Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Another Photo Frenzy!

A photo of Katie Camp and John McCain which Jillian and I posted on our blogs is causing a bit of a stir. In addition to arguing about their favorite candidates, fans on the national Miss America message board (where the photo was also posted) are questioning whether contestants should proclaim her political views. What? Are you kidding me? I have meant to touch on this issue in depth since I started my first blog… It angers me pageant contestants are expected to have strong opinions of everything for the interview room, yet when they’re out in public, they’re supposed to be compliant, neutral pretty faces!

This is also the issue surrounding the “goofy” photo of visiting titleholders at Miss Mansfield posted below. It was copied and pasted on the anonymous Miss Ohio message board where someone incorrectly thought one of the ladies was throwing a gang sign and that they were not acting classy enough, considering some of them were wearing their crowns.

The content of my blog has been questioned in the past. In this particular case, I find the allegation that the "goofy" Miss Mansfield photo is inappropriate is absurd! Contestants are not robots, they have personalities!

I would like to share two of my favorite photos from my Miss Ohio years:

[Above, contestants have lunch at Long John Silver's; we later wore the paper pirate hats onstage during rehearsal. The photo below is also at rehearsal. We had a production number to a Madonna song, so we were all inspired by her "cone years!" I don't remember whose idea it was, but we all taped on pointy-bottomed water cups while practicing the number.
This is one of my fondest Miss Ohio memories!]

Below is the response I posted on the message board:

First, I maintain that I use extreme discretion when deciding what information and photos to share on my blog. You should see what I have access to on Facebook and the unflattering shots I take myself that I do NOT publish! Nor do I share everything I know. ;) As for the photo in question, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with titleholders looking and acting like real people, as opposed to plastic Barbie dolls, which brings me to point two…

* I * asked these women to do something fun. Do not berate them for not acting classy with their crowns on- they were complying with a single, short request. Had they told me “no,” someone who may have overheard them would be on this board complaining about their lack of personality, I guarantee it! Titleholders are damned if they do and damned if they don’t! If you are truly offended and disappointed by this photo, it is your right to have that opinion. I am relieved that opinion does not seem to be the majority! As I captioned this photo on my blog, I was tired of the same pretty picture and boring pose we see over and over… Yes, titleholders should be held to a certain standard, but I do not feel this photograph undermines that standard and there are no gang signs being thrown! All of them had either their E.D. or parent with them, and no one jumped in to say “don’t do that” or “Abby, don’t post that!”

Third, some people have commented on the physical condition of these contestants. This seems like common sense to me, but I guess I need to point out that clothing and camera angles make that a moot point. You can not tell in this photo, but two of these contestants seem to be in noticeably better shape than when they won their local, and ALL of them looked nice.

Finally, I want to apologize to these contestants; this was never meant to cause such drama, but this is what you inevitably deal with when you put yourself in the public eye. Thank you to those of you who have defended me. To those who are horribly offended, I highly suggest you take a look at the new era of a real and relatable Miss America.


  1. Don't worry Abby. I received nasty anonymous comments because I am a Republican. At least I think for myself and have opinions! I agree, people want us to have opinions and ideas but when it conflicts with theirs we are evil. You can't please everyone! Thanks for always giving me something to read during a long work day. I appreciate it.

  2. In my opinion, many of these comments show how out of touch many of the volunteers of the MOSP are with what is beautiful and wonderful about these individual women. Didn't the MAO leadership challenge the elders of the organization at Miss America, less than two short months ago, to allow these women to embrace what makes them real and relevent? It just continues to highlight what the real problems are in Ohio. The MOSP continues to distance itself from reality and it will continue to suffer for it.

  3. I am sick of all the bashing that has been posted on the voy forums. When my daughter entered the locals, I was warned about the "boards" and the vile comments posted there. After reading the last strain of complaining and whining that has gone on by women who have obvious jealousy issues, I am worried for my daughter. Even though she does not currently wear a crown, God help her if she does.
    I find it sad that you (Abby) have to constantly defend yourself. After meeting you, I know that you only have the best intentions for the organization and the girls involved. I would like to personally thank you for taking pictures at the locals. I have been able to pull beautiful pictures from your web site and print them.

  4. Hear, hear!

    Whenever I step into an interview room I expect to be grilled about every political question possible- and I usually am. You're supposed to be picking a contestant who can think on her feet, and while there's obviously a line between speaking with intelligence and thought for who you are speaking to, I respect women who have opinions and back them up! No robots, please!

  5. THANK YOU all for your support! I'd write more, but I am beyond exhausted right now, with another 5 a.m. morning ahead of me....



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