital waiting room while a member of Loren’s family underwent a heart procedure.

Given the heartbreaking events in Virginia and the unfamiliar environment I found myself in today, I’m feeling simultaneously low and aware of how petty so much of our daily lives are.

Under these circumstances my continuing coverage of the Sweetheart pageant will be a few days postponed. Further, I have to say that I am disappointed by the discourse of pageant fans on the anonymous Miss Ohio message board (which I have mentioned here before). Despite the Virginia Tech tragedies, the moderator had to be a babysitter, reminding posters to “play nice.” Unbelievable!

I have mentored and coached college students in a variety of ways for several years now. Might I remind everyone that most pageant women are students and EVERY student needs added support right now. I’ve been done with school for nearly a year and I am notably rattled; I can’t begin to imagine how it is affecting current students.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Congratulations to the New Miss Buckeye State, Rachel Maris and the New Miss Heart of Ohio, Alyssa Hanson!

I just returned home from Ohio’s Sweetheart pageant and I am TIRED!!! Here are a few photos and the results… more will come soon…

[Above left to right: 2nd RU Jamie Kinton, Miss Heart of Ohio Alyssa Hanson, Miss Buckeye State Rachel Maris and 1st RU Alyssa Speicher; below left to right: Miss Heart of Ohio Alyssa Hanson, Miss Ohio 2006 Melanie Murphy, Miss Ohio 2005 Marlia Fontaine and Miss Buckeye State Rachel Maris.]

Miss Buckeye State: Rachel Maris [being crowned above left]
Miss Heart of Ohio: Alyssa Hanson [being crowned above right]

1st Runner-up: Alyssa Speicher
2nd Runner-up: Jamie Kinton

Contestant order:
#1. absent
#2. Brandi Herceg
#3. Krystle Formosa
#4. Heather Wells
#5. Alyssa Speicher
#6. absent
#7. Jamie Kinton
#8. Janelle Zindroski
#9. Katie Camp
#10. Jacqueline Adams
#11. Rachel Maris
#12. Ashley Hartman
#13. Alyssa Hanson
#14. Megan Wombacher
#15. Amanda Cupl
#16. Amy Allen

Best of Luck to the Sweetheart Pageant!

This afternoon in Medina the last two titleholders of the 06/07 Miss Ohio preliminary season will be crowned! The lovely Miss Buckeye State 2006, Allie Krucek [left], will crown both a new Miss Buckeye State and Miss Heart of it All. Allie, a dancer attending the University of Toledo, was named Second Runner-up at Miss Ohio; she will be pursuing the state crown for a third time this June as Miss Clayland. CLICK HERE to learn more about what a Sweetheart Pageant is and who is eligible.

The pageant will take place at 5 p.m.
CLICK HERE for more information.

An official contestant list has not been released and although twenty contestants could have participated I do not believe that many applied. As usual, fans have enjoyed speculating who will be competing, and of course, who will win these two crowns. I can say for certain that some of the names swirling about will not be in the pageant; but for the most part the speculation is correct, and I feel confident publishing that the following women are competing:

Amy Allen
Katie Camp
Alyssa Hanson
Ashley Hartman
Brandy Herceg
Ali Speicher
Megan Wombacker

Despite the annoyance that my spring flowers are snow covered, I plan on attending the pageant… I believe it will work out quite nicely, by the time I defrost from being outside all morning for the MS Walk it will be time to leave for Medina… Although it is 3 a.m. and I can’t sleep; I have to be at the walk by 7:30 a.m. so I’m going to be really tired at the pageant and I hope the talent competition is good and keeps me awake!!!

Best of luck to all the contestants! Results and photos will be posted upon my return tonight.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Support the MS Society

As I’ve said before, my job with FOX Toledo is a lot like a pageant title, minus the heavy sparkly head gear! For example, I get to emcee and participate in lots of community service events; I’ve worked with many organizations including the American Diabetes Association, the Boys and Girls Club of Toledo and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

This Sunday I’ll kick off Toledo’s MS Walk; Loren and I and the dogs are also walking with FOX Toledo’s team “the FOX Trotters.”


Sunday, April 8, 2007

Miss Universe Nostalgia… and addiction…

I know some find my attention to this blog a bit obsessive, but it’s really not in comparison to some pageant fans! Check out this YouTube video, which clearly took a great deal of time, created by a Miss Universe fan. The beginning is a compellation of former Miss Universe’s; I personally love looking a “pageant style” through the years.

