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."

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