Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Beast of Bashing

A few days ago I logged on the unofficial Miss Ohio message board to find an IP address from California had been warned about bashing. I knew it wasn’t me, but I felt I should clarify that to maintain the credibility of this blog, since many know I'm in LA.

Bashing is a difficult issue; sometimes a poster is just being sarcastic or funny, but someone else will take it as bashing. There will always be pageant contestants that you don’t like, whether you just don’t “get” them, you’re jealous of them or have a valid personal experience for wanting to knock the crown off their head with a combat boot! I know it’s hard to do sometimes, but we all need to remember that no good is served by identifying your least favorite contestants.

People like to think pageants are full of catfights, but I've discovered in the past few days that basing is not exclusively and issue of pageantry - it's an internet issue!

Thank you to everyone who voted for my roommate to become the new host of Mahalo Daily. After an Apprentice style interview spoof, she is now a Top 2 finalist for the job! Under each of the videos there are viewer comments and it is getting pretty nasty! Luckily for my roommate, her competition comes of as a conceded snob and Mahalo viewers are not shy about pointing it out. The poor girl has tried to defend herself, but I think she’s only made it worse. CLICK HERE to read some first-class non-pageant bashing!

Pageant Press: Here she is, Miss America...

Here she is, Miss America

Scribe sets up beauty of a meeting

By Steve Buckley

Saturday, May 31, 2008

DETROIT - One September night in 1987, Regina Hardy was watching the Miss America pageant on television when she found herself particularly moved by the responses of Miss Michigan, otherwise known as Kaye Lani Rae Rafko.

Hardy, who had recently learned she was expecting a baby, was also a Michigan native, born and raised in Detroit...

She named her baby K’Loni Thorpe.

Click here to read how sports and circumstance lead to their meeting 20 years later. [Photo by Matt Stone.]

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Miss State Season has Begun!

Congratulations to the new Miss Rhode Island,
Francesca Simone!

Talent: opera, "Nessun Dorma" from Turandot
Platform: Alzheimer's Disease Awareness
She won the state title on her third attempt.
Awards: Talent and Academic

Congratulations to the new Miss New Hampshire,
Natalie Shaw!

"A 23-year-old 2006 cum laude graduate of Plymouth State University, where she earned her Bachelor's of Arts degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy... She is currently a full time music teacher..."

Talent: vocal, "Climb Every Mountain" from The Sound of Music
Platform: Hunger Relief
She won the state title on her sixth attempt!
Awards: Interview and Talent

State Pageants by Date:

May 3: Miss New Hampshire Pageant
May 23 – May 24: Miss Rhode Island Pageant
May 31: Miss District of Columbia Pageant

June 1 – June 7: Miss New Mexico Pageant
June 2 – June 7: Miss Kansas Pageant
June 4 – June 7: Miss Oklahoma Pageant
June 4 – June 7: Miss Alabama Pageant
June 4 – June 7: Miss Missouri Pageant
June 4 – June 7: Miss South Dakota Pageant
June 5 – June 7: Miss Nebraska Pageant
June 12 – June 14: Miss Delaware Pageant
June 12 – June 14: Miss Iowa Pageant
June 12 – June 14: Miss Montana Pageant
June 12 – June 14: Miss New Jersey Pageant
June 13 – June 14: Miss Minnesota Pageant
June 13 – June 14: Miss Idaho Pageant
June 14: Miss Wyoming Pageant
June 14 – June 16: Miss North Dakota Pageant
June 15 – June 22: Miss Maryland Pageant
June 17 – June 21: Miss Illinois Pageant
June 17 – June 21: Miss Michigan Pageant
June 17 – June 21: Miss North Carolina Pageant
June 17 – June 21: Miss Ohio Pageant
June 18 – June 21: Miss Indiana Pageant
June 18 – June 21: Miss Tennessee Pageant
June 19 – June 21: Miss Arizona Pageant
June 19 – June 21: Miss Louisiana Pageant
June 19 – June 21: Miss West Virginia Pageant
June 19 – June 21: Miss Wisconsin Pageant
June 20 – June 21: Miss Maine Pageant
June 20 – June 22: Miss Colorado Pageant
June 21: Miss Virgin Islands
June 24 – June 28: Miss Mississippi Pageant
June 25 – June 28: Miss California Pageant
June 25 – June 28: Miss Georgia Pageant
June 26 – June 28: Miss Oregon Pageant
June 26 – June 28: Miss Virginia Pageant
June 27 – June 28: Miss Connecticut Pageant
June 27 – June 28: Miss Massachusetts Pageant

