Thursday, February 28, 2008

... I can't think of a title, but it's a good one!

I am currently using free wi-fi at a McDonald’s in northern Michigan! I love technology… and I don’t care how old I get or how healthy I try to eat, the Golden Arches will always be my favorite fast food stop!

Anyway, I drove four hours north last night for a presentation this morning with my job as a contract speaker for a company that presents motivational assemblies about college and career success to high schoolers.

After a month on the job, with nearly twenty presentations under my belt, I have noticed an alarming trend in the high schools I visit. I know, I know… my job is speaking to high school students, so I encounter many alarming things, but one in particular is relevant on this blog.

I ask for volunteers several times during the presentations and troublingly, the female students are much less responsive! It’s not merely that the male students are more eager because they’re horny teenage boys; very few ladies even raise their hands! After some prodding I can usually get a few to step up but it’s very upsetting to me that the female teens are not outgoing and immediately willing to participate.

Before I began this morning I spotted a vibrant young woman who was energetically holding the attention of everyone around her. I went directly to her, smothered her with complements and then explained how chicas at all my other schools totally let me down when I ask for volunteers, but obviously she’d step up, right? Two young men behind us piped up, “We’ll do it!” They didn’t even know what we were talking about; the outgoing female teen completely changed her tune… shyly saying, “maybe if other people do it with me.” I couldn’t believe it! I said, “you don’t need anyone else; look at you- you’re an independent woman!” “No I’m not,” she said.

I don’t get it. The only exception I have found to this disconcerting phenomenon was last week at a vocation school; the women there were much more willing than the men.

I’ve always heard the statistics that men get a better education, especially in areas like math and science, but I’ve never before paid attention to this fact, or seen such evidence of it. Not all the female students I speak to can be that shy; I’m clearly witnessing a lack of confidence.

As I think back on my own high school career, I asked myself, would I have volunteered? No. I probably wouldn’t have. I was shy as a child, and though I became an outspoken, obnoxious teen about some things, overall I had very little confidence and I hated high school. I can recall two specific examples- once in OMEA District Choir and again in Ohio’s All-State Choir in which I didn’t even audition for the solos. It’s always bothered me; looking back I know I had the talent, I had to audition to get into the choirs, but I just didn’t have the confidence to even try for the solos! I doubted my abilities and feared I’d embarrass myself by auditioning.

I know we all struggle with confidence in whatever we do, thus I am so grateful that my dreams as a performer have forced me to face, and continue to overcome my fears. I realize high school is a difficult time and these women have a lot of growing ahead of them, but I still worry for them; it’s hard for me to image what might instill more self-assurance in these women if they do not share performance or pageant goals.

Returning to the core of the problem- why is this dramatic difference in the confidence of men and women still happening? I mean, it’s not the 1950s anymore; women are no longer offered only Home Ec and Typing! I can’t think of a specific example in any phase of my education in which I felt I was discriminated against for my gender, yet it’s clear something is happening, or not happening to cause this divide.

This issue is troubling, but it has reaffirmed my beliefs in what pageants can do for a young woman. The next time I hear someone question the relevance or positive effect of Miss America, I’ll be quick to ask them if they’ve spoken to the typical high school junior or senior lately. At least a pageant women will step up and speak up!

Today on Dr. Phil: Still Chasing the Crown

Below is the synopsis from the Dr. Phil show website.
Also, check out the website for a message board about the episode; responses from the promos are already pretty negative!

Little girls often dream of becoming Miss America, but sometimes these dreams don't end when they become adults. Dr. Phil's guests are mothers and wives who have an insatiable taste for the tiara. Angela has competed in five pageants and doesn't want to stop until she wins the big one. Her husband is sick and tired of the biz and says his wife is so obsessed with it, she wouldn't even let signs of a heart attack stop her from taking the stage! Angela says she only competes to support her charity, but her husband is not convinced. Then, Karen is a mother and wife who admits she is obsessed with winning and has competed in over 20 pageants. She's even skipped making two mortgage payments so she would have money for a pageant gown. And, Christi appeared on Dr. Phil a few years ago and was determined to become famous as an actress. She has now turned her acting dream into pageant pursuits. Christi is eight months pregnant with her seventh child, and her husband wants to know if he's being selfish by asking her to hang up her pageant heels to focus on the family. Plus, other queens get a chance to ask Dr. Phil their questions.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pageant Press Release: New Teen Title for Southern Ohio

For Immediate Release

New Teen Title for Southern Ohio

The Miss Portsmouth and Miss Scioto Valley Scholarship Program is pleased to announce an addition to our current program. Miss Southern Ohio Outstanding Teen and Wee Miss Southern Ohio, Tiny Miss Southern Ohio, Little Miss Southern Ohio and Junior Miss Southern Ohio. The Miss Southern Ohio Outstanding Teen Program is the little sister program to Miss Portsmouth and Miss Scioto Valley and an addition to Miss Portsmouth Outstanding Teen and Miss Scioto Valley Outstanding Teen.

The Miss Southern Ohio Outstanding Teen Program will be Saturday April 12, 2008 at South Gallia High School. The Program will start at 7:00PM with tickets $7.00 at the door. South Gallia High School was chosen to allow more young women in Southern Ohio to compete and it is the home school of our current Miss Ohio Outstanding Teen, Ashley Miller. This program is open to young women in Ohio ages 13 thru 17. The winner of the Miss Southern Ohio Outstanding Teen title will go on to compete in June for the title of Miss Ohio Outstanding Teen 2008. The entry fee for Miss Southern Ohio Outstanding Teen will be $150.00 and the Junior Programs will be $50.00. The junior programs are for ages 0-12 and forms can be obtained by going to or by contacting Executive Director, Greg Davis at or (740) 981-2948. Deadline for applications and checks will be Saturday April 5, 2008.

