Friday, June 18, 2010

Congrats to Preliminary Night Two Winners!

Swimsuit: Nanciann Strosnider
Miss Greater Butler County

Talent: Marisa Buchheit
Miss Maple City

The competition tonight was fierce, but the best entertainment was hands down the "Marisa and Nanciann Show" at the press conference! If these two ladies showed the judges a quarter of their personalities in the interview room, they'll certainly both be in the Top 10 Saturday night. Of course their preliminary awards aren't hurting the cause!

When asked about her Swimsuit win, six time state contestant, Miss Greater Butler County Nanciann Strosnider emphatically replied "I have never won a swimsuit award, EVER, so I am so excited and I am sooo hungry!" Her surprise was evident onstage; she said "I am so excited to win because my swimsuit flight was awesome tonight; it was a really tough group so I am honored to have won." As for being a double prelim winner she admitted, "It's scary; they say there's the curse of the double prelim winner, but I am so excited and so thankful for my family and friends... The fat girl in me, Ruby, she is dying to get out!" Strosnider worked with a personal trainer as well as running 5Ks with her brother. "He could be Kenyon..." she joked.

Sitting next to Strosnider was Miss Maple City, Marisa Buchheit. She prolonged the laughter by stating, "I ate today because I needed energy to sing, but tomorrow's my swimsuit, so I'll be hungry tomorrow night!"

On a serious note, both women defended the swimsuit competition. Strosnider stated, "It's important for role models to show they can maintain a healthy physical lifestyle... it's really important for our young people, especially with obesity being such a problem in our country these days. We really need to show our young people that they need to live a healthy lifestyle. Buchheit added, "Miss America started as a swimsuit competition...It's a tradition. There are so many other priorities other than the swimsuit compeition, but it's still and important part of it. Like Nanciann said, role models should be taking care of themselves and have good physical fitness."

Buchheit is a first time contestant at Miss Ohio, but last year she competed in her home state of Illinois and earned the non-finalist talent award. Tonight she received the preliminary award for the aria "o mio babbino caro." Considering the Puccinni piece has been sung by so many famous sopranos, including popular Miss America, Katie Harmon, I asked Buchheit if she studied or avoided others renditions. "I listened to Katie Harmon sing it last night" she quickly replied, adding that she was Miss America 2002! "I do research and see how other people have performed it."

She has been singing all her life, but began formal voice lessons at the age of 12; her first musical was The Sound of Music, of which she says "I fell in love." Now to acheive her goal of becoming a professional opera singer she is entering her senior year at the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying Voice.

When asked about the time restraints and ability to rehearse Buchheit explained that contestants only get to run their talents onstage the morning of the competition, but she found time to practice in the morning and evening at her host home. "I would make sure I wasn't waking anyone up! It was tough, but you make it a priority" she stated.

Nanciann chimed in that the contestants have been in the theatre for a week; "You find all the nooks and crannies in this place and you go and hide and do your routine." Buchheit warmed up outside the stage doors, despite passers by and Strosnider told a story of everyone's favorite stage hand. "I was downstairs warming up under the stage and Jim Bishop asked 'is somebody hurt downstairs?' and I said no! That was me, I'm fine..."

After the laughter eased the ladies were asked about other difficulties down in the dressing room. They agreed it's hot, it's crowded and some of the changes are quick. "You're tripping over trains and tackled boxes and makeup bags..." said Strosnider.

I asked the winners about the atmosphere of pageant week, as it is always different and can sometimes be rather tense. "The new girls and the veterans are split 50/50 so it seems as though everyone has buddied up pretty well and this has been a great group," Strosnider perfectly side-stepped my opportunity to be less than positive! "It's my first year here," Buchheit stated. "But I'm feeling all kinds of positive vibes from all the girls, returning contestants and new contestants, so I think it's been a very good year."

As for the path in life that the pageant places women on, Buchheit listed performers and journalist. "It prepares them very well for these fields."

Strosnider was asked how the program has helped her specifically, "Miss Ohio has afforded me nearly $17,000 in scholarships, which I'm so thankful for; I have yet to pay a penny for my graduate work right now. It's a program that's very near and dear to my heart. I know it is to all the young ladies involved because it helps up further out education and further our professional goals and careers."

To bring the press conference to a close, media director Kim Baker Kanary asked one final question, "How do you feel; what's going through your head right now?"

"I want a big mack... and I don't want to run after it!" While we all LOLed with Strosnider, Buchheit battled with her earrings. "I almost wore these onstage, but at the last minute my roommate [Heather Wells] lent me hers because theses were jiggling into the microphone... This happened to Miss America, right? Her earring fell off at the end!?"

Once the earrings were out the comedy hour came to a close with Buchheit's final comments, "I feel very excited to be here, up in this beautiful space that I didn't even know existed... I am very happy the Miss Ohio Scholarship Program provided me with this opportunity. Thank you!"

Please don't take the jovial atmosphere I've described as flippant. Both of these women were polished and well spoken. It was wonderful to get to know them off stage and I am grateful Miss Ohio has granted me press clearance this year!

Listen to the press conference for yourself:

Photos by Jason J. Molyet of the MNJ.


  1. anorexia is not funny

  2. Great post Abby! Makes me feel like I'm there soaking it all in with you... like the good ol days!

  3. Anonymous, you're right, it's not funny, but I think you've misinterpreted the comments.

    There is a big difference between how a serious contestant might eat while she's preparing for competition and being anorexic. Everyone's body reacts to food in its own way and some women have to cut out things like burgers and pizza when they're getting ready for a swimsuit competition. Nanciann is candid; if you've never met her, I can understand that her personality might not translate to print.



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