July 1 – July 5: Miss South Carolina Pageant
July 1 – July 5: Miss Texas Pageant
July 2 - July 5: Miss Florida Pageant
July 11 – July 12: Miss Washington Pageant
July 8 – July 12: Miss Utah Pageant
July 9 – July 12: Miss Pennsylvania Pageant
July 11: Miss Hawaii
July 13 – July 18: Miss Nevada Pageant
July 16 – July 19: Miss Arkansas Pageant
July 17 – July 19: Miss Kentucky Pageant
July 17 – July 19: Miss New York Pageant
July 19: Miss Alaska Pageant

Friday, May 23, 2008

Please Vote for Leah!

My LA roommate, Leah D'Emilio (who was also the first Face of FOX Toledo) is a top 6 finalist to win a coveted VLOG/ webisode host position.

She is in a tight race for first with two other women.

There is actually a poll up now that you can easily vote on; my apologies to those of you I emailed last week when all you could do was leave comments.

It only takes a moment and you don't have to register to vote. Not only is she my friend, but there is rent to be paid, so I'm really trying to help her get the job! FYI, if you click on each finalists name on the poll, it will take you to their video.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cribs: Miss Ohio at Primrose

Wow, I think this place looks pretty nice! Much larger than I expected. The group of contestants who visited Primrose on Community Service day got to see it in person, but thanks to Roberta for sharing these photos for the rest of us.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Pageant Poll: Miss Ohio and Primrose

It was announced at Community Service weekend that the new Miss Ohio will get a condo in Mansfield at Primrose Retirement Community. Living arrangements are a perk few states can afford their winner. She will be expected to interact with the residents, for example, having weekly tea with the ladies. Obviously she'll have to follow certain rules, such as appropriate attire when she uses the dining facilities, no male guests after a certain hour, etc... (Direct Link to poll if image below fails.)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Breaking Miss Ohio News!

* The new Miss Ohio will get a condo in Mansfield at Primrose, a retirement community. They're working to get it furnished; she will get to use their workout room and eat free at their dining facility. She will also get a convertible to drive for the year.

* Miss Brookville, Amanda Pitcock, has dropped out.

The Problematic Priority of Pageantry

This weekend the Miss Ohio contestants were in Mansfield for Community Service Weekend, an event started in 2002 or 2003, I believe. Check out Amy’s blog to view the groupings of contestants and which facilities they visited. The weekend also included a Bowl-a-thon to raise money for MOSP.

In my experience, community service weekend was sometimes rewarding, like the year I painted a Habitat for Humanity home; other years it felt a bit contrived, like when I merely toured a state owned care facility and then had to eat their horrible lunch. The event has been a work in progress and hopefully this year all the women feel like their time is well spent.

Unfortunately, not all the contestants are able to participate this weekend; some ladies couldn’t make it to the Spring Forum either. This happens every single year and is always followed by grumbling on the unofficial message board.

I was not only compelled to respond there, but I think the issue warrants this blog entry.

The argument is that women who do not show up to these mandatory Miss Ohio events don’t have heart in the program. Some say Miss Ohio must not be a priority to them and ask how they will handle the job of Miss Ohio if they can’t show up to these events? Others feel that it’s just not fair to the girls who do follow all the rules and attend all the events.