Roger G. Sessor Jr
Director of Media and Public Relations
Miss Portsmouth and Miss Scioto Valley
Scholarship Program
PO Box 299
South Webster, Ohio 45682
(740) 357-2389
(888) 218-7846 Fax

Monday, February 25, 2008

Bel Duetto Cabaret Dinner

Former Miss Ohio, Amanda Beagle and husband Craig Raymaley present a cabaret dinner March 8th. Mark your calendars and buy your tickets! Also, click here (then click on the video icon) for a beautiful and well produced video of Craig and Amanda performing live, spliced with a charming interview with them... Craig will crack you up!

DATE: Saturday, March 8
TIME: Doors Open at 6:30 PM
LOCATION: Leo's Ristorante 7042 East Market Street
Warren Ohio

TICKETS: $30 includes dinner and cabaret show


Beautiful music, delicious food, and a great time are all coming soon to Howland! Amanda Beagle and Craig Raymaley are bringing their duet act, Bel Duetto, to Leo's Ristorante for a one-night only cabaret performance.

Join these two newlyweds as they take a lighthearted musical look at love, romance, passion....joint checking accounts, bills, and a spirited discussion about who gets to do the dishes.
It's love...Bel Duetto style!

Come to Leo's Ristorante for the finest in authentic Italian food, drink some wine and enjoy an evening of great entertainment.

Dinner Menu

Chicken Saltimboca in a wine sauce
with garlic mashed potato & sauteed spinach
(Boneless skinless chicken breast
with fontina cheese & prosciutto)

Penne Ziti Pasta



Cash Bar Available


Amanda Beagle, soprano
Craig Raymaley, tenor
with Jack Ciarniello, pianist

Special guest appearance by Howland High School's pop a cappella group, Another Way.


Leo's Ristorante
Bel Duetto's website
Buy Bel Duetto's CD
Watch Bel Duetto Live

Pageant Press: Gessner named Ohio’s Junior Miss

Gessner named Ohio’s Junior Miss

Click on the link above to read the article and check out a photo gallery and videos.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Red Carpet Style: 2008 Academy Awards

It’s no longer about sweetheart necklines and 50 pounds of beading! I *hope* pageant trends follow the suggestions of Miss America Reality Check and competitive evening gowns start to look more like what is seen on Hollywood red carpets.

As I watch the Oscars tonight, I’m seeing the following trends:

Ravishing Red
Black and other dark colors
Strapless or One-shoulder
Grecian drapery, flowers and feathers

Presenters Ann Hathaway and Miley Ray Cyrus.

Presenters Katherine Heigl and Helen Mirren.

The red gown worn by Heidi Klum on the right is part of the Red Dress Program. CLICK HERE to enter to win it; for each entry Diet Coke will give $1 to women's heart health awareness.

Presenter Jennifer Garner and nominee Ellen Page.

Nominee Laura Linney and presenter Penélope Cruz.

Winner Tilda Swinton and nominee and presenter Amy Adams .

Presenter Hilary Swank.

A few pale gowns were seen, but there wasn't much color. Note, the silver, white and pink gowns below are all strapless.

Presenters Cameron Diaz and Kari Russell.

Keisha Whitaker and presenter Renée Zellweger.

Though this may compromise your chances for the crown, purple and pregnant also seems to be a trend!

Nominee and presenter Cate Blanchett
and presenter Jessica Alba.

All photos from

Ohio's Junior Miss Results!

Ohio’s Junior Miss: Lauren Gessner of Mahoning County

1st Runner-up: Kelsey Ballew of Ross County
(she was Miss Ohio’s Outstanding Teen in 2006)

2nd runner-up: Diana Wieser of Allen County

Remianing finalists: Kendra Sherbourne of Morrow County and Megan Howard of Licking County

Interview Awards: Lauren Gessner and Kelsey Ballew
Fitness Awards: Lauren Gessner and Kendra Sherbourne
Talent Awards: Diana Wieser (pianist)
and Kendra Sherbourne (dancer)
Scholastic Awards: Brielle Stark, Diana Wieser and Lauren Gessner

Huge thanks to Miss Ohio Roberta Camp, who entertained at the event, for sending me these results! She included that it was the 50th anniversary of the America’s Junior Miss program and 35th year Ohio’s pageant has been held in Mt. Vernon.

OJM bestows preliminary awards

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Roberta Update!

My latest sidebar polls have indicated that the vast majority of my readers are current and former contestants who are most interested in Miss Ohio. With that in mind, here’s the latest on our reigning Miss Ohio…

Last night Roberta entertained at Ohio’s Junior Miss pageant in Mt. Vernon. This morning she took part in “Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Kids Sake” in Mansfield, and then hopped back in a car that the past five Miss Ohio’s have driven to get back to the Junior Miss Finals!

* To see photos of Roberta’s appearances, including her participation of the recent National Pancake Day, check out her online album:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ohio's Outstanding Teen News!

I'm excited to announce that the Miss Ohio's Outstanding Teen program has launched a new website! Thank you Roger Sessor of the Miss Portsmouth organization for sharing this with me. It's still under construction, but certainly a positive step.

Also, a Teen Princess division competition will be held this summer in conjuction with Miss Ohio.

Click to enlarge the flyer on the left for more information.

I'm not sure, but I believe Ohio's Princess division is simply a teen pageant that does not include talent- don't quote me though, I'm not positive! I've also received emails from the national organization about their princess program designed to "mentor" 6 to 12 year old girls.

Sorry, but I'm not publishing the national information here because the promotional picture and concept nauseates me!

With the tag line “Ever dream of being a princess?” and benefits including, “Laugh, giggle and have fun during a PJ party and fashion show” I simply can’t support this money-making venture. It was presented my last year as a contestant, and while I smiled and listened like a good titleholder, I didn’t like it then either.

My issue is this- I can not tolerate gender roles or social norms; I believe anyone can be and do anything. While personal experience has taught me that pageants can spark valuable growth in most Miss and some Teen contestants, it is my opinion that young girls only learn that dresses are pretty and crowns are important. I know many of you will disagree, but I can not stand the gender stereotypes and shallow principles that little girls learn when they compete in pageants.

