Monday, March 31, 2008

Facebook Drama

Thursday I blogged about pageant message board gossip surrounding Facebook photos of local and state titleholders and said I'd share my opinion after Miss Hamilton...

A couple days later someone anonymously reported on Ohio’s message board that one of the women with questionable pictures, Miss Open City Zephylia Khooblall, had finally relinquished her title. This claim is as of yet unsubstantiated. It is rumored that her First Runner-up Samantha Eggers would be unavailable to take the title; Second Runner-up Heather Wells is now Miss Maple City and Third Runner-up Laura Pennington addressed the issue on her blog, saying she knows nothing about the issue and has not been contacted by the E.D.

In case you hadn’t heard, Zephylia had photos on Facebook in which she was drinking underage. The photos were upsetting to many because of their captions which suggested drunk driving and seductive interaction with another female. Someone copied the entire Facebook page, not just the photos, to an online photo album and shared the link on the state and national message board. Many pageant fans have been extremely frustrating that no action was taken against her by local or state officials.

The message boards seem to be down today, so I don’t know what the latest is.

When this first became an issue, I didn’t address it but whether you’re a pageant contestant or not, it’s an issue no one can ignore anymore. Job and college recruiters are utilizing sites like Facebook and MySpace to evaluate their candidates.

Indeed, a pageant title is a job and it’s not just your boss that you have to impress, but the community and ideals of the crown which you represent. Having seen Zephylia’s photos, I have to agree with many that the most respectable thing she could do is step down. Having said that though, I do see both sides of the overall issue.

What do I mean? Well, a photo is a split second of someone’s life; it can be misinterpreted and even if the negative interpretation is correct, no one’s perfect and there are certain experiences everyone should be allowed to have…

First, photos can easily be taken way out of context! A harmless moment with friends or family can later lead to the judgmental line “A role model shouldn’t do that.” What does that even mean? That a role model can never have a personality? I think people doubt or forget about the ability to know what’s right and wrong in a given situation. IE: I’ve flipped off a friend and in the privacy of a home, but I would never do that in public when I was a titleholder, or when everyone knew me as the Face of FOX Toledo. Similarly, I have the mouth of a sailor, but can turn it off in professional situations or around certain family members. Does that make me a bad person? No, I don’t think so.

The trouble is, with technology today any photo or video of a pageant woman, politician or any public figure can be used against them. It doesn’t matter if the images are recent, or even true; perception becomes reality. I saw a great show the other day on MTV or VH1 in which celebrities are “setting-up” the paparazzi. Eva Longoria and Mario Lopez went to lunch and he gave her a gift… within hours it was all over the tabloids that they were a new item. Again, there’s no better way to say it than perception is reality.

It’s frustrating. I understand how convenient Facebook is for sharing pictures with friends, but even if you know it was an innocent moment, be careful! Ask yourself what it might look like to an outside observer.

Second, I understand college is a time of exploration for many. It is my personal belief that you learn more outside of the classroom than in… Therefore, there are a lot of things I don’t have a problem with, because college is the logical time to try them out. I am adamantly against high school sex and substance abuse and the years after college are typically filled with achieving career goals and starting families… So if you want to experience the effects of certain substances or explore your sexuality, do it in college. I may have just lost the respect of some of you, but that’s an opinion I stand by, even for pageant women.

Here’s a news flash: your favorite titleholder probably isn’t the virginal, jesus loving, non-drinking, non-cursing, straight A, always smiling princess you may want her to be! Frankly, I don’t find the woman who fits that description relatable to me or society in general. I feel that it is entirely possible to be in some ways a “normal college kid” and also be a wonderful titleholder. This is where things get grey and fuzzy.

Before I tackle that matter, let me finish the photo issue by stating the obvious: DON’T BE PHOTOGRAPHED WITH ALCOHOL OR OTHER SUBSTANCES IN HAND! I understand that you may want to capture certain memories; okay, but don’t put it on the internet, especially if it’s underage drinking, which is illegal. It should also be common sense to a pageant woman that one sacrifice she does have to make is not being a “normal college kid” anywhere/ anytime. You might not always have control of who has a camera, but you can choose not to drink in public and not to get all crazy in front of people you don’t know or trust.