I totally understand the idea that everyone should be held to the same standard. I agree it’s frustrating to think not everyone is spending money on gas and giving up their time equally. To be very candid – I remember one of my first years competing - a contestant attending college out of state couldn’t make it back for something. I jumped right on the “it’s not fair… I’m obviously more committed than she is...” bandwagon. I was upset because she had done better than me in the past and I knew she’d do better than me again, even thought she didn’t attend the stupid, mandatory event and I had. How’s that for some self defeat! In retrospect I was so clearly jealous and lacked confidence.

First and foremost, if that’s where your head is, you’re not on your best game. YOUR is the operative word; we all know you compete against yourself in pageants, but truly knowing and living that is a whole other, difficult thing. E.D.s and parents, if you have this type of bad attitude, please realize it’s just as bad as adding butter and sugar to all of your contestants’ meals!

Okay, so once you just get over yourself, I think there’s another issue at hand, an issue that you may not see if you’re either a contestant involved in the program with blind faith, or a longtime fan that is a bit overzealous and out of touch. (Of course I say that in the kindest possible way; I don’t mean to be rude, we all realize this program wouldn’t be possible without overzealous individuals.) Anyway, I’m done playing the role of perfect, rule abiding, unquestioning, contestant and now I realize two things: #1. It’s not realistic for a women’s number one priority to be pageants. #2. Pageant women sacrifice a great deal!

#1. Whether you’re a pageant contestant or working mom, the demands on women are greater than they’ve ever been. We’ve rightfully fought for career and educational equality, while still having to live up to beauty and domestic expectations. Pageant women are not only getting an education, they’re expected to have major academic accomplishments. They need to be involved with clubs and organizations in addition to tireless platform work. Don’t forget exercising and practicing your talent right after you feed starving children and before your write another 10 page paper! Oh yeah, then there’s wardrobe shopping, getting paperwork notarized and watching CNN 24/7.

Some may say that’s just the way it is and if a woman can’t handle it, then she shouldn’t compete. I’m cynical, but I’m not that cold. I understand it’s a difficult journey. In order to have a stellar pageant resume and amazing experiences to talk about in any interview, you have to have a lot on your plate. If your world only revolves around pageants, I think you’ve missed the point and I doubt you’re well rounded enough to be a successful contestant. The thousands of state and local contestants each year who never become Miss America need nonpageant experiences to get real jobs in the real world.

In the extremely busy months of April and May it is not at all surprising that a titleholder will have other obligations like musical/theatrical performances, end of the semester requirements and graduation. If fulfilling these requirements means a woman has to miss Spring Forum or Community Service weekend, I don’t necessarily think that means the pageant isn’t important to her. Further, it does not indicate an inability to do the job, as most Miss States take a year off from school or work.

If, for example, a woman is a theatre major, you can’t honestly expect her to forgo a role in a production, can you? Given the education emphasis of this scholarship program, wouldn’t that be hypocritical?

#2. Sadly, many women do forgo other opportunities and E.D., parents, fans and even the contestants themselves refuse to acknowledge the sacrifice. Pageants are subjective contests, yet we compete over and over again based on hope! We’re taught that perseverance is a rewarded quality and we ignore the jobs drawbacks and the competitions odds.

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for the things I learned from pageants – poise and stage presence, interview skills, emotional endurance, people skills, confidence, determination; the list goes on and on… But, I put all my eggs in the pageant basket, so to speak. I never really came close to winning Miss Ohio and I missed out on other opportunities.

For me, it was summer stock theatre; as a theatre major it could have gotten me class credit as well as valuable experience and lines on my acting resume, but it always conflicted with Miss Ohio. I’ve known of other contestants for whom winning would have meant taking a year off a very lucrative job and no longer being about to afford their home or car! State pageants make finding a good summer job very difficult, as most don’t want to give a seasonal employee that much time off. Think of the women who just graduate, then have to wait until a pageant is over to figure out their career!