I understand the national Princess Program is not a competition, and thus, I think it’s almost worse! At my last spring forum as a Miss Ohio contestant, I believe it was explained that parents of these little girls would pay a registration fee and have to buy a required white dress and accessories… perhaps the crown was included, I don’t remember. In the end the little girls are included onstage at the state and now the national pageant; this translates into ticket sales for the organization. I have to give them credit for trying something new to make money, but these little girls aren’t even learning competitive show-women-ship, they’re just being taught that it’s important to look pretty!

Even the term “Princess” gets under my skin! Although she wears a crown, Miss America is NOT a queen. Last year my holiday gift to my five year old niece was story books from a feminist bookstore, in which the protagonist princess beat-up the dragon. When she saved the prince he told her she looked a mess and to come back when she’d cleaned her clothes… so she said “forget you!” So I realize that being a princess can be presented in an empowering way, but I’m not convinced that’s what this program will successfully do.

I digress.

If you want information about this program, I’m sure it’s on the MAO Teen or Miss America website. Find it yourself!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Miss Ohio Might Offer SIX Final Local Crowns!

Sweeps or Sweetheart pageants are offered for women who have already placed or competed; this year at the local level Miss Ohio is offering not one, but two sweeps pageants, and three ladies might be crowned at each! (Like Miss Maumee Valley/Fallen Timbers/All*American City this fall, it will be a waiting game to see how many contestants enter- that number directly effects how many crowns can be offered.)

The big question was, can contestants compete at both? YES!

Hi Contestants,

Hope all of you are doing well. Can you believe another pageant season is coming to a close so quickly? If you haven't already heard we wanted to let all of you know that this year the Miss Ohio Board is sponsoring 2 different SWEEPS programs. Also at each of these there's a possibility that they may be crowning up to 3 titles at each program (this depends on the amount of contestants who participate according to Miss America rules).

The only requirement to compete in these is that you must have competed in a local in our system during the 07/08 pageant season. One SWEEPS program will be held in Chillicothe on Saturday, April 5 and the other one will be in Medina on Sunday, April 6. You can compete in one or both of these - this is your choice.

All you need to do is send in all of the required paperwork like you have for any other local. This includes: Miss America Contestant Contract, Contestant Application, Resume, Platform, No-Show form and also send in 2 talent CDs and a photo (headshot). You must send in an entire packet per each SWEEPS program you want to compete in.

Completed form must be sent to:

Miss Ohio Office
SWEEPS - Medina / Chillicothe (put whichever one the packet is for)
P.O. Box 1818
Mansfield, OH 44901

This MUST BE postmarked by March 15, 2008

We hope you plan to compete in these programs. Also if you know of a contestant and you don't see their email address on this please make sure to forward this to them.

Thank you,
Terri Tinsman
Miss Ohio Business Manager

Pageant Press: Miss Ohio Press

It's great to hear about a former Miss Ohio and her family still helping the program:

Harmonies take center stage at annual show

...The Rev. Bud Couts, the pastor of Goss Memorial Church in Kenmore, and a director of the Derbytown Chorus, will perform both nights with Miss Ohio winners. On Feb. 29, he’ll sing with the current Miss Ohio, Roberta Camp, and on March 1 he’ll perform with his daughter, Janelle Couts, who was Miss Ohio 2003....

Click here for the whole article.

The city of Mansfield supports Miss Ohio, but I guess sometimes they use it for some comic relief too!

Mansfield's Town Roast pokes fun at local issues

MANSFIELD — Donna Parrella didn’t know what to make of the Rev. Cliff Schutjer’s alter ego, Miss Preachy.

“It’s so different from what he practiced in,” she said of Miss Preachy’s long green gown.

...Organizers settled on a spoof of the Miss Ohio Scholarship Program instead. Before the contestants vamped it up for the near-capacity crowd, a chorus performed “Proud Lydia” in homage to the longtime city mayor. The song noted Reid cut many ribbons during her tenure. were there to see the “beauty” contestants with names like Miss Behavior, Miss Conception and Miss Dysfunction.

Miss Westbrook, a.k.a. Richland County Common Pleas Judge James Henson, poked a little fun at his reputation when he told the crowd his platform. “Vote for me, I’ll set you free,” Miss Westbrook said.

In the question-and-answer session, Sharp asked Miss Westbrook, who looked like Howard Stern with bad glasses, to pick between hell and the News Journal, a frequent critic of the judge.

“It’s a tough call,” he said.Miss Conception, a.k.a. Hutch Blackstone, resembled a bloated Eminem and used unplanned parenthood for a platform.

“If you believe, you can conceive,” Miss Conception said before taking a tumble off the stage.

Miss Dysfunction, a.k.a. Commissioner Ed Olson, wore sparkly silver shoes to offset her stunning ensemble. Her platform was getting performance-enhancing drugs out of professional cornhole.

Click here for the entire article.

Miss America Photo Update

Above, Miss America Kirsten Haglund yesterday at the NASDAQ to ring the closing bell; below she meets Ted Danson at the Washington Press Club Dinner.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Miss America Tune-in Alerts for TODAY!

4:00 pm ET - Kirsten rings NASDAQ Closing Bell
CLICK HERE for a live webcast!

6:00 pm ET - Cavuto Tonight on the FOX Business Channel

Kirsten will talk about being the Goodwill Ambassador for the Children's Miracle Network and what she hopes to accomplish during her year of service.

Pageant Press: MAOT featured in Two Publications!


Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, Caitlin Brunell is featured in Two Publications!

Check out the latest issue of Pageantry magazine! Read about Caitlin’s Closet.

Also, check out a new magazine Savvy. Caitlin was highlighted as a positive role model! The vision of Savvy magazine is to combine the traditional elements of pageantry with cutting edge trends in fashion, beauty, and pop culture. Available at Barnes and Noble and by subscription.

