Saturday, February 28, 2009

Word on the Web...

Miss Bay Village: Emily Phiels

1st Runner-up: Jacki Jerlecki
2nd Runner-up: Hollie Hongosh

Swimsuit: Jackie
Talent: Hollie
Interview: Jackie

Change of plans...

Sorry folks, I am not at Bay Village. I asked Jay, the ED, to let me know if he got another offer to take pictures and indeed he did from a Miss Ohio board member. It's not that I didn't want to go; I typically don't mind driving but my sleep schedule is on its side and if I didn't have to drive two hours late at night on minimal rest, I figured I shouldn't... As with all my decisions for today, I regret not going, but such is life.

Best of Luck to the Miss Bay Village Program!

Tonight in Bay Village a brand new Miss Ohio local will take place. The pageant will begin at 7 p.m. in Bay High School's auditorium. At the last minute the scheduled photographer canceled; I had other plans but since I'm a softy for pageants I'll be attending to take pictures instead. I'm no professional, but am better than nothing! I will post results from my phone as soon as my camera duties are done.*

The following nine women will vie for the inaugural crown:

Jen Ciccone has a Bachelor's degree in PR and Marketing from Mercyhurst College and is now a second year student at Ave Maria School of Law. She will sing "For Good" from the Broadway hit Wicked and her platform is "Be the Change: Be a Buddy Not a Bully." This is her first MAO local, but she has previously competed at Miss Ohio USA.

Sherry El Sakr
became my Facebook "friend" a couple weeks ago, but now her profile has been removed. I don't recall her school or major, just that she's from Cleveland. I do remember that the only pageant-talent-type hobby listed was dancing.

Krystle Formosa won the Americanism essay award at Miss Ohio last year as Miss South Central Ohio. She's a vocalist who often sings "Think of Me" from Phantom of the Opera. Krystle studies Fashion Merchandising at Kent State University; her platform is "serving children for a better tomorrow." This season she's been First Runner-up and Talent winner at Ohio Valley and competed at North Coast and Maple City.

Hollie Hongosh attends Wittenberg University where she studies International Relations and French. Her platform is "bringing the world home." This is her second MAO local, having been Second Runner-up and Talent winner recently at Miss Maple City, singing "Mein Herr Marquis," aka "The Laughing Song" from Strauss' opera Die Fledermaus.

Alicia Huyghe studies Biology and Dance Education at Cleveland State University. She is a tap dancer who advocates "Going Green" as her pageant platform. Last season she was Fourth Runner-up at Miss Mansfield; this season she has competed at several locals.

Jackie Jerlecki is a Musical Theatre student at Bowling Green State University (Go Falcons!). She is a vocalist who promotes arts in schools. 'Jackie' narrowly missed competing at Miss Ohio last year, placing First Runner-up at Miss Central and the first Sweeps pageant. She was First Runner-up yet again at Maple City three weeks ago.

Ashley Miller is a former Miss Ohio's Outstanding Teen. She is a vocalist and student at the University of Rio Grande. Her platform deals with drug prevention. This season she placed Third Runner-up at Miss Portsmouth/Scioto Valley and competed in Maple City.

Maria Minnick
is a freshman at the University of Toledo and a jazz dancer. Having been the Lucas County Fair Queen, her platform is "Getting Youth Involved within the 4-H Community." I believe this is her fourth MAO local.

Emily Pheils
is a Marketing and Popular Culture student at Bowling Green State University (Go Falcons!). Her platform is the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty and this 19 year old will sing. Emily is active in National American Miss pageants and Miss America locals.

Best of luck to everyone and as always, comment or emails with updates and corrections.

* I don't want to answer the question "I thought you were in LA?" a thousand times at the pageant, so let me explain here:
Since last April I've shared an apartment in Los Angeles with Leah D'Emilio and my car and most of my wardrobe are there, but my love and major parts of my life are still here in Ohio. I am very much part-time in both locations. I by no means lead a glamorous get-setting life; it is very lonely when I'm in LA and equally stressful in Ohio. Between auditions and these uncertain economic times, it's difficult schedule anything - short or long term. As for my job, in addition to auditioning, I work as a tour guide at Universal Studios where getting shifts hinges on tourist, so this time of year I'm not missing any.

