Friday, May 22, 2009

Vanessa Williams on Larry King Live

Some pageant fans are stirred-up over Vanessa Williams' recent interview with Larry King.

It's important that you view full video, as the TMZ edit leaves out important statements. I am most excited that Vanessa noted the difference between the Miss America and Miss USA pageant a couple times. I support, enjoy and competed in both, but am still frustrated that the general public doesn't know the difference because most media outlets are too lazy to do their jobs and report the details of pageant related controversies.

What some fans are upset about is this response to Larry's question about the crown helping or hurting her: "to be considered a serious artist... um... I think being a Miss Anything is always going to be a setback because you have to prove... and be beyond what people expect in order to be considered equal..."

As an actress trying to make in in Hollywood, I completely understand what she was saying. Sure, there are many benefits to pageant experience. However, within the entertainment industry, it is not automatically a plus. Pageants do carry a negative stereotype to some people; contestants, titleholders and formers have to be aware of that and monitor the way they highlight their crown wearing college years. In recent months I have gotten a few requests from women to remove information or photos, as they do not want pageantry to be the first thing possible employers find online. Sometimes I comply; sometimes it annoys me and I do not! You can not erase your past! Living in such a technologically advanced time means anything we write, record or photograph is permanent! I know it's unfair and tough, but a reality nonetheless.

I digress; I do not think Vanessa was being ungrateful to the Miss America system, especially since she highlighted that it awards scholarships and has an extensive interview. I think she stated a fact. The percentage of people who support pageants is low, so it is an uphill battle to make the greater number of sequin -civilians understand.

Here's the interview; she starts talking pageant at 3:25:

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