For more information on Miss America’s Outstanding Teen and Caitlin Brunell, visit

Monday, February 18, 2008

eBay Auction: Have Lunch with Jennifer Berry

Less than 4 hours are left to bid on lunch with Jennifer Berry.
The auction is currently just over $100, which seems pathetic!
Especially considering the profits go to Communities In Schools.

Check it out HERE!

Web Warriors: Pageant Style!

More and more women are using the internet to spread their pageant message, whatever it may be!

* Be sure to check out Miss Scioto Valley
Megan Wombacker’s blog- she recently visited Capitol Hill to advocate her platform.

* Welcome to the blogosphere,
Elizabeth Miller. She’s a competitor at Miss Ohio locals and the older sister of our reigning Outstanding Teen!

* Finally, Miss Ohio Valley Brandi Herceg has developed a weekly newsletter called Web Beat about her platform. Read the first issue below and subscribe by emailing


Vol. 1 Issue 1

Hello all! Welcome to the very first edition of WEB BEAT, a weekly newsletter that I, Miss Ohio Valley 2007-2008, have created to help get the word out about heart disease! I hope you enjoy what you read and find it helpful and informative. Also, you are my best PR, so please, pass the BEAT on to at least one friend or family member and ask them to do the same! Everyone needs to learn how to take care of his or her heart! So I urge you to help me make a difference in the world, one BEAT at a time!

I figured Valentine's Day would be an appropriate day to start the WEB BEAT, since everyone is surrounded by hearts today, as it is. Did you know that February is American Heart Month? Did you also know that Heart Disease is the Number 1 killer of Americans? Did you know there is something you can do? You don't have to be a heart surgeon when it comes to curing heart disease, just an informed citizen willing to speak your mind about heart disease and the benefits of being heart healthy!

Have you had your Cheerios this morning? The American Heart Association strongly recommends eating a bowl of Cheerios every day! Cheerios is the only cold cereal clinically proven to lower cholesterol. Cheerios is a whole grain cereal. "Why is this important?" you may ask. Well, that answer is simple: whole grains provide carbohydrates, which are the main source of energy for your body. In addition to being a major source of energy for your body, whole grains are a fantastic source of Vitamin B, Iron, Copper, Zinc, Selenium, Fiber, and Vitamin E.

Being heart healthy requires more than just eating a bowl of Cheerios every day, though. No healthy lifestyle is complete without exercise. We all need to try to incorporate some exercise time into our everyday lives. I know what you're thinking, "When do you expect me to find time for that?” Trust me, I know that excuse very well. However, that's just what it is, an excuse. You've got to love your heart before you lose your heart. It is best for everyone to get 30 minutes of exercise each day, even if it is in short 10-minute bursts. Here are some exercise tips for BUSY people:

*Wake up to a few minutes of sit-ups or push-ups before you hit the shower!
*Don't fight for the closest parking spot. Park far away and walk halfway across the parking lot!
*Take the stairs instead of the elevator!
*Use the buddy system! Exercise is easier to get into with a friend.
*Do something you love! Walk, run, bicycle, swim, or my personal favorite, Dance! Just get moving!
*Take a walk! If the weather is bad, don't use that as an excuse; walk around the mall or in a community center!

I can't help but repeat, Heart Disease is the Number 1 killer of Americans. We must speak out and do something. Remember, a small start is still a start. So go grab a bowl of Cheerios and LOVE YOUR HEART!

Until next week,

Brandi Herceg
Miss Ohio Valley 2007-2008

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Wow! FIFTY THOUSAND! That's amazing!

I've been extremely busy, but I'll have to put some thought energy toward some sort of thank you or online celebration! :)

The odometer above at 50,000 miles is in a MINI Cooper; I can't wait for the weather to get nice again so Loren and I can start driving ours again!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Pageant Press: Miss Ohio returns from pageant...

As I sit on the campus of Ohio State University, waiting to judge the final round of Extemporaneous Speaking at the State Forensics Championship, it seems only appropriate that I blog about our Miss Ohio, a student here!

Miss Ohio returns from pageant; plans to focus on singing career

[Left: Miss Ohio Roberta Camp looks through her closet for a dress to wear to an forthcoming event in Cincinnati.]

It was bad enough that the Ohio State Buckeyes lost college football's national championship game a second year in a row last month.

Then, a scant few weeks later, Miss Ohio didn't win Miss America.

Miss, ahem, Michigan did.


(Sorry, Loren's a Michigan fan and I've been waiting for the right time to post this picture of Kirsten for him!)

A smiling Roberta Camp, Grove City High School graduate, Ohio State University student and reigning Miss Ohio, said last week that she's taking this particular setback to That State Up North in stride, although some others are not.

"I've had a number of people approach me and say, 'That's OK, Roberta. Now we've got another reason to hate Michigan,' " Camp said with a laugh.

The 23-year-old sat down last week in the home she shares with her mother and younger sister, a home closer to Orient than to Grove City, to look back on her participation in the pageant-turned-reality show that aired over TLC during much of January, and to look ahead to the five months she has remaining to wear her crown.

"Miss America: A Reality Check" was a four-part series that aired Friday nights over TLC, leading up to a two-hour special on Jan. 26 at the conclusion of which Kirsten Haglund of Farmington Hills, Mich., was presented with the crown. The new approach to the standard beauty pageant was intended to boost interest and ratings, and it accomplished at least the latter; more than 19 million viewers tuned in during the premiere weekend, according to TLC's Web site.

Some people Camp has spoken with since returning from Las Vegas, where the 52 contestants were put through their paces in the weeks leading up to the live finale, felt the reality show approach was a bit too negative, a trifle mean-spirited. In short, they felt it was like a reality show.

But that's what America seems to want these days, Camp reflected.

"What you saw, I expected," she said. "I wasn't surprised with any of it."

