*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...