Friday, February 27, 2009

A better look at Miss America at the Oscars

This website posted the following photos and video of Miss America, Katie Stam, getting ready for the charity Oscar party last weekend; her hair is being done by celebrity stylist and Miss America 2009 judge.

Above: Barbi and Ken... I mean, Katie and Ken.
In these larger pictures there is more I like, but overall I'm still not crazy about the look. The skirt is beautiful, very Barbi doll, but I still don't think the top looks right with it.

Nor do I like the huge Dolly Parton earrings; she's not on the pageant stage anymore! Her hair in these pictures is stunning, especially in comparison to the first shots we saw.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Best Job on in the World!

When Leah D'Emilio and I met on BGSU's award winning Forensics (Speech) team, I told her she should do pageants. Lucky for me and everyone else, pageants weren't her thing and she didn't have time anyway!

She graduated with a Bachelors and Masters in Communication in only four years, she studied abroad in Italy, she sang weekly at her church and also plays guitar and piano, she was doing local CMN commercials before it became Miss America's national platform. Oh, and she's naturally gorgeous...

We now share an apartment in Los Angeles, though we never see each other. For the past year she's hosted a podcast/vlog called Mahalo Daily; yes, that word is Hawaiian, but now she's set her sights even farther into the Pacific. She is one of tens of thousands of applicants across the globe vying for a six month job blogging, vlogging and being an island caretaker on the islands of the Great Barrier Reef!

On Monday Tourism Queensland will select the Top 50 candidates from all the video submissions and narrow it down from there. To help make the cut, Leah needs her video to be viewed and rated as much as possible.

First, it is imperative that you CLICK HERE and watch and rate the video on the company's website. (This website does take a moment to load.)

Next, watch the video on YouTube:

Please rate the video on YouTube and leave comments! Also, join the Facebook Group, Help Leah get to Australia for the best job in the world.

Of course I'm bias, but Leah is so perfect for this job! Oh, and that's my beta fish she's feeding in #10; his name is Michael Phelps and he is now a bigger fish in the world of entertainment than me...!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Teen Idols: Vote for Jasmine

To vote former Mississippi OT Jasmine Murray to the Top 12 on American Idol call 1866IDOLS01 or AT&T users can text VOTE to 5701. Lines are open "for at least the next two hours."

More from National Pancake Day: Miss Fallen Timber's Outstanding Teen

*Scroll below for pictures of Miss Ohio, Karissa Martin and Miss Fallen Timbers, Becky Minger at National Pancake Day,
as well as my thoughts about this and other events.*

Yesterday in Lakewood Miss Fallen Timber's Outstanding Teen, Sarah Eash, visited an IHOP to raise money for CMN.While there, Sarah met a true CMN Miracle; this young man was born premature in at University Hospital. He has had ongoing medical treatment, including tubes in his sides for kidney problems, which were just removed! Stating that CMN saved his life, he purchased a paper balloon.
Finally, here is Sarah with the manager.
On the National Message Board comments were made about being sick of hearing about IHOP and I'm sure some of you are wondering why I've taken it upon myself to push National Pancake Day...

As I've stated before, I think the CMN donation contestants are required to make to compete at every level is nothing more than an entry fee, which negates one of the (former) distinguishing characteristics of this pageant system. However, I think CMN is a great organization and I do feel it's good to have a national platform in place so the new Miss America automatically has nationwide charity appearances and notoriety.

Why have I pushed National Pancake Day? Well, Ohio isn't exactly pageant country. I know from experience that no one is knocking down Miss' doors for non-platform appearances; titleholders and EDs have to go out and find events! The trouble is, you have to have time and connections, which I totally understand are hard to come by. When I was the Face of FOX Toledo, every event I attended made me say, "a pageant woman could/should be doing this!" The difference was expertise and exposure - my boss, who scheduled things, was the PR manager for the TV station and people wanted "the girl from TV" at their functions and news coverage I might (but usually didn't) bring.