And she was not put off by the experience, although it was a wearying one.

"They had us going from 6 a.m. until midnight every single day," Camp said. "If I could go back and do it again, I would. I was so exhausted, but I would do it again.
"And it went by way too fast."

Camp did have her high hopes just a bit dashed.

"I was hoping that this would be the year for Ohio," she admitted.

In fact, she was hoping to at least have made the top 15, but she didn't. The 37 contestants, from all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia and U.S. Virgin Islands, who didn't crack that elite won't ever find out exactly where they placed, Camp said, so she and the others can comfort themselves that perhaps they fared no worse than 16th.

Camp was in the same group of contestants as the eventual Miss America. In spite of those who feel Haglund's win is another reason to hate Michigan, Camp said that that to know the very articulate 19-year-old Haglund is to love her.

Camp, who had to take a year off from her studies as a communications major at Ohio State University, has five months of her reign remaining.

"There's a lot left I want to do," she said.

Getting a children's book she has written published is at the top of that list, along with organizing a training session with the organization Character Counts, possibly with founder Michael Josephson, and continuing her work with the Ohio Partners in Character in Education.

Camp, who intends to earn her degree, had thought about returning to classes at OSU in the spring to speed that process along, but doubts she'll do that; it might interfere with her Miss Ohio duties, including public appearances.

"I'm only going to get to do this once, so I think my 'normal life' is going to have to wait until June 22 (when her successor is crowned)," Camp said.
After graduating, Camp intends to do her best to pursue her dream of being a singer.

"I still want to start my career either in New York City or in the Los Angeles area," she said. "I would love to sing for the rest of my life if I could."

Friday, February 15, 2008

Testing... 1...2...3...?

I've received reports that this blog isn't working right. I've removed a few things from that page that may have been causing a problem.

Please leave me a comment and let me know if it was not working for you, but is now! Thanks!

Thursday, February 14, 2008


*I'm getting reports 'da blog isn't functioning properly; please leave me a comment if it is working for you. Thanks!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Pageant Polls: Miss America 2008: Love It or Hate It

I’m extremely busy this week, so what better time to leave some great polls at the top of the page for a couple days. Please participate in all 10.

I hope you think these polls are as fun as I do;
I’m anxious to view the results and see what you thought about TLC’s revamped production of Miss America!

Direct Link

Direct Link

Direct Link

Direct Link

Direct Link

Direct Link

Direct Link

Direct Link

Direct Link

Direct Link

CLICK HERE for a poll about the crowning format.

Monday, February 11, 2008

National Pancake Day!

Because pageant contestants need permission to eat carbs, sugar and shortening! Just kidding, IHOP has partnered with CMN. Check it out and eat a pancake:

Celebrate National Pancake Day, on Tuesday, February 12 between 7:00am and 10:00pm and enjoy a free short stack of IHOP's famous buttermilk pancakes.

While there, make a donation to the Children's Miracle Network (CMN).

In 2007, IHOP raised more than $625,000 for Children's Miracle Network hospitals throughout the country. This year, they hope to raise $750,000. Be part of the celebration and help make miracles for the over 17 million children that visit CMN hospitals each year.

Busy Local Titleholders!

Be sure to check out Megan Wombacker and Becky Minger's blogs for photos from their recent trip to Miss America and other appearances.

If you are a local contestant or titleholder who does not have a blog or website, but would like to share what you're up to, feel free to email me pictures, send a link to a news article, etc... The offer extends to formers, E.D.s and all pageant systems!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Miss America Press Junket: In Case You Missed It...

Someone actually video taped their TV set in order to put Kirsten's Regis and Kelly interview on YouTube. The quality is awful, but they get points for resourcefulness!

CLICK HERE for a Celeb TV report which focuses on her platform,
Eating Disorder Awareness.

Here's a great interview with a CW channel; just listen to it- don't watch because the sound is off, which drives me crazy.

A montage of Kirsten's performances at Miss America:

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Conclusion of Christie’s Moment of Truth

Last week pageant contestant Christie Youssef was on FOX’s new game show, The Moment of Truth. (Click here for that blog entry.) I didn’t watch her conclusion live this past Wednesday, but I DVRed it. If you missed it too, here’s what happened:

The first show ended with this cliffhanger, asked by Miss California 2006 Jacquelynne Fontaine: Have you ever tried to sabbatoge another pageant contestant? “No, I would never sabotage anyone in regards to a competition.”

Then Miss California joined Christie’s family on the couch and seemed to know her sister; they hugged.

Have you ever secretly been attracted to one of your sister’s boyfriends? Yes.

She won $25,000 for that question; I don’t understand why they made that seem like it was a big deal. If I were her sister I’d hope she’d say yes, otherwise what would that say about the quality of the guys!?

Okay Ohio pageant fans- when Christie won Miss Portsmouth here in Ohio some fans questioned her eligibility, since it’s well know she is from California. Last week’s episode mentioned her residence in California. This episode just touched on her working for her father, which is known to be here in Ohio.

Do you believe your father has used money to control you? Yes.

Do you blame your father for tearing your family apart? Yes.

At this point, Christie talks about being an “old fashion girl” with conservative values; she looks for a man with strong Christian values. I couldn’t help but think, no wonder she does well in pageants! Those of us with liberal values often feel most of the judges are conservative, but I know conservative women feel just the opposite. The grass is always greener… right?

Are you still in love with your ex fiancé? WAIT! They just showed her fiddling with a ring! Perhaps the indention was to make people think she was still wearing her engagement ring, but it’s on her first finger and it looks like a crown ring. Anyway, she truthfully answered “I am, I am still in love with him.”

Former Miss California Jacquelynne Fontaine and Christie’s family encouraged her to answer on more question in order to win $100,000. Jacquelynne said, “Do it Christie, then med school is paid for; you’re an honest woman.”

