Sunday, January 28, 2007

Here She Is...

Miss America 2007 will be chosen Monday night, live from Las Vegas, and presented over CMT, Country Music Television.

And former Miss America Scholarhip preliminary contestant,

Bethany True, Newbie author of "Remember the Alimony,"
GuestBlogs tomorrow, Mon Jan 29

to chat about women, brains, and beauty.

Believe you me, it'll be an important, and really fun day you won't wanna miss.

And, not to scare you or anything, but the photo below was my "official" headshot during my "year of service as Miss PA 1989/Top Ten Miss A finalist. A journalist who once spent a week as a Miss America contestant for a pro-scholarship pageant story remarked that the contestants are smart, competent, and -- all wear so much makeup they look about forty years old.

Which is one of many reasons I cringe when I see this headshot. I mean, I'm not sure I could have worn more makeup, or had bigger hair. Shortly thereafter, Miss A started the "more natural" edict for contestants. My bouffant may have been responsible.

Yet the Miss A experience was a great one for me: I won more than $20 k in scholarship, clothes, use of a cool car for a year, plus traveled throughout the US promoting organ donation and gaining invaluable business/marketing savvy. Oh, and I got to complete the college degree I thought I'd never I'd be able to.

More important, the crown for some reason encouraged people to become friendy, and I was blessed to meet and be welcomed in friendship by all kinds of people. You can't buy that, and I sure as heck respect and appreciate the experience.

Are you gonna watch Miss America Monday Night? How do you feel about Miss A? Is "the largest scholarship organization for women" a front for a t/a fest? Have you competed in pageants?

Think about this statistic: Your son has a better chance of playing in the Super Bowl than your daughter has of becoming Miss America. I guess that means the Miss A competition's a little more refined than one might think...
Grazie mille, PlotMonkeys, for an ab fab week. We loved talking 'Kings of the Jungle,' and you managed to woo us with a man each of us would love to love. Can't wait to see you here again!
katie, you've won Carly's prize for Friday's blog! Send me your snail mail addy at Congratulazion, katie, and thanks to all you Bellas who came out to swing with the chicks from !


Kati said...

Hi Bellas! Hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend! I