A new Miss Universe will be crowned in Mexico City on May 28.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Below is a “Breaking News” entry about Miss Stark County, Laura Estrada relinquishing her crown to First Runner-up Lauren Shatlock. Knowing Laura, I automatically assumed that the scheduling conflict which is preventing her from competing at Miss Ohio likely had something to do with her pursuit of a degree and career in classical vocal performance. Indeed that is the case. This morning she posted a “Statement of Miss Stark County Resignation” on the college networking site Facebook. It is with Laura’s permission that I am sharing the further details of the situation.

Laura has been accepted into the prestigious College Light Opera in Falmouth Massachusetts. Laura writes,

"When I applied for the opera company, I was led to believe that the summer program did not begin until June 25th…Therefore, I was under the impression that I would have at least a week between the last day of the Miss Ohio competition and my first day with the company.”

However, upon receiving her contract, Laura realized the arrival date was June 11th to begin rehearsals. Miss Ohio competition is from June 12th to the 16th. Laura was not granted an extension; if she did not sign the contract and arrive on time her position would quickly be filled by someone else. To be precise, she will be one of only seven sopranos in the company; around one hundred auditioned. Laura writes,

“I already knew that College Light Opera Company is the best of its kind, and that I was not only lucky to have been accepted, I might never have the opportunity to be part of that program again. The company is well known for producing talented singers who become very successful after participating in the program and that the program exposes its singers to important people who can further their careers. After careful consideration and discussion with my parents, voice teachers, and college advisors, I came to the conclusion that resigning my pageant title and accepting the position at College Light Opera would be the best for me. It was one of the most difficult and painful decisions I have ever had to make and I am still devastated that I was forced to make that decision.

Over the years, I have devoted much of my time and energy into the pageant system, and it is something that has become a huge part of my life. I have always loved being a part of the system and it has made me so happy and helped me improve in so many ways… I am heartbroken… I have been working so hard since I was crowned this year to make sure that this summer would really be special. Just the day before I was told I could not do both the pageant and the opera program, I had even had new photos taken of me in my crown to be used in the Miss Ohio Program.”

Speaking of the crown and such, Laura says she will be returning it. Sometimes in these situations the details of who gets to keep prizes and scholarships can become complicated, but Laura writes,

“I have given back the $1000 scholarship. I could not consciously keep the money when I know that another girl needs it just as much as I do, and since she will be competing at the state competition in my place and has little time to prepare, she deserves it more than I do.”

I felt compelled to share these specifics with my readers, as I very much sympathize with Laura. The facts are that the best opportunities for college students pursuing careers in music and theatre are through summer stock theatre programs. A large majority of women competing in pageants aspire to these careers, but are unfortunately forced to choose- state pageant or summer stock?

I never participated in summer stock theatre (specifically BG’s Huron Playhouse) because I competed at Miss Ohio five times. Like Laura, I was told there's no way anyone can arrive late; it hurts the production and the company. In retrospect, I did not prioritize correctly and if I had it to do again I would have sacrificed a year of pageantry for my career, or tried harder to find a program which starts later in the summer (although, I really don’t think they exist!). I don’t mean to sound unappreciative of the pageant titles I held or the scholarships I earned, but the reality is, I “put all my eggs in the Miss Ohio basket,” telling myself that being Miss Ohio could help my career as much as a summer stock theatre program, but I only made the Top 10 one of those five years!

Some pageant fans tend to criticize young women when they stop competing, or in Laura’s case, give up a title, but while a title is an honor and an opportunity, those fans need to realize that for some women it’s also a sacrifice… it’s a gamble! I guess it’s no wonder I kept trying to be Miss Ohio despite previous defeat, I’m a gambler, I love to play poker too!

As for Laura, I told her “I think you're doing the right thing; pageants can be a fluke, but there’s no denying you have a beautiful voice.” Best of luck to her, and I hope everyone will understand this as the bittersweet situation it is and support her. Again, congratulations to Lauren Shatlock, the new Miss Stark County.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Breaking Miss Ohio News: Congratulations to Lauren Shatlock, the New Miss Stark County

According to Miss Ohio News Laura Estrada has relinquished her crown due to scheduling conflicts. Her First Runner-up Lauren Shatlock [left] is the new Miss Stark County.