The host went back to pageantry for a moment and Christie said, “It takes a lot of focus and dedication and effort so it’s - there’s definitely that beauty aspect of it no matter how much scholarship money you can win.”

Have you ever forced yourself to throw-up after eating to avoid gaining weight? Christie’s sister suddenly pushed the “do not answer button,” saying “some issue I think just shouldn’t even be touched and I think that’s one of them!”

At this point her mom wanted her to stop, but Christie continued with a different question to win the hundred grand.

As an adult have you ever taken a nude picture of yourself? Of course there was a dramatic commercial break… haha FOX, I have DVR… fast-forward! Christie’s conservative values held up, she truthfully said, “No, I haven’t.”

She won $100,000!

Again, her mom encouraged her to stop and take the money instead of answering three more to get to $200,000.

And she plays it safe and walks away with double the money of Miss America!

Just for fun, the host told her what the next question would have been: “Have you ever felt trapped by your mother trying to control your life?... The same mother who told you to stop and take the money!” Of course, they all erupt in laughter! She answered “no” but the ominous game show voice said it was false, a lie. It didn’t matter, already won the money!

Watch for yourself:

Congrats to Christie!

Miss America 2008 Coverage, News, Photos and Blogs

During Miss America 2008 the following links provided great coverage:

Thursday, February 7, 2008

My Take on the Latest Fiasco…

*** Edited Friday 2.8.08: READ THE COMMENTS UNDER THIS POST; a Miss Maple CIty judge has chimed in with her side of the story. ***

An article published yesterday by a Miss Maple City judge is getting quite a negative reaction in the pageant community. (If you haven’t read it yet, scroll below.)

Let me start by saying I don’t know Miss Maple City Heather Wells, nor do I know judge and article author Andy Pretsok, and I never held the Maple City title. Nonetheless, I only agree with one of the four negatives being discussed in online pageant communities.

The issues are sympathy toward Heather, the appropriateness of such an article, Mr. Pretsok suitability as a judge and the efficacy of the Top 5 ballot system.

First- like many, I feel awful for Heather. It’s not fair or kind for it to be made public that “Immediately, the four female judges — all pageant veterans -- formed a huddle and started complaining about the winner, saying her swimsuit was too revealing, she wore the wrong kind of shoes during the question and answer period and her toes were not pointed in the right direction during her dance routine. Then they began demanding to know who it was who voted for her.”

It’s understood in any sort of subjective competition with multiple judges that some will be into you and others won’t. When I compete I always look into the judge’s eyes and wonder which like me, but it’s rhetorical. No one really wants to know the answer! Hopefully Heather will not let this taint her first MAO win, but rather make her somehow stronger.

Second – Of course there is the argument that Mr. Pretsok should have never written this sort of exposé. Granted, I think the paragraph I posted above is a bit too specific, I don’t mind the article overall. In fact, I think it’s a good thing! As pageant fans we need to constantly remind ourselves that this world we are so used to is completely foreign to many around us. Anything that offers “pageant civilians” an inside look, possibly grabbing their interest, is a positive. I think it gives valuable insight on the judging process that contestants should read, and he highlights the ten minute interview and how impressive the contestants are.

Third- Mr. Pretsok admitted, “I was unclear on what exactly to look for in judging the contestants. The instructions were nebulous.” (Nebulous means vague, by the way.) Some fans are charging that he was unqualified to judge, that he should not have accepted the responsibility and that pageant officials did a poor job briefing their judges. *sigh* I literally shook my head as I read such allegations. If pageant directors gave specific judging instructions then they’d be accused of trying to sway their judged toward a certain contestant! Yes, the instructions are nebulous because everyone has a different opinion of who an “it” girl is, what makes a good role model, what type of talent is impressive, etc…

I don’t have a problem with “novice” judges; every pageant has them. If Miss America is supposed to be relatable to the general public, then a judging panel should include a member of that public. Not to mention the fact that national level pageants include celebrity judges who don’t know the ins and outs of pageantry either. Let the “qualified” judges score if she was wearing the right shoes, the novice judges score charisma and reliability based on a gut feeling and the scores all average out in the end! Finally, average is the key word-

Fourth- Since four of the judges supposedly had a problem with the winner, many fans are jumping to the conclusion that a tabulation error must have been made. Again, I shake my head because this indicates a lack of understanding of how numbers average out. As the article states, the judges are given a brief moment to rank the women; let me give you an example of how a Top 5 ballot works with some fake contestants:

Judge #1######### Judge #2 ##### Judge #3
1. Samantha ##### 1. Ms. Big #### 1. Ms. Big
2. Charlotte ##### 2. Carrie ###### 2. Miranda
3. Carrie ####### 3. Charlotte # ## 3. Carrie
4. Miranda ##### 4. Miranda ##### 4. Charlotte
5. Ms. Big ###### 5. Samantha ### 5. Samantha

Judge #4 ##### Judge #5 ###### Judge #6
1. Carrie ##### 1. Charlotte ### 1. Samantha
2. Ms. Big #### 2. Carrie ###### 2. Carrie
3. Charlotte ## 3. Samantha ### 3. Charlotte
4. Samantha ## 4. Miranda #### 4. Miranda
5. Miranda #### 5. Ms. Big #### 5. Ms. Big

*** Since originally publishing this, I found out what values MAO actually assigns to the final ballot: 1 = 10 points, 2 = 5 points, 3 = 3 points, 4 = 2 points and 5= 1 point. The ladies would score as follows:

Carrie: 31
Ms. Big: 28
Samantha: 27
Charlotte: 26
Miranda: 14

So, Carrie takes the crown (she is the star of the show) even though only one judged deemed her the winner. Judges either loved or hated Samantha and Ms. Big, while Carrie stayed in the middle and garnered the most points. Note, Samantha and Ms. Big were both first by two judges and Ms. Big was last three times to Samantha's two; yet, Ms. Big placed higher than Samantha because Judge #4 placed her second. Poor Miranda was only “last” according to one judge, but ended in 4th place anyway.