Back to the broad issue- some of you may disagree with my candor and opinions. Again, this is where things get grey and I may start to sound like a hypocrite, but hear me out… I believe that Miss America should be held to slightly higher standards but that a titleholder should be who she is, as opposed to leading two separate lives, thus enforcing the fake stereotype. It is impossible to define these “higher standards,” or “no moral turpitude” as the contract states.

Time and time again the issue of being a “normal college student” is brought up; some pageant fans don’t mind when pageant women act this way, others argue that contestants should be better than that. To me, being a normal college student means that you probably will drink underage, you’ll attend parties, you’ll take Amy Polombo-esq goofy pictures with your friends and you might even have relations with someone of the same sex, for your own curiosity or merely to tease the opposite sex. Can you do these things and still make it to class, and even get good grades? Absolutely. I am horribly jealous of a friend of a friend who has a great job, a master degree and was a 4.0 student who still acts like an immature 18 year old every weekend! Can you do these “typical” things and still work tirelessly with your favorite philanthropy? Absolutely. Just don’t advocate against something that you do in your free time!

Here’s the thing- I think some people feel a “typical’ student is getting drunk and high all the flipping time. I disagree. To me, that’s someone with a problem. There is a way to be responsible and still experience the nonacademic side of college life. If you are falling down drunk nearly every single weekend, I think there’s a problem. If it becomes public that you’ve been arrested, you’re going to be in trouble in pageant land. If you’re simultaneously involved in pageants and post questionable pictures and Facebook “status reports” about partying, I think you’re just stupid. If the life you lead contradicts what your platform preaches, I have no respect for you.

To me, the bottom line is being smart, whether you’re in pageants or not! Pageant women today aren’t acting any differently or worse than past women, it’s just that now everything has the potential of being public. Lead your life with intelligence. It’s possible to have fun with out becoming an alcoholic or putting it on the internet and potentially destroying your career.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Congrats to the New Miss Hamilton, Sophia Davis and Butler County's Outstanding Teen, Olivia Yokers!

Miss Results:

Miss Hamilton: Sophia Davis
This will be Sophia's third trip to Miss Ohio, having been Miss Mansfield and making the Top 10 as Miss Miami Valley.

First Runner-up: Rebekah Zoz
Second Runner-up: Kelly Sirk
Third Runner-up: Kristy Moneysmith

Interview: Sophia Davis
Talent: Kristy Moneysmith
Swimsuit: Rebeka Zoz
Evening Gown: Sophia Davis

Congeniality: Kelly Sirk
Peoples Choice: Brittany McGinnis

I can't wait to do more work with community members, and Hamilton in general," Davis said, talking about America's Promise Alliance, a network of nonprofits that fosters volunteerism to help children...

Teen Results:

Butler County's Outstanding Teen: Olivia Yokers

First Runner-up: Brittany Kelley
Second Runner-up: Caitlin Lee
Third Runner-up: Sarah Hall

Interview: Olivia Yokers
Talent: Olivia Yokers
Fitness: Brittany Kelley
Evening Gown: Olivia Yokers

Congeniality: Olivia Yokers

Yokers, a crowd favorite, sang a sweet opera piece by Puccini as her talent and said schools should hold fundraisers to help fund the arts.

In all, 15 young women and girls competed for the two crowns. The seven judges had an unenviable job, rating the contestants on their talent, beauty and grace — in essence, style. "It's always tough," said judge Leslie Townsend.

The quotations above are from THIS article;
photos by David A. Moodie.

[Right: Sophia Davis]

[Left: Miss contestant Kelly Jo Zink;
Right: Outgoing Teen Aunjanna' Million.]

[Left: Miss contestant Ashley Bowman;
Right: Teen contestant Brittany Kelley.]

[Left: Miss contestant Cara Best; Right: Outgoing Miss Heather Lindsay, seen through a TV camera's screen.
Was the pageant aired locally?]

CLICK HERE for a couple more pictures.

Special thanks to Erin (I assume Erin Jeffery Rathman) for posting detailed results on the message board and also mentioning that Miss Ohio Roberta Camp performed and former Miss Hamilton Nicole Masters emceed.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I've been pathetic lately... sorry... I should have mentioned a few days ago that the Miss USA contestants arrived in Las Vegas! Check out their website for videos and X's page for pictures.