I know some of you will not agree with a word of this – you so truly believe in the pageant ideal that you can’t possibly define it as anything less than the best opportunity this world has to offer young women! As a contestant I lived in that romanticized place too, but looking back, especially considering my abysmal Miss Ohio record, I wish I had taken at least a year off to pursue other opportunities.

Therefore, I can’t possibly judge the women who have to miss Forum or the stupid Bowl-a-thon. They’re probably better contestants thanks to whatever they were doing instead and they’ll have less pageant-related regrets in the future!

I hope this blog entry was not a huge downer to current contestants. My intent was quite the opposite; I want E.D.s, parents, fans and contestants to be supportive and respectful of all the things going on in each others lives.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Think you can do my job?

Prior to moving to LA, I traveled to high schools across Ohio and Michigan giving presentations about college and career success with a company called Making It Count, a division of Monster.

The company is now recruiting speakers for the fall semester.

The job is equally rewarding and challenging. Here are some facts about it:

- On average speakers give 5 to 20 presentations per semester, depending on their availability and the amount of interested schools in their area. I gave nearly 40 presentations in nine weeks because there didn't seem to be other speakers in my area and I only turned down one presentation.

- High schools contact the corporate office, then regional managers dispatch speakers. It's flexible because you can turn down presentations, but obviously the more you accept and the easier you are to work with, the more work your regional manager will give you.

- Obviously you need to be available during the school day. I think it could work for a student who only has class a couple days a week, or night classes; as well as stay-at-home parents, part time employees or independent contractors in another capacity.

- I would often have to get up very early, like 5 a.m., to travel to a school. At some schools you might give two presentations (one to juniors and one to seniors). I never attended multiple schools in one day due to travel; I imagine in urban areas that would be more likely.

- Payment starts at $100 per presentation and increases based on the distance you travel. For most presentations you are responsible for your own reliable transportation and gas compensation is meager.

- A minimum of 100 students are required; the maximum amount of students each speaker can handle is determined at the training weekend.

- A three-day training and orientation weekend takes place in Dayton, Ohio. At this weekend you must become "certified."

- New speakers begin with two different presentations per semester. Presentations are 40 to 60 minutes long (depending on the length of the assembly the school allocates). You may reference the workbook that the students fill in as you deliver the presentation, so memorizing it is not as difficult as it may seem. Notes and answers may be written in your workbook, but you can't read directly from it like it's a storybook and you must learn to juggle the workbook, microphone and other visual aids.

- This is a NATIONAL company; target recruitment areas for the fall are:

Hartford, CT, Cleveland, OH, Phoenix, AZ, Minneapolis, MN, Detroit, MI, Rochester, NY, Buffalo, NY, Syracuse, NY, Yonkers, NY, Albuquerque, NM, Birmingham, AL, San Antonio, TX, Cincinnati, OH, Green Bay, WI, Los Angeles, CA, Santa Barbara, CA, San Bernardino, CA, Boston, MA, Richmond, VA, South Texas, Toledo, OH , Pittsburgh, PA , Morgantown, WV , Shreveport, LA , New Orleans, LA , New York, New York

- In my opinion, this job requires the perfect balance of presentation and speaking skills, professionalism and personality.

Do you think it's right for you? I can think of several of my readers, and not just contestants, who may do well as a MIC speaker.

If you're up for it, act quickly because I believe the application deadline is fast approaching.

List me as your referral and let me know that you did so - then I will alert the recruitment manager and she will keep an eye out for your submission.


I'd be happy to answer any questions and give further advice; again- list me as a referral and let me know that you did!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Pageant women have many mothers to be grateful for:
Both our own and the numerous female E.D.s and volunteers.

Here' s wishing you all a beautiful day!

A photo tribute to my many moms...

Above, I could never say enough about the support of my own mom. It's not easy, but I try to be more like her ever day.
Click here for a recently posted picture of my Grandma G.

Below, I know I've said it here a million times before, but I was so lucky to have Ginny and Brenda as my hostess/chaperon all five years; it takes a very special person to agree to watch over a pageant contestant during a very stressful competition week. By special, I think I mean crazy... and I know I mean wonderful!