Originally from Mansfield, Lauren is a vocalist working towards a degree in Musical Theatre in Washington D.C. at The Catholic University of America. For her platform she advocates Early Literacy.

Visit the
Miss Stark County website to learn more about Lauren’s accomplishments.

This is Lauren’s second Miss Ohio local title; she was Miss Heart of it All 2005. Last year she competed in the Miss D.C. pageant where contestants must qualify at a pre-pageant, but there are no local pageants or titles.

[Above: Lauren and Miss Ohio, Melanie Murphy, after giving up their titles at last year’s Sweetheart Pageant.]

Congratulations Hannah Ford, the New Van Wert Peony Queen Jubilee XXXII!

I am very excited to report that Hannah Ford, a lovely young lady from my high school and my parent’s church, won a local pageant on Friday night.

The Van Wert Peony Pageant is held annually for senior women attend Van Wert County high schools. Contestants compete in Interview, Evening Gown and Talent; scholarships are awarded, but the winner does not “go on” to anything… just the local festival later in the summer.

Excitingly, Hannah is the first woman representing Parkway High School to win the title. Back in 2000 this was my very first pageant! I won Talent, Interview, the online poll and was named First Runner-up… suspiciously, the winner was from Van Wert! So Hannah’s win one small step for her pageant career and one giant leap for all Parkway women. :)

Queen Jubilee Pageant- Ford named Queen Jubilee XXXII
By Cindy Wood, Times Bulletin Editor
March 31, 2007

She loves music, and hopes to be a music producer one day. She plays the piano, the saxophone, and is a born leader - serving as president of her school's National Honor Society.She's in the art club, the book club, the drama club and the band. A blonde-haired beauty, she is Queen Jubilee XXXII, Miss Hannah Ford, a senior at Parkway High School...

Ford stood out during each segment of the pageant, and her piano performance of "Maple Leaf Rag" by Scott Joplin earned Ford the talent award as well. "I actually played that song for solo and ensemble contest back in February, so I've been practicing and playing it for a long time," Ford said. Being named Queen Jubilee is a big honor for Ford, and especially for Parkway High School."I am in awe right now," Ford said. "Parkway has never won queen before, so this is a first for us. It feels great."

Ford was strong in her opinion on prejudice during the interview portion of the pageant, and said people need to know what other people are like on the inside, and get to know the real person before drawing any conclusions. "People tend to judge other people before they even know them, and they don't give them a second chance," Ford said...

At Parkway, Ford participates in Student Council, FCA, track, golf and is active in her church youth group. Her hobbies include dancing and playing the piano, golfing and spending time with her friends. Ford's future plans include attending the University of Cincinnati to study electronic media...

The best part about the whole thing? "Meeting all the girls," Ford said. "I went into this knowing nothing about what was going to happen. All of the girls got along so great and we've all become very good friends."

CLICK HERE for the entire article.

The Van Wert Independent and Parkway Independent also covered the pageant.

CLICK HERE for the Peony Festival website which includes contestant headshots and HERE for pageant pictures.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Watch Miss USA, Rachel Smith, on Oprah Today!

Rachel Smith, a student at Belmont University in Tennessee and the new Miss USA, was one of a hundred or two interns working in the mail room at the Oprah Winfrey Show. While most women are living in the gym and tanning bed the weeks prior to a national pageant, Rachel instead took the opportunity to go to South Africa to Oprah’s new Leadership Academy for Girls. Admittedly, prior to winning Miss USA she had never actually met Oprah, but talking about her experience at the Leadership Academy during her onstage question at Miss USA solidified that she was the audience, and my favorite to win the crown!

Being that Oprah airs in the morning in Chicago, I'm surprised it's not on YouTube yet... but I believe most of the Buckeye State can catch it this afternoon.

[Creater of the above graphic unknown.]

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Pageant Press: Dayton woman wins crown

Dayton woman wins crown
By Lauren Pack, The Oxford Press Staff Writer
Sunday, April 01, 2007

A 19-year-old Sinclair Community College student with a powerful voice who wants to make a difference in the lives of children was crowned the second Miss Hamilton Saturday night...

CLICK HERE for the entire article.