More than 100 people were in attendance at the Tuscarawas County Center for the Arts on Sunday afternoon to offer their best wishes to Karissa Martin. Martin will arrive Jan. 15 in Las Vegas, Nev., to compete for the title of Miss America.
“I’ll be there bright and early,” said Martin of Woodsfield. “I have a 7 a.m. flight, and then once I arrive they’ll take all of the girls to Planet Hollywood.”
Martin was crowned Miss Clayland in the fall of 2007 and competed in and won the Miss Ohio pageant last June 21 at Mansfield. She plans to sing the same number, “Girl in 14-G,” for the Miss America Pageant but noted that her wardrobe has been somewhat varied since the Miss Ohio competition.
Featured on Sunday were the many dresses and gowns Martin will wear during the Jan. 24 pageant and its preliminary contests. Martin also modeled the two-piece, black and aqua suit she will wear during the swimsuit phase of competition. The contest is set to be broadcast on TLC from 8 to 10 p.m. Currently on TLC, viewers can watch “Countdown to the Crown” on Friday nights at 10. Martin, 20, believes the program was “very tastefully done” and added that she had “a great time.”
“Go, green team!” Martin said enthusiastically as she explained that all of the contestants, especially those on her green team, have grown very close during the taping of “Countdown.”
“They’re like sisters to me now,” she said.
While showing off the black, strapless gown that she will wear for the talent portion of the pageant, Martin performed several numbers including Barbra Streisand’s “Don’t Rain on My Parade.”
“The talent portion is absolutely my favorite part of any pageant,” she said. “I’ve been performing since the age of 6, and besides my speaking skills, it’s the best way to connect with the audience.”
Martin said her experience as Miss Ohio so far has been extraordinary.
“It’s been amazing, really,” she said. “All of the people have been so supportive and wonderful.
I’ve grown so much and learned not only about the state of Ohio but also about myself. “
Martin won’t be alone while she competes for the title of Miss America.
“I’m going to have several friends and family there, and some of the other contestants from Miss Ohio will be there as well. Also, the Miss Ohio Board and Martha Campbell, the director of the Miss Clayland pageant,” Martin said.
Campbell remembered with pride that it was 1977 when Susan Perkins, formerly Miss Clayland, won the Miss America 1978 pageant. In 1984, another Miss Clayland almost took the national title, finishing as first runner-up to Miss Utah Charlene Wells. Campbell said she thinks Martin has a good chance of achieving a similar goal.
“I have no doubt that she’ll do well in representing Ohio,” Campbell said. “She’s an amazing young woman who is so prepared to be there. We have no worries about her abilities.”
Martin, who always appears confident, believes she’s ready to go.
“My goal is to give it my best in representing this area and this state,” said Martin, a petite redhead with bright blue eyes. “It’s in the Lord’s hands now, and I just hope I can bring home the crown.”
The link below features a second sendoff article that is shorter with no additional information or photos.
And finally..."Miss Ohio ready for Miss America competition"
January 4, 2008
"'Countdown to the Crown' set"
By Deanna Jamison Times Leader
January 2, 2009
[Above: WOODSFIELD resident Karissa Martin, who is Miss Ohio, at left, and Kirsten Haglund, Miss America 2008, tour Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles. Martin and the other Miss America contestants have been participating in a four-part reality series, “Miss America: Countdown to the Crown.” Premiere of Countdown to the Crown is scheduled tonight.]
A WOODSFIELD resident, who is Miss Ohio, has been participating in a new addition to the 2009 Miss America Pageant.
The pageant promises to be filled with all of the pageant glitz and glamour fans have become accustomed to, but this year the network, which is host for the pageant, has thrown in a new twist. TLC will hold a four-part reality series called "Miss America: Countdown To The Crown" prior to the pageant.
Having won the Miss Clayland pageant and then going on to win the title of Miss Ohio, Woodsfield's own Karissa Martin had the opportunity to participate in the "Countdown to the Crown."
The journey started for the contestants in mid-September with the contestants only being told that they were flying into Los Angeles. "That was the scariest thing, not knowing where exactly we were going to be filming. We were simply told that we would be flying into L.A.," said the Monroe County resident.
"The Queen Mary was absolutely beautiful so I was relieved when we arrived," said Martin. "Then we got to spend three weeks in L.A., getting to know the girls on a more personal level. It was absolutely amazing - I will cherish the memories forever."
Typically, the Miss America contestants don't get to meet each other until the week prior to the pageant airing when they arrive to begin competitions.
"Countdown to the Crown" enabled the contestants to spend three weeks together and really get to know each other. "We got to know each other on a deeper level, not at a competition level. We got to know what makes each other tick. That enables us to truly be happier for the winner," adds Martin.
Although the three weeks kept the contestants quite busy, Martin seemed to manage a little "playtime" as well. "My roommate was Miss Hawaii; everyone knows that the Queen Mary is said to be haunted so we would play little jokes on each other to make each other think it truly was, just to try to relax a little."
When asked what her most memorable experience was, Martin said, "The friendships that I have developed and the memories mean the world to me. I will never forget this experience. I would definitely do this again."
Martin, whose parents are Ron and Sheila Martin of Woodsfield, is a junior at West Liberty State College, majoring in music/theater communications.
"Countdown to the Crown" will premiere tonight at 10/9c as the 52 contestants compete to have their ultimate crowning moment.
The four-part TLC series will capture the excitement of the pageant as the 52 Miss America contestants live together and face off in challenges that help them better prepare for the iconic pageant.
Each one-hour episode, with Tyler Harcott as host, will find the contestants living on the majestic Queen Mary ocean liner and navigating through a series of team and individual competitions that will help them prepare for the pageant and prove they have what it takes to be a modern-day Miss America.
Through it all, viewers at home get to know the girls, and ultimately have a hand in voting four contestants into the pageant's top 15.
"For the first time ever, America has the chance to be a judge and select four of the contestants they think deserve to make it into the pageant," said Brent Zacky, vice president of development at TLC. "By giving viewers the chance to get to know the girls during "Countdown to the Crown," we are confident four great contestants will take the stage in January to compete for the Miss America title."
Two consultants, Kym Douglas and Anthony Mark Hankins, will guide the 52 women through their experience and decide which contestant is best prepared for the 2009 title and tiara.
The contestants are expected to push their personal limits to win a gold sash and advance into the "top 15" at the Miss America pageant, which airs live on TLC from Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas on Jan. 24.
Voting begins after the 15 gold-sash finalists are selected and will be conducted via text messaging and on TLC.com/Miss America.