Thursday, February 21, 2008

Please keep Lydia in your thoughts

I just got an email from my friend Lydia Beresford, who has been competing all year in Miss Virginia preliminaries.

She slid on some ice last night and dislocated the shoulder she hasn't had surgery on. She had a major surgery some time ago and has been experiencing ongoing shoulder problems since. This recent falls means she can't compete in Miss Greater Springfield this weekend.

Lydia is such a great girl. She has shared a room with me in Williamsburg, lent me earrings, and taken me shopping when I left my interview shoes in Ohio. She is so much fun to have backstage and is a great girl. It's disappointing because I was looking forward to seeing her this weekend. It is really unfortunate that this is Lydia's last year of eligibility and I hate to see her have to stop competing due to this. Her health comes first, however, and I will miss her this weekend.

If everyone could keep her in your thoughts and prayers it would be much appreciated.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Quick Update

Oh my goodness, I have been SO busy! Trying to match on campus work with off campus work and my classes has had me running all over the place! I am so excited for this weekend but since the next two days are really busy, I doubt I will have time to post.

Tomorrow night we have a mechanical bull coming to campus to celebrate Western night- so come out and line dance and try your hand , RMWC girls!

I've also kicked off getting ready for a huge event I have had planned since last February- bringing the world renowned Guerrilla Girls to campus here in Lynchburg.

For now, though, I'm off to class!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Important News for Ohio girls!

I got this email this afternoon and wanted to pass it along:

hi Contestants,
Hope all of you are doing well. Can you believe another pageant season is coming to a close so quickly? If you haven't already heard we wanted to let all of you know that this year the Miss Ohio Board is sponsoring 2 different SWEEPS programs. Also at each of these there's a possibility that they may be crowning up to 3 titles at each program (this depends on the amount of contestants who participate according to Miss America rules).
The only requirement to compete in these is that you must have competed in a local in our system during the 07/08 pageant season. One SWEEPS program will be held in Chillicothe on Saturday, April 5 and the other one will be in Medina on Sunday, April 6. You can compete in one or both of these - this is your choice.
All you need to do is send in all of the required paperwork like you have for any other local. This includes: Miss America Contestant Contract, Contestant Application, Resume, Platform, No-Show form and also send in 2 talent CDs and a photo (headshot). You must send in an entire packet per each SWEEPS program you want to compete in.
Completed form must be sent to:
Miss Ohio Office
SWEEPS - Medina / Chillicothe (put whichever one the packet is for)
P.O. Box 1818
Mansfield, OH 44901
This MUST BE postmarked by March 15, 2008
We hope you plan to compete in these programs. Also if you know of a contestant and you don't see their email address on this please make sure to forward this to them.
Thank you,
Terri Tinsman
Miss Ohio Business Manager

Sunday, February 17, 2008

There are only two left!

Two more pageants left this season, and I am working harder than ever to do my best. I feel that since this is the first year I have really competed I would reflect back on the year in pageants. I feel like I have come a long way but there is always room for improvement.

Summer '07
Miss Greater Cleveland-3rd runner up (I was really excited about this, because I had only been home in the United States for 3 weeks!)

Miss North Coast

Fall 07/ Winter 07-08

Miss Shenandoah Valley- 1st Runner up and Interview winner
This was really exciting for me, because I met some really great girls and had a wonderful weekend. I also pushed myself and gave one of my best interviews ever here. I had a blast!

Miss Hill City
Right in my hometown of Lynchburg, this was also fun and I got to catch up with some of the Shenandoah Valley girls and I met Natalie Smith here.

Winner: Whitney Law

Miss Hampton Holly Days/Newport News- 1st Runner up and Interview winner
Another one of those interviews I had on tape to help me practice! A great group of girls and a lot of fun! I finally met another one of my favorites, Bobbi Mitchell, here.

Winners: Taylor Witte and Tamika Mills

Miss Arlington/Fairfax
Most likely the most competitive pageant I did all year. Every single girl was OUTSTANDING and deserving. A lot of fun. Also met another one of my favorites, Melissa Albright, here.

Winners: Tara Wheeler and Kristena Wright

Miss Williamsburg-2nd runner up

This was a blast because I shared a room with Lydia Beresford who was a lot of fun!

She had me laughing the entire weekend.
Winner: Brittany Gordon

Miss Capital Region-2nd Runner up

What a blast. Great committee, great girls competing, great weekend. Melissa is such a funny girl that we literally were laughing backstage constantly and trying not to cry. It is dangerous to put us together, she is so deserving and I am glad she won.