To build experience and promote the program, I think it's critical that local titleholders actually do events. Thus, National Pancake Day excited me because it required virtually no effort and there's a built in reason for why some chick in a crown was wondering around a restaurant! All you had to do was call and show up at an IHOP! I think the national or state organization should have sent each local a fill-in-the-blanks press release to send out to their local IHOP and news sources, but since that doesn't seem to happen, it's up to local EDs and titleholders. The past three years National Pancake Day has been on Mardi Gras; so mark your calendars now, it's February 16 in 2010.

While I was the Face of FOX Toledo, I attended a lot of things that I would have not otherwise heard of - in addition to lots of appearances at specific charity events, I emceed and rode in festival parades, emceed and judged community pageants, I participated in a "Celebrity Containers" thing, basically planting flowers on stage at a home show, I sang the national anthem at a Monster Truck rally (not my favorite of events...), I drew the winners of a big radio station give-away, I gave out awards at school assemblies, among other things... So, my advice to titleholders, EDs and parents is to pay attention to what's going on in your community! Listen to the radio and read newspapers and websites for upcoming planning meetings and events, make calls to introduce yourself and get involved. Every time something pageant-related happens on TV, get on a morning radio show to weigh in and if there's a parade, festival or community pageant in your area, you'd better be part of it! When you see something after the fact that makes you say "I shoulda..." make a note and mark your calendar so you don't miss it next year.

I understand high school and college women are extremely busy but I also know that being involved will enhance your speaking skills and understanding of what it means to be Miss State and Miss America! If you don't value that understanding, I don't know why you're competing or serving as an ED...

Keeping-up with Karissa: IHOP Hopping for National Pancake Day

Miss Ohio, Karissa Martin, literally crossed the state yesterday to serve up pancakes and raise money for the Children's Miracle Network. I can't take credit for the witty title; that was the subject of the email she sent me containing these great photos:

In Cincinnati she attended a Dance Marathon (a popular CMN fundraiser on college campuses) and made pancakes with the IHOP mascot, Bonnie Blueberry.
Up in the Cleveland area they let her in the kitchen
at Steelyeard Commons...

... It looks like the Brookpark location sold a lot of balloons:
And finally, she poses with the staff in Elyria.
I don't know who her traveling companion is, but I thank whoever took these.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Miss Fallen Timbers Raises Money for CMN During IHOP's National Pancake Day

This morning I met a good friend, Jeff, for National Pancake Day at the greater Toledo area IHOP where Miss Fallen Timbers, Becky Minger, was helping to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network. As I pulled into a parking spot Jeff called, "Just checking where you are Miss, there's a line in here!"
A line? At 10 a.m. on a Tuesday?

Even in the full, colorful restaurant, the beautiful woman with the sparkling crown stood out, as she went to each table explaining CMN and collecting donations in exchange for paper hot air balloons to symbolize support. When Jeff and I purchased our balloons Becky had already collected seventy dollars in about fifteen minutes.

Although it was quite busy and the free pancakes they were giving away must have been lowering the bills, and thus, the tips, the waitstaff was still wonderful. They were so sweet and excited to have Becky there. The photo below includes visiting management from the national IHOP office.

They even brought out a cute griddle and cute guy so she could flip her own cakes. It made for a good photo op, but the griddle didn't get hot enough and the pancake batter eventually morphed into the shape of Micky Mouse instead of cooking ...

Becky has more great pictures on her blog. I should also be getting pictures of Miss Ohio, Karissa Martin, at an IHOP in Cleveland, Miss America, Katie Stam, in Los Angeles and possibly Miss All*American City's Outstanding Teen, Sophie Carter, in Perrysburg.

If you have pictures or news articles of a titleholder helping with National Pancake Day, please email me!