As for Miss Maple City, so four judges were surprised by Heather's win - that does not mean all four of those judges ranked her fifth. Thus, her win was mathematically possible. Getting even one first place vote gives a five point advantage over the other four ranks.

So you see, it’s entirely possible for judges to be perplexed at accurate results. If you take issue with this, it’s the Top 5 balloting system that you should fight to eliminate, rather than accosting the winner, judges or auditors.

I think maybe I am “okay” with all of this thanks to my Forensics experience. Sometimes the judges would know what they were doing, other times they were faculty from the Communications or Theatre department who merely owed a favor to the Director of Forensics who was hosting the tournament. In Forensics, you’re divided into groups of 4 to 7 competitors and you do your event 2 or 3 times, for a different judge each time, usually with a different mix of competitors. You’re given both a score and ranked against the others in your group. In the end, the top 6 compete in a final round. Our coach always stressed that you had to be the best in each round. Forensics speak goes like this: “You have to get the one. If you go one, one, six, someone with straight threes WILL beat you.”

For lack of a better phrase, sometime you get screwed. But if you’re good enough, you will eventually be successful.

Pageant Press: Judging beauty is not as easy as it looks

*Let me start by saying the chiffon is hitting the fan!*

Andy Pretsok, a Miss Maple City judge and publisher of the Norwalk Reflector put this in his paper yesterday; it’s receiving quite a reaction from the pageant community.

Part of this article feels like the pageant gossip that I publish this blog for my readers to avoid, but it was published in a newspaper, so here you go…

Judging beauty is not as easy as it looks

I was one of the seven judges for Saturday night’s Miss Maple City Pageant. It was a first for me.

My family used to watch the Miss America Pageant when I was a kid — in the late 60s and early ‘70s, but I’m certain it had been more than 30 years since I had seen one.

I came in to the event with some preconceived notions about “pageant girls.” Namely, that they had all been primping and preening on stage since the age of three, knowing little else. And that they all likely had pushy mothers like Patsy Ramsey who were trying to live their lives vicariously through their children.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the 11 young ladies who submitted to 10-minute interviews in private from the panel of judges were bright, articulate, poised and accomplished. Pretty good lookin’ girls, too. All were college students, working the pageant circuit to win scholarships to help pay for their education. Just about everyone held down several different jobs while going to school and not only participating in, but excelling at, various extra-curricular activities ranging from soccer to women’s rugby to dance and student government. They were pursuing master’s degrees and doctorates.

I was dazzled. In addition, I was unclear on what exactly to look for in judging the contestants. The instructions were nebulous.

Things got really dicey when the pageant part of the competition commenced.

The first event was the swimsuit contest, during which judges were supposed to look for how physically fit the women were. I did not do too well at this. They breezed across the stage in about 10 seconds each, hardly giving you time to find the contestant’s name on the list, let alone judge her physical fitness and ability to walk in four-inch heels.

I was somewhat shocked at my reaction to the swimsuit competition. I have a long history of admiring the female form — and these were all spectacular examples — but sitting there with 17-to-24-year-old women — children to a man of 46 — parading in front of me barely clothed, with hundreds of parents and children seated behind me — it was all I could do to not be totally embarrassed and feel like some kind of pervert.

I could not imagine how the contestants must feel, having to parade their bodies in front of all those eyes. It would take supreme confidence.

After talent, evening gown and on-stage question, the judges were presented with cards with the top five point winners. We had to rank them in about 30 seconds and the results were tabulated to pick the winner.

I was surprised when 18-year-old Heather Wells was announced as the winner, even though I had voted for her to win. I never pick winners in anything.

Feeling pretty good about my judging abilities, all the judges filed out of the auditorium into the room where we had conducted the interviews and left our personal belongings. Immediately, the four female judges — all pageant veterans -- formed a huddle and started complaining about the winner, saying her swimsuit was too revealing, she wore the wrong kind of shoes during the question and answer period and her toes were not pointed in the right direction during her dance routine. Then they began demanding to know who it was who voted for her. We had been warned that we might get accosted by contestants or parents, but not by our fellow judges. I gathered up my stuff and got the heck out of there, skipping the reception that was held in honor of the new Miss Maple City.

While the Miss Maple City Pageant may have been a little stressful for me, I would highly recommend to anyone in Norwalk who has not been to it to go to next year’s. The organizers put on a wonderful, entertaining production with lots of local talent performing. The time literally flew by.

Be that as it may, I can’t help but think my pageant days are behind me. It’s just too stressful. I’d almost rather parade around on stage in front of hundreds of people in a swimsuit than go through that again.

Congratulations to Miss Wells and all the contestants. They are all braver than I.

CLICK HERE for the direct link, though I did post it all here. My thoughts, of which there are many, are coming soon...

Fictional TV Pageants

I didn’t have time tonight to watch Christie Youssef on The Moment of Truth, but she’s waiting for me on my DVR. In the mean time, here’s some pageant TV fun for you that I wrote this weekend:

As I flipped TV channels Saturday morning, I found the Detroit CW airing Saved By The Bell. It was one of the later seasons in which the gang is all working at a beach resort. Leah Remini (“Carrie” on King of Queens) was the bosses daughter and guest star, “Stacey Carosi.”

Before I was done thinking, “geez I have an uphill battle; it seems like every successful actor now has been in the biz since they were kids!..” I was distracted by the fact that the episode was about a pageant- Miss Liberty!

How do I always find these things? I was honestly just flipping! As for the show, Stacy was not only the boss’s daughter, but also Zack’s latest love interest. She and the show regulars, Lisa, Kelly and Jessie were all in the pageant; the plot twist was that Zack was forced to be a judge. It was so cheesy- the ladies were dressed in obnoxious patriotic outfits and they each had to answer, “What does July 4th mean to you?” When Zack did the right thing and voted for Kelly instead of Stacy, he got fired. In the end of course, he got his job back and still got the girl.