Best of Luck to the Miss Hamilton Program Tonight!

I got home much later than expected last night, so look for the Facebook drama and the related health issue of substance abuse after Miss Hamilton results…

Tonight at 7 p.m. Heather Lindsey will crown a successor at the Old Moose Event Center in Hamilton. In her first attempt at Miss Ohio, Heather won a Preliminary Swimsuit Award; her beauty and confidence then earned her a Top 15 spot at Miss Ohio USA and most recently she was Second Runner-up at Miss Ohio International.

This program is “closed” to women who live, work or attend school is Butler, Clark, Hamilton, Madison, Montgomery, Preble and/or Warren Counties. In addition to Miss Hamilton, Butler County’s Outstanding Teen will be crowned.

Miss Hamilton Contestants:

Cara Best, 18, is a dancer who attends Ohio State University.

Ashley Bowman is a vocalist from Northern Kentucky University. She’s 19 years old.

[Ashley competed this year at Miss Clayland.]

Sophia Davis is a Miami University student. She is a 22 year old dancer.

[Sophia was in the Top 10 last year at Miss Ohio as Miss Miami Valley; this is her third local pageant this year.]

Kristen Liguori, 21, is a vocalist who studies at the University of Cincinnati.

[Kristen competed in this pageant last year and it's her second local this year.]

Brittany McGinnis attends Butler Tech and Career Development Schools. She is 17 years old and will perform a Liturgical Dance for talent.

Kristy Moneysmith is a vocalist and 22 year old Wright State University student.

[Kristy was Third Runner-up at Miss West Central Ohio, Talent winner at Miss Miami Valley and this is her fourth local this year.]

Kelly Sirk is a student at Northern Kentucky University. This 22 year old will perform a monologue.

[Last year Kelly was 3rd Runner-up at Miss Hamilton.]

Kelly Jo Zink, 22, is a dancer; she attends Wittenberg University.

[Kelly Jo was Second Runner-up at Miss West Central Ohio and Interview winner at Miss Miami Valley; this is her fourth local.]

Rebecca Zoz is a 20 year old University of Cincinnati student. She’ll be singing for her talent.

Anyone else think she resembles Becky Minger?

Butler County's Outstanding Teen Contestants:

Kayla Fowler is a 17 year old vocalist.

[Kayla competed in this pageant last year.]

Sarah Hall, 16, will sing.

[Sarah competed in this pageant last year.]

Brittany Kelley is a dancer; she’s 14 years old.

[Last year Brittany was Third Runner-up at this pageant.]

Caitlin Lee is a 17 year old dancer.

Angie Fay, 13, will play the piano.

Gina Soldano is a 15 year old dancer.

Olivia Yokers, 15, will sing.

The information and photos above are from the
Hamilton Journal News.

I'm not attending, and results might not be up until tomorrow morning... Sorry, sometimes I actually have a life!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Scroll below for breaking pageant news!

A few days ago I said I’d be writing about the latest pageant gossip that you need to know about. Any guesses what it is?

Let me start with a line from the carefully scripted presentation that I and speakers with my company share with high school students across the nation: “If you wouldn’t put it on your college application or your resume, DON’T PUT IT ON THE INTERNET!”

Recently photos of a state titleholder smoking and drinking underage surfaced on the national message board. Here in Ohio there is a similar ongoing issue with a local titleholder and allegations were made against a local contestant.

How can we forget this summer when the issue made national news with the infamous Miss New Jersey, Amy Polumbo? Just last week a new interview with her was published here.

“If I could do it all over again I probably would not have competed…”

Although she said the experience was "wonderful," Polumbo said the situation has made it very hard "to keep my title and is something that follows me like a black cloud."

"The interesting thing about that situation was that the pictures had been posted before this all happened, when I was not a part of the public eye and before I knew I had a chance to be a role model," Polumbo said. "The blackmailer chose to pick two of the photos where I was celebrating with a friend on their 21st birthday, which just happened to be Halloween.

Pageant veterans should certainly know better, but it seems that contestants new to the system may not know the Amy Polumbo story, or seriousness of this issue. The trouble I have is that I understand both sides…

I’ve started to write my opinions, but I’m incredibly busy today, headed out the door for an overnight trip and still battling cold symptoms… So my thoughts and some facts and figures on drinking and sex from Lauren Hogan, whose pageant platform is “Risky Business,” will be posted tomorrow evening.