Yikes... 10 a.m. does not look good on me! As my loyal readers have noticed, I'm a night owl; I had actually pulled a college style "all-nighter" Monday night in hopes of tiring myself out and getting back on a normal sleep schedule. In the photo above, and presently, I'm running on zero sleep, coffee and pancakes!
I had a great morning eating pancakes with my friend Jeff, Miss Fallen Timbers Becky Minger and her delightful parents.
Mmmmm pancakes!

I know Becky raised at least $75, possibly more, going table to table selling CMN balloons. Photos soon!

Miss America, the Starlet

Two photos of Miss America, Katie Stam, at Leeza Gibbons' charity Oscar party have finally emerged. I don't know where they came from, or why they're so small; what I did hear is that her gown is, supposedly, vintage.

I do love vintage, but not in this case. It's hard to tell in these tiny pictures, but the top and bottom doesn't seem to look right together. Between the severe hair, black pump and big pageant earrings, I have to sadly say it's a good thing no one paid attention to her because she would be on the worst dressed list for sure. On the other hand, I thought she looked fantastic at the red carpet premier of He's Just Not That Into You recently in NYC [below].

The pageant world never ceases to amaze me...

A reigning local titleholder, Texas' Julia Anderson bested two muscle men to win ABC's True Beauty! I was ecstatic; she was not only my pick from the beginning, they pretty much had to give it to her because had the best record on the show. I am shocked, however, that there is very minimal talk about it on pageant message boards. I thought more people would be excited that a pageant woman was put in such a good light on national TV. I also expected a good deal of criticism toward her because in the final episode she participated in a topless photo shoot, covering herself with her arms; she also spoke about resigning her Teen Texas title for a public intoxication citation.

Whether in support or disapproval, I am shocked that there isn't more buzz around her win. The climate of pageant communities never ceases to amaze me! People will argue for days on end about the shade of a gown or how the birth control pill works, but when a local title emerges victorious after eight weeks on a reality show, there's nothing?!?!

Even more disappointing to me than how anonymous message boards react is how the national organization operates. It's been nearly 48 hours since Miss America, Katie Stam, attended a charity party in LA for the Oscars and a photo has not surfaced. I think her attendance was a huge accomplishment; it was the perfect combination of a high profile event that was still recognizable to mainstream audiences. I'm sure many of you thought, as I did, that this is the kind of event Miss America should be attending! Why, oh why can't a photo be released in a timely manner? We know photographers were everywhere! With Hollywood's finest out in force, I'm not surprised that she wasn't featured in the album, or any others, but I fail to understand why the MAO get a copy of a photo to circulate themselves!

Yesterday the organization did issue a tune-in alert regarding National Pancake Day. It featured a photo of Katie which was taken at an IHOP this fall while the contestants were in LA filming Countdown to the Crown. My problem with it, seen on the right, is that not only is it a generally unflattering picture of her, she's wearing her state crown (because she was still Miss Indiana at the time) with a Miss America sash. My guess is that all the ladies were taking pictures with the national sash for fun. Regardless, I think was tacky and unnecessary to include it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Miss America to Attend an Oscar "Party with a Purpose"

*Scroll below for a time sensitive
CMN National Pancake Day Alert*

Click here to open the poll in a new window.

Miss America 2009 Katie Stam Attends an Oscar "Party with a Purpose"

Miss America 2009 Katie Stam will attend Leeza Gibbons' Night to Make a Difference at Mr. Chow in L.A. on Sunday, February 22 as a special guest of "the hottest hairdresser in Hollywood" and 2009 Miss America Pageant judge, Ken Paves. The "party with a purpose" is being held by Leeza Gibbons and Olivia Newton John who have teamed up with music legend David Foster to bring awareness to their two charities, the Memory Foundation and the Cancer and Wellness Centre.

The event will feature a ten-course meal with signature cocktails catered by Mr. Chow; a VIP Touch Up Lounge with Ken Paves sponsored by Aveeno® Nourish+ Hair Care Collection; a live auction featuring one-of-a kind items and travel packages; musical performances by Grammy Award winning R&B songstress Thelma Houston, David Foster protégé and YouTube phenomenon, Charice Pempengco as well as other surprise musical guests.