Winner: Melissa Albright

So it all comes down to these next two weekends. I have come really far and placed consistently, I just have to hope that the judges see me for who I am and what I love about this program. I truly have had an amazing experience in the Miss Virginia system competing in locals and can't wait for these next two weekends.

As you can tell, I have met so many incredible girls over the last year and that has made competing much more fun and less stressful. I have been overwhelmed by the generosity backstage and the friendships formed behind the curtains. I can truly say having competing with most of the women that will grace the Miss Virginia stage this summer- look out Miss America, because with the group of girls we've got, we're going to get an amazing Miss Virginia.

I am not ready to give up yet, but I feel like there is a reason for everything, and I know in my heart that I want to be on that Roanoke stage!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Are you voting issues or for a person?

Here's a cute little online article talking about the candidates for president... their names have been removed and replaced so you can't tell who is who. It's a great way of finding out if you match the candidate you are supporting on the issues. I matched my candidate!

A Blind Taste Test

I even picked my second and third choice candidates in order; I spent a long time studying the issues to pick my candidates when my first and second choices Biden and Edwards dropped out.

Don't even get me started on the subject of a fence on the Mexican border, though.... but that's another post!

(Hint: don't run your mouse over the "names" until you are finished reading-when you have your candidate picked, let the mouse run over the name and see how you did!)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hi all!

Hey loyal readers!

This, as usual, has been a very busy week for me and unfortunately I just never get the chances to blog from Tuesday-Thursday that I would like. I've had to catch up on my American Culture Journal (this weeks entry is 14 pages long) and recover from the weekend trip. I also have a Mardi Gras semi-formal this Friday, and since my boss is out of town, I personally have to make sure that every loose end is tied up so that the night isn't too stressful for me. Oh, the joys of party planning! I work all day Friday and then will go straight to setting up the party, so I won't have any free time until Saturday.

On that note, I am really looking forward to spending a weekend in my dorm room with only one major event! Some weekends I have literally spent all day Friday and Saturday planning events on campus. Every weekend I'm not planning events on campus I've been out of town for pageants. This last weekend we traveled for the American Culture program, so I have yet to spend a weekend on campus! I'm really looking forward to spending the weekend catching up on my independent research and my economics senior paper, since both of those have really been forgotten in the hustle and bustle of this semester.

More later, I promise! Just hang with me until Saturday :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Dear Laura,

Help I live in Ohio but attend school out of state, how can I vote?

Ohio's primary is coming up March 4th- so don't forget to vote. I have no doubt that Ohio will be an important player yet again this fall, so make sure your voice is heard. To find out election information, check the Secretary of State website here

There you can find information about absentee voting, but there are also links at the top of the page. You can also do a google search for "board of elections" with your county and see what your county election board says. You should move quickly, though, since voting opens 25 days before the primary!

Make sure you vote!

Virginia Votes

Today Virginia cast its votes. Some girls even drove home to their Virginia locales to cast their ballot. Results seems to point towards Obama and McCain, which is exciting.

In other news, I filled out my absentee ballot today, too.

Launch of my new blog

For this semester, I have decided to launch a new blog about my experience in the American Culture program. Since I just returned from a three day trip in that program, it will take me some time to get my thoughts together, but I have already established the web address.

My interest is to show what I am learning and the benefit of this program to the education at Randolph (Macon Woman's) College.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Article from a Miss Maple City Judge

Judging beauty is not as easy as it looks

By ANDY PRUTSOK …#8221; Reflector Publisher | Wednesday February 06 2008, 12:16pm

I was one of the seven judges for Saturday night’s Miss Maple City Pageant. It was a first for me.

My family used to watch the Miss America Pageant when I was a kid — in the late 60s and early ‘70s, but I’m certain it had been more than 30 years since I had seen one.

I came in to the event with some preconceived notions about “pageant girls.” Namely, that they had all been primping and preening on stage since the age of three, knowing little else. And that they all likely had pushy mothers like Patsy Ramsey who were trying to live their lives vicariously through their children.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the 11 young ladies who submitted to 10-minute interviews in private from the panel of judges were bright, articulate, poised and accomplished. Pretty good lookin’ girls, too. All were college students, working the pageant circuit to win scholarships to help pay for their education. Just about everyone held down several different jobs while going to school and not only participating in, but excelling at, various extra-curricular activities ranging from soccer to women’s rugby to dance and student government. They were pursuing master’s degrees and doctorates.