Miss Mansfield's "Queens Closet" Fundraiser!

Queens Closet

Sunday March 30, 2008

Located at the UAW Local 549 Hall
2510 W. 4th Street Rd.
Mansfield, OH 44906

Sell or buy the dresses or suits of your choice.

The price to sell is $ 10.00 per dress or suit.
(Up to 10 items, this money goes to the Miss Mansfield Scholarship program).

Buy your Dress / Suit for the Prom or for your next local preliminary or even Miss Ohio!

Contestants dresses, Prom Dresses, Interview Suits, Mother of the Bride Dresses, any formal occasion.

Call for Reserved space for your clothing
Laura @ 419-775-7040

Formal & Bridal Dress Shops Welcome

Miss Ohio Roberta Camp will be there, and this is a great opportunity to pick up great items at a bargain, clean out your closet and support a local program.

Breaking Pageant News: Talent Time Reduction

It’s all over the message boards this morning that Miss America is shortening the length of talent presentations from two minutes down to ninety seconds for the 2009 national pageant! Supposedly this will not affect state pageants this summer.

I’m actually not mad at the idea of this. After all, in professional auditions you get much less time… think about it, when you watch American Idol auditions it’s obvious in the first few seconds if someone is good or bad. Yes, that means you better begin with something impressive!

Here’s what I do have a problem with- accessibility. It is difficult, expensive and frustrating to find music cuts. On the cheap end, Musical Creations charges $9 for a mere two minutes of music! Someone once found a karaoke track for me on iTunes for $1, but I doubt 90 second cuts are available there. Some women pay hundreds of dollars for custom recordings.

Speaking from experience, it’s also tricky to cut certain songs and maintain their story or message.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"Name something Miss USA shouldn't do during her reign."

I am currently watching Family Fued (a guilty pleasure) and that was one of the fast money questions!

It stumped both the contestants; the women, who went first, said "pass" then eeked out "trip" after the time was up. Next, the gentleman said "make a dirty video" with a smile on his face. That got him 26 points. Getting nude or drunk was tied as the number one answer. Too funny...

More Miss Central Ohio Photos

This is my favorite picture of the night- outgoing Miss Central Ohio and reigning Miss Lake Erie Kasey Wilson wishes the contestants well prior to the crowning.
And now to chronological order...

Above, Miss Ohio Roberta Camp and below, Kasey Wilson entertain the audience.

Above, Roberta sings some more, and I have to say, this dress is really cute in person!

Visiting Titleholders: Miss Lake Erie Kasey Wilson, Miss Clayland Karissa Martin, Miss North East Ohio Jenna Wilson, an Outstanding Teen whose name I missed, Miss Portsmouth Katie Camp and Ohio's Outstanding Teen Ashley Miller.

Emily Pheils wins the Spirit Award.

Jillian Dansko wins Interview.

A very happy Amy Allen, Fourth Runner-up.

Third Runner-up Courney Kania.

Sasha Eby juggles her Talent Award
and Second Runner-up flowers.

First Runner-up Jacki Jerlecki.

Ashley and Jenna, one of my favorite Miss Ohio roommates!

Kasey, Jillian and former Miss Ohio Renee Brown.

The traditional Miss Central Ohio photo!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Miss Central Ohio Non-Finalists Photos - Part 3

Blogger is often a huge pain when it comes to formatting small photos, so to make my life a little easier, you’ll need to scroll through four posts to see all the competition pictures. * Note, I've added pictures and talent info to the finalist post below.

Also, sometimes I don’t get a single good photo of a given contestant; other times I struggle to select which to post here, especially in Talent. I don’t mean to be unfair, but today I don’t feel like making those decisions so a few women have multiple pictures… If anyone would like to see more of their photos, feel free to email me.

Below, Carissa Cook tapped to "Cry of the Celts."

April O'Brien sang "Don't Rain on My Parade."

Below, Katie Bowen played "Hungarian Pastoral Fantasy" on the flute. Also, I had to post a photo of the back of her gown, because I just loved it! In person it was a great color choice for her hair and skin tone.