In addition to celebrating the 81st Academy Awards, Leeza Gibbons Oscar Night at Mr. Chow will applaud some of Hollywood's celebrity philanthropists, honoring them as the evening's Ambassadors of Change.

The Ambassadors of Change include: Laila Ali, Jessica Biel, Cindy Crawford, John Paul Dejoria, Fran Drescher, Hilary Duff, David Foster, Leeza Gibbons, Melissa Gilbert, Erin Gray, Tony Hawk, Slash & Perla Hudson, Larry King, Ali Landry, Mario Lopez, Daryl McDaniels, Olivia Newton-John, Holly Robinson & Rodney Peete, Dr. Phil & Robin McGraw, Jane Seymour, Amy Smart and many others.

Katie is the perfect person to attend this party, as she constantly supports philanthropic efforts as the Goodwill Ambassador to the Children's Miracle Network and is the official spokesperson for Zerosmoke to help Americans get healthy and stop the smoking epidemic. Katie continues to also promote her personal platform with a passion for Community Service and Involvement.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

National Pancake Day Alert


I just saw a TV commercial for IHOP's National Pancake Day, which raises money for CMN, with whom Miss America also has a partnership. It's this Tuesday, February 24th from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

If you are a titleholder, ED, parent, or even local contestant, I think you should contact your local IHOP immediately! See if you can be a celebrity pancake flipper or server; perhaps you could sit in the entry way and sign autographs and explain the charity. Also find out if that restaurant is getting media coverage. If so, contact that paper or station to let them know you will be there too; form a positive relationship so they will include you in this, and future events. If not, send your own press releases and follow-up, in hopes of securing your own coverage. (Click here for press release writing tips and click on the links above and CNN article below to become familiar with the rhetoric CMN and Miss America use for this event.)

The final step should be emailing pictures to me to post here! Happy pancake flipping!

Pancake Press:

Newly Crowned Miss America 2009 Flips for Kids

"It is a great honor to be the National Goodwill Ambassador for Children's Miracle Network and to serve as a spokesperson for their fundraising partnership with IHOP on National Pancake Day," said Katie.

Pancake Pictures:

Miss Ohio 2007 Roberta Camp

Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund

Miss America 2007 Lauren Nelson

I feel the CMN donation is a thinly veiled entry fee; nevertheless, CMN is a good cause and if you're a serious competitor your stilettos, crown and smile had better be in an IHOP this Tuesday!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Former Miss Ohio USA Gets Voted off the Island

Actually, I don't think it's an island this season, but whatever...

Never mind age before beauty, in Tocantins it's attitude before beauty! Former Miss Ohio USA Candice Smith was the second voted off the new season of Survivor because tribe-mates thought she was too negative. Click here for an article.

Interviews Attire Ins and Outs

Miss America is changing; if you weren't aware of that, you might want to find a new hobby! I'm bringing this up again because I've been asked recently about interview attire by a few different people. It's a tricky topic, but here are my opinions, complete with photo examples.

The new trend is to wear fashion forward, realistic outfits, as opposed to stiff, stuffy, matchy-matchy skirt suits. I think my old interview suits are beautiful, but I could never wear them for a real job interview or in a professional office environment - one is bright green silk and the other is lined with sparkling white fringe! Like a bridesmaid dress, I told myself I could wear them again, but I can not; they scream "PAGEANT" and I am jealous of current contestants who can now purchase interview outfits that also fit in other parts of their life.

I'm not saying skirt and pant suits are completely "out," rather, they should be more contemporary and dresses and separates are also "in." Case in point, rumor has it the new Miss America, Katie Stam's interview attire was the sleeveless tan dress [left] that she wore on her first couple media appearances. CLICK HERE to see the videos.

I can't find a picture of what Miss Virginia, Tara Wheeler wore at Miss America, but I think the dress she wore for her state interview [below left] was absolute perfection! Her predecessor, Hannah Keifer was a Top 5 finalist at Miss America and wore the fantastic red dress [below right] for her national interview.

