**Updated with links!**
Sunday a Miss America send-off party was held for Miss Ohio, Erica Gelhaus, in her hometown of St. Henry. Online chatter says she only modeled her talent and walk-on gowns. Her evening gown is reportedly still in alterations and some speculate that contestants are receiving their black swimsuits in Las Vegas. For an inside account of the event from a visiting titleholder and group pictures, visit Becky's new website and click on "what's new."
More telling than the news from the send-off are two articles below. But first, this is from The Daily Advocate:
Miss Ohio ready for Las VegasST. HENRY - Miss Ohio 2009, Erica Gelhaus of St. Henry was honored at her sending off celebration on Jan. 10 at Romer's Catering in St. Henry.Erica is leaving for Las Vegas to be one of the 53 competitors for the Miss America 2010 crown. She modeled most of her competition dresses, but media was asked not to show it prior to the competition on TLC, Jan. 30 at 8 p.m.Tickets are available at all Romer's location for a watch party on Jan. 30 as Erica attempts to be the first Miss Ohio crowned Miss America since 1977.Good luck to her and her family!
Below: Miss Ohio 2009's Top 5. Left to right: Becky Minger, 1st RU, Nanciann Strosnider, 2nd RU, Erica Gelhaus, Jenna Wilson, 3rd RU and Ellen Bryan, 4th RU.
CLICK HERE to watch a brief video of Erica modeling a cute green cocktail dress at her send-off.
Next, two fabulous formers made me aware of two great articles. In the past, Miss Ohio's preperation for Miss America has been somewhat secretive and highly criticized. These articles indicate something more positive this year.
First go to Megan's blog. The story there states she will sing the aria “So anchio La virtu Magica” from the opera “Don Pasquale." For Swimsuit competition she selected one of six black suits presented to the delegates. Most exciting, "Her evening gown, talent dress and interview outfit were all specially designed for her by designer Gregory Ellenburg of Greenville, S.C. ...He did the wardrobe for last year’s first runner-up to Miss America..."
CLICK HERE to check out Ellenburg's work!
Next, Erica has gone to the latest and greatest for interview coaching! The following is a small excerpt from Indianapolis Monthly :
For the past three years, the path to Miss America has begun at Jim and Joy Robbins’ modest ranch house in New Castle.Past the geodes of the rock garden, through a bedroom wallpapered with beauty queen photos, and into the living room doubling as an interview studio strides Erica Gelhaus, Miss Ohio 2009. Dressed in skinny white pants, a ruffled purple tank top, and high heels, she stands almost six feet tall. A stack of her glamour shots rests under one arm. As they welcome her to their home in New Castle, Jim and Joy Robbins take care not to let the cat, Jujubee, outside.Gelhaus has traveled 150 miles to be here today, and after a few hugs, Jim and Joy usher the delicate-shouldered blonde to a seat at the end of an old couch. “You’re now sitting where Miss America Katie Stam once sat,” Joy says. “And Marjorie Vincent in 1991. And Heather French in 2000. And Lauren Nelson in 2007. And Kirsten Haglund in 2008.” Looking up at a wall hung with framed photos of the five Miss Americas Jim and Joy have coached, Gelhaus beams. The three get right to work.Reading through her resume—the sort each of the 53 women competing in Miss America will give the judges later this month in Las Vegas—Jim immediately sees a need for more personality. He digs through his files for quirky facts about Ohio … “birthplace of the hotdog, first state to use police cars.” In her leopard-print suit, Joy simultaneously starts working on Gelhaus’s body language. “When you gesture, bring your hands up to what I call the B-line—your boobs,” Joy says. “There’s an invisible television screen around your face, and you want to keep your hands inside it to keep the focus there.” Palms up means warm and friendly. Palms down, decisive. No bending of the wrists—it looks sloppy. And at all costs, keep your fingers together. “Watch those catcher’s-mitt hands!” Joy jokingly scolds her. “You want pretty ballet hands.”Jim gives the student a stack of reading material that will help her with current events and interviewing: The Week, Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, Frank Luntz’s Words That Work. He spends some time briefing her on the economy. Finally, about halfway into the three-hour session, it’s time for the mock interview. Gelhaus practices sashaying up to a makeshift lectern in the living room as the couple focuses a video camera on her face. Jim begins with a softball question: “I see here that you’re interested in opera, which not everyone likes. How do you get people into it?”With a flirty smile, Gelhaus responds: “Give me two minutes of your time, let me sing to you, and then tell me you don’t like opera.” It’s the sort of confident answer they’ve come to expect from the Miss America girls in their final months of preparation.So Jim turns up the heat: “What’s your position in the current healthcare debate?” Gelhaus slyly evades the question.At the end of the 10-minute interview, everyone watches it play back on a 42-inch television. Even in casual conversation, Gelhaus’s answers now have the polish of a politician’s. There aren’t many slip-ups to analyze. Instead, they continually pause the tape to point out a missing smile, or eyes that don’t “sparkle.” Jim and Joy remind her that she has a good chance of being their fourth winner in a row at the pageant. Never mind the fact that she’ll be competing against seven of their other students.For good measure, Joy helps Gelhaus practice emphasizing certain syllables of transitions: “There-fore. How-ever.” She demonstrates the power of inflection. “The sun is beeeeautiful. Reading is soooo important. Have a little flair if you dare!”
CLICK HERE for Daniel S. Comiskey's full five page article; it's very good.