I was dazzled. In addition, I was unclear on what exactly to look for in judging the contestants. The instructions were nebulous.

Things got really dicey when the pageant part of the competition commenced.

The first event was the swimsuit contest, during which judges were supposed to look for how physically fit the women were. I did not do too well at this. They breezed across the stage in about 10 seconds each, hardly giving you time to find the contestant’s name on the list, let alone judge her physical fitness and ability to walk in four-inch heels.

I was somewhat shocked at my reaction to the swimsuit competition. I have a long history of admiring the female form — and these were all spectacular examples — but sitting there with 17-to-24-year-old women — children to a man of 46 — parading in front of me barely clothed, with hundreds of parents and children seated behind me — it was all I could do to not be totally embarrassed and feel like some kind of pervert.

I could not imagine how the contestants must feel, having to parade their bodies in front of all those eyes. It would take supreme confidence.

After talent, evening gown and on-stage question, the judges were presented with cards with the top five point winners. We had to rank them in about 30 seconds and the results were tabulated to pick the winner.

I was surprised when 18-year-old Heather Wells was announced as the winner, even though I had voted for her to win. I never pick winners in anything.

Feeling pretty good about my judging abilities, all the judges filed out of the auditorium into the room where we had conducted the interviews and left our personal belongings. Immediately, the four female judges — all pageant veterans -- formed a huddle and started complaining about the winner, saying her swimsuit was too revealing, she wore the wrong kind of shoes during the question and answer period and her toes were not pointed in the right direction during her dance routine. Then they began demanding to know who it was who voted for her. We had been warned that we might get accosted by contestants or parents, but not by our fellow judges. I gathered up my stuff and got the heck out of there, skipping the reception that was held in honor of the new Miss Maple City.

While the Miss Maple City Pageant may have been a little stressful for me, I would highly recommend to anyone in Norwalk who has not been to it to go to next year’s. The organizers put on a wonderful, entertaining production with lots of local talent performing. The time literally flew by.

Be that as it may, I can’t help but think my pageant days are behind me. It’s just too stressful. I’d almost rather parade around on stage in front of hundreds of people in a swimsuit than go through that again.

Congratulations to Miss Wells and all the contestants. They are all braver than I.

In my response to this, I have to say I'm not really surprised. It seems like some locals give great directions to judges about what to look for, and others don't. I also have to agree with the judge here about being accosted by other judges. I'm sure fellow blogger Abby Bollenbacher
remembers this experience: this summer we judged the Miss Montpelier, a small local pageant in Montpelier, Ohio. At the time I was the reigning Miss Ohio Coed for American Coed pageants, and I had been referred to judge by my director at the time, Janise Thomson. It sounded like a fun opportunity and a great way to promote American Coed. I felt that many of the girls in the pageant this summer would have done extremely well in American Coed,where the focus is on a well-spoken All American girl.

In any case, we judges all had some personal favorites after interview but I went into the final night acting as though I had never met each girl before and judging her only on that one category at a time. And I have to say, sitting behind the judges table, it was an eye opening experience for me. The things I noticed definitely helped me prepare for Miss Greater Cleveland over the summer. I noticed a girl's shoes, posture, and all of the things I probably don't pay that much attention to while competing on stage.

In any case, we were mailed information about the contestants prior to the pageant so we could ask them questions in interview. Some judges asked the same question for each girl, and others of us varied the questions.

It was hard not to be biased-and impressed- by the speaking ability of these girls.

Going into the final pageant, I knew which girl I had felt was strongest in Interview (and she ended up winning the interview award). During the final pageant, they forgot to turn her microphone on while she sang her song. Some of the judges next to me complained "I can't hear her" and while I'm sure the audience couldn't, we were close enough to pick up her voice. After she performed, the judge next to me was angry-and admitted that she was going to score the girl low. Three of us on one end of the table conferred that we wanted her to perform again, this time with the microphone on.

I came at this from my own experience: how would I feel if someone asked me to tap dance a second time because of some technical problem not my fault? Well, I'd be even more nervous, tired, and stressed out. I felt that it takes a lot of performance ability and confidence to take that stage a second time to perform for us. One of the judges around me admitted that she took points off of the girls talent performance because the microphone wasn't on. Obviously, a performer should check everything before going on stage, but we can't predict anything (please just ask poor Bobbi Mitchell, who was dancing on pointe with a ribbon dangerously close to ripping during her Miss Williamsburg performance). The girl in question was an 18 year old. This was probably the first time she had ever performed on a stage for that crowd of people (there were about 300-400 ticket sales that night).