Miss Texas, Rebecca Robinson, also wore a trendier outfit for her Miss America interview. I think the execution was a train wreck and she didn't make the Top 15, but I liked the idea of it...

I know the quality of the picture is poor, but rumor has it Miss Ohio, Karissa Martin, wore this purple wrap dress for her Miss America interview.

Knowing what the judges are going for in interview is always hard because unlike gown or swimsuit, interview pictures aren't easy to come by. However, here in Ohio I have evidence of at least two titleholder who had an updated look in the interview room.

Right: Miss Lake Festival, Ellen Bryan, stands out in her chic grey dress, while the other contestants' attire seems beyond their years.

Left: Ashleigh Lemon's silky silver halter and black pencil skirt received mixed reviews from fans, but it didn't keep her from being crowned Miss Maple City!

Right: Jacki Jerlecki hasn't won a title yet, but she's been a First Runner-up a few times and I think her red interview dress is wonderful.

We've seen trendier outfits on the national and local level, however the new Miss America style has yet to make it to the end in Mansfield . I really hope that changes this June. Below are Miss Ohio Top 5 pictures from the past few years; while these lovely ladies are in beautiful suits, the fact is these pictures now represent what not to wear for interview and Heidi Klum would say they're out:

2008 Miss Ohio Top 5: Kasey Wilson, Erica Gelhaus, Karissa Martin, Becky Minger and Jenna Wilson

2007 Miss Ohio Top 5: Karissa Martin, Roberta Camp, Kasey Wilson, Nanciann Strosnider and Erica Gelhaus

2006 Miss Ohio Top 5: Melanie Murphy, Becky Minger, Lelsie Ondrey, Allie Krucek and Elyse Healey

Do you need more examples? Around the same time I was contacted by some women here in Ohio, fans on the national message board were also discussing new looks for interview. Someone posted the following images of outfits they liked for interview from Neiman Marcus; if you care, I've written my opinions of these outfits: I love the entire top row, except the green dress; note, the black top on the right might be too low cut for busty women. On the bottom row, I like the first three on the left; the blue dress is too casual, I hate the librarian bow on the teal dress and the fuchsia one is an evening look.

I think wearing pants is a great option, especially if that's more your personality. However, I only like the two outfits on the right. The green top with brown pants isn't really a finished look for me and the other two are too casual.

Of the looks above, I really like the brown and purple dresses and pinkish outfit. I also like the grey skirt, but the white top bugs me; I don't like the black and grey outfit at all and the black and pink is too much of a dressy/evening look.

If you do prefer the traditional route with a jacket, there are contemporary options that don't look like you're playing dress up in Queen Elizabeth's closet! I like Guess, Express, Banana Republic, Victoria Secret (online), BCBG and Bebe.

Cache is also a popular store among pageant women, especially for opening number and casual wear type looks, but I always discourage women from shopping there because someone else will surely have the same thing!

I fear this blog post maybe more confusing than helpful, because now contestants options for interview attire is wide open! Women can show their personality with interview wardrobe that can actually be worn again. That being said, there are still some standards of appropriateness. One of the challenges on the recent Miss America reality show gave the Miss States $100 and ninety minutes to find new interview outfits in a mall. Afterward some women were criticized for picking garments that were too dressy; I believe it was Miss Oklahoma who selected a black lace cocktail dress that was too much of an evening look. The reality show judges also disapproved of Miss North Dakota's dress for being too tight and short for interview. Fans on the message board have also cautioned against showing cleavage. Some feel ruffles and sleeveless garments are inappropriate, but that's a matter of opinion, which our current Miss America obviously doesn't agree with!

As with any wardrobe piece, what you wear for interview should convey your personality and the cut and color should flatter you. Shoes and jewelry can now be fashion forward, meaning boring taupe shoes and conservative pearls are no longer required, but these components should just compliment and not distract. I think a contestant should think about the wide range of job requirements for the title of Miss ____ and wear what she feel most comfortable in.

Click here and here for previous posts touching on this topic.

Agree with me? Disagree? Vote in the poll and leave comments!