Maria, a wonderful friend who goes far above and beyond the call of duty; all your pageant women are so grateful your husband and kids share you with us!!! My boyfriend's mom Cecilia and her friend Mary were such sweet supporters my last two years!

Family is the best! Above, my cousins Kate and Chelsea, for whom Miss Ohio was a vacation my first few years; above right, my aunt Marjie (Yikes! How did I win a pageant with that hair?).

Right, cousin and huge supporter and pageant enthusiast Nancy with daughter Chloe, Miss America Erica Dunlap and I.

Linda of Maumee Valley is shorter than Eric, but she keeps the show going! Shirly and Mary of Northwestern Ohio have kindness and personality that sparkle like these outfits!

Amy of Northwestern Ohio make motherhood look fantastic!
And her mother-in-law Bonnie was such a sweet hostess to me for two years.

Two crazy crews:
I had a blast with Debbie and Ronda of Miami Valley...

As well as Melissa and the late Donna of Lorain County.

Another real young mom and E.D. who somehow makes it look easy, Melissa of Lake Festival.

Above, everyone's mom, Sharon, Miss Ohio's contestant coordinator and oh my gosh, my friends are having babies now! Congrats Allison!

Sharon's right hand woman is Carla and below, Diane, is a good friend's mom.

Although pageantry is competitive, most people realize it's subjective and your biggest competition is yourself. Thus, in the absence of your own mom, someone else's mom is usually willing to temporarily adopt you!

Thank you to all the moms for always being there for us!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Catching Up With Miss America, Kirsten Haglund

Above, Kristen poses for Savvy magazine and below for Superodels Unlimited.

Below Kirsten celebrates the 100th anniversary of the
U.S. Army Reserves.

Below she comforts a child in the presence of G.W. Do you think she's saying, "It's okay honey, he makes us all cry!"?

Below Kirsten hangs out at the Honda Grand Prix,
where she was the Grand Marshal.

CLICK HERE for more photos of her travels.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Miss Ohio 2008 Seniority Stats

Oh wait, not that kind of seniority, this kind:

Miss Ohio Freshmen (or first year state competitors)

1. Samantha Eggars - Broadway vocal - Open City
2. Krystle Formosa - Broadway vocal - South Central Ohio
4. Courtney Kania - harp - Heart of Ohio
5. Katie Wolford - Broadway vocal - Cuyahoga Valley
6. Heather Wells - jazz dance - Maple City
7. Katie Camp - tap dance – Portsmouth
13. Victoria Miller - dance - Buckeye State
14. Heather Waterman - vocal - Lake Festival
15. Amy Allen - vocal - Southern Ohio
17. Megan Wombacker - tap dance - Scioto Valley
18. Shannon O'Neil - vocal - West Central Ohio
20. Kristie Moneysmith - country vocal - Chillicothe
21. Brandi Herceg - dance - Ohio Valley
26. Amanda Pitcock - monologue - Brookville

Miss Ohio Sophomores

8. Jessica Barrett - Broadway vocal - All American City
9. Karissa Martin - Broadway vocal - Clayland
10. Erica Gelhaus - opera - Northwestern Ohio
12. Christie Youssef - harp – Mansfield *3 years at Miss CA*
22. Alyssa Hanson - Broadway vocal - Miami Valley
23. Andrea Andryscik - vocal - Greater Cleveland
28. Emily Cousino - vocal - Fallen Timbers
27. Jenna Wilson - vocal - North East Ohio

Miss Ohio Juniors

3. Sophia Davis - dance – Hamilton
11. Kristen Haas - dance - North Coast
16. Becky Minger - vocal - Maumee Valley

Miss Ohio Seniors

24. Jillian Dansko - tap dance - Central Ohio
19. Kasey Wilson - opera- Lake Erie
25. Nanciann Strosnider -Broadway vocal - Northern Ohio

* Again, leave a comment with any corrections.