At the end of the night, this girl ended up in 2nd place. This was her last year of eligibility and I really felt for her- I could tell from her entire performance that day that she truly wanted to represent her community. Another girl won, and immediately we judges were informed that the new winner was the sister of the pageants director. None of us judges knew this information, and there was no clue in our judging information that this young woman was a relative. But immediately you could sense that for her entire year as the queen, the new winner would experience a stigma. I believe that the 1st runner up was the hometown favorite, since she had competed in this pageant for many years, gave a solid performance, and was in her last year of eligibility.

right after the pageant, the same judge who admitted she lowered the talent performance of the 1st runner up was joyous over the new winner. I thought the new winner was great, too, but I have to wonder whether other judges "scored down" the 1st runner up with technical issues.

This is in no way to say that none of the judges were qualified- indeed we had a wealth of pageant experience. Coming from a judges perspective though, I was worried about the lack of direction some judges were given in MAO. Abby, correct me if I'm wrong, but usually pageants train judges saying "don't hold a technical malfunction against a contestant" but I don't remember being told that on pageant day.

In any case, after the pageant I was in a hurry to get out of there- judging was fun but you could feel in the air that some people questioned whether the winner really deserved it. Having been a runner up myself many times, I know how that 1st runner up must have felt : proud to have made a strong showing, but disappointed to see the title go to someone else. It certainly makes placing as a runner up easier when the girl genuinely deserves the title, and I felt like some people in the auditorium didn't believe the winner was truly who we picked.

After that experience, I have a lot of respect for judges who really go into these volunteer experiences and do their job- I feel like as a pageant contestant myself, I was really paying attention and making this day all about the girls.

So, for all those judges out there, I hope you receive good directions.

We appreciate you being so generous with your time and talents- I know it's a lot of work!

On a side note: Heather Wells and I placed 2nd and 3rd runner up at Miss Greater Cleveland respectively this summer, and I can tell you that she is a girl who genuinely loves competing, sharing her talent, and someone who believes in the Miss America organization. She was also very generous sharing her supplies and "zip-up" help backstage. So congratulations on your win, Heather-hard work pays off!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

REMINDER- Moment of Truth!

Tonight at 9 on Fox pageant contestant Christie Youssef (Finalist at Miss Ohio this year) will be finishing her round on "The Moment of truth". They left us hanging last week a question about whether she had ever sabotaged another pageant contestant, so tune in!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Good luck this weekend!

I will be out of town this weekend, traveling with the American Culture Program (and I am very close to launching that blog, so keep an eye out!) but I wanted to wish good luck to all of the women competing for Miss Chesterfield and Miss Hanover this weekend. I don't know who all is competing, but I know that Natalie Smith, LaWanda Weatherspoon, and Krystle Stinette all mentioned at Miss Capitol Region that they would be competing!

We haven't gotten our travel details finalized, but I'll be anxious to hear the results from this pageant, and it's unfortunate that I couldn't participate! I hope all the girls have a great time.

I've been too busy to blog lately, mostly because I've had a lot of important school work and outside work that needed my attention. As mentioned in a prior post, I started a second job and I've been working there quite a bit the last few weeks. I've also been busy with my on campus job, and luckily all our events for the next semester are completely planned.

Last week I had to get two research papers approved; after much stress, I abandoned my East German wage regression project for my senior economics paper and presentation. I met with my advisor last week and I'll be looking at determinants of the foreclosure rate, focusing on Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. Obviously this is a pertinent issue and one that could show some interesting and relevant policy results, so I'm looking forward to it. All the research on the topic is relatively fresh, which is good for me, because there's enough to guide my own research but a big enough hole in the research that my project could shed some light on the housing market issues in the Midwest. All the research mostly comes from Federal Reserve papers, too, so the quality can be trusted. In addition to that paper, I also got my independent political research confirmed as well.

My hallmate has a list of the days until graduation outside her door; I think we currently sit at 96. It's exciting and simultaneously terrifying; I guess we all just have to trust that we will find ourselves on the paths we were meant to follow.

I have an evening class on Tuesdays so I don't have any more time to post. My weekdays are jam packed so I wanted to wish good luck to those competing this weekend before life got too crazy!

Monday, February 4, 2008


Two women won titles this weekend and congratulations are in order!


Miss Maple City, Heather Wells

Miss Greater Richmond, Jordan Forbes