By the way, A.C. Slater, turned pageant host Mario Lopez, wasn't in the episode much!

Then, believe it or not, last night the Miss Rhode Island episode of Seinfeld aired! You know the one- Jerry starts dating her, but then Kramer takes over as her chaperone and coach. He really nailed the psychotic pageant fanatic character. :)

In the end Jerry accidentally kills the doves she used for her magic act talent. On the right Kramer reacts to her attempts to sing instead. Classic!

Kramer: Let's try a few more questions, alright? If you were Miss America, and the U.S. was on the brink of a nuclear war, and the only way the conflict could be averted was if you agreed to sleep with the enemy's leader, what would you do?

Kramer: Now if I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times: poise counts! It's just as important as the others. Swimsuit! Evening wear! Talent! POISE!

What is your favorite pageant TV show episode? The Little Miss Springfield episode of The Simpson's is definitely on my list. LEAVE A COMMENT!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Miss America PR Updates

Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund Lights Up the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

On Monday, February 4th, Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund visited the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) as the official Goodwill Ambassador for the Children's Miracle Network. Each patient that Kirsten met with touched her heart as she heard their stories of hope, courage and strength. Kirsten offered her wonderful smile and good wishes to all the children and said, "My very first visit to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was everything I thought it would be and so much more. These children have inspired me with their joy and their spirit and that's an incredible gift. I can't wait to see what the rest of the year brings."

It has only been one week since Kirsten was crowned in Las Vegas, and she is off to a beautiful start making national television appearances, and her first corporate appearance as Miss America at the Philadelphia Auto Show.

Kirsten's next stop is the National Miss America Office and then it's off to Los Angeles where she will participate in IHOP's National Pancake Day, a fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network. Scheduled media includes an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live this Friday, January 8. Tune-in alert to follow.


For just $2.49* you can download the classic Miss America theme song, “There She Is, Miss America” as a ringtone for your mobile phone. Download the ring tone today so that all the ‘Miss Americas’ in your life can have this classic song play every time they call your phone. Text the word MISS to 74466 to download the “There She Is, Miss America” ringtone.

For only $1.99* you can download the official Miss America Crown as wallpaper for your mobile phone. Customize your mobile phone screen with this iconic symbol that is sought after by many, but worn by only a few. Text the word CROWN to 74466 to download the Miss America wallpaper for your mobile phone.



...In its first airing on TLC, the program claimed the #1 spot on cable Saturday night among females between the ages of 18-34, increasing viewership over 2007 by 90% among viewers ages 18-34, 95% among women ages 18-49, 96% among women ages 25-54 and 88% among women ages 18-34. In addition, the median age for the telecast was 37, nearly 7 years younger than the live premiere in 2007 and 14 years younger than in 2006.

“We wanted to re-energize the Miss America brand in a way that made it more relatable to today's young women,” said Angela Shapiro-Mathes, president and general manager, TLC.

CLICK HERE for the whole release.

So what do these ratings mean?

Well, I can't find the Nielsen's list from the week of Miss America, but last week the primetime network news programs garnered between 7 and 10 million viewers. And then there was that sporting event with a couple New England teams and a brown ball... it had well over 90 million viewers. So for being on cable, I'd say Miss America did okay- more than the news, but less than a major sporting event.

It did very well in comparison to Crowned. Also on cable, each episode of that pageant/reality show had around 2 million viewers.

Most of the above information came from here.

Miss America's Outstanding Teen Updates


Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, Inc., a little sister to the Miss America Organization that promotes scholastic achievement, creative accomplishment, healthy living and community involvement for America's teens, has named TV fashion commentator and entrepreneur Kim Parrish as president. A former Miss West Virginia (1992), Kim is the creator of The Kim Parrish Collection clothing line on HSN and (see and

Kim Parrish has volunteered with the Miss America Organization for the past 15 years, including directing the Miss West Virginia’s Outstanding Teen competition and serving as a judge for the national finals in Orlando.

“I intend to help develop a strong financial foundation and expand national recognition for this outstanding organization and its participants,” says Kim. “In today’s fast-paced world, teens can’t afford to look to young Hollywood for role models. They need to find inspiration within themselves, their families, schools and community. Through its exceptional mentoring program, Miss America’s Outstanding Teen provides leadership and scholarship opportunities for teens, that will help them prepare for successful futures.”

Visit for the complete press release.

Shopping for Valentine’s Day?

Don’t forget- Miss America’s Outstanding Teen teamed up with to raise funds for scholarships. will donate a portion of your purchase at leading retailers like 1-800-Flowers, eluxury, and Godiva to Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. In fact, has 15 flower retailers, 54 Jewelry and Fragrance vendors, and 52 Gourmet websites participating in their fundraising efforts. Once you sign up, you’ll be supporting Miss America's Outstanding Teen, just by shopping at over 678 online stores.

If you happen to make a purchase through within 45 days of joining, will donate an EXTRA $5 to your favorite cause! With over 678 participating stores, it's easy to find the things you need AND support a good cause.


1. Join to support Miss America's Outstanding Teen It's free, safe, and easy to join.

2. Shop through Their online mall features trusted online retailers like Lillian Vernon, Staples, Macy’s, JCPenney, eBay,, PBTeen, HSN & Zappos to name just a few! Make sure you download the shopping window to keep track of all your purchases even when you visit a website without going through first!

3. Watch the $$ roll in for Miss America's Outstanding Teen!Up to 26% of EACH purchase is donated, plus a bonus $5 donation if you shop within 45 days. The more stores you visit, the more chances to win a $1,000 donation during the Surfathon! We hope to see you at soon. Thank you!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Pageant Poll: Should E.D.s Judge Other Locals?

This topic comes up periodically; since it's a hot issue once again,
let's find the stats! This should be interesting…

CLICK HERE for the direct link to see the pretty new polldaddy style I selected that isn't showing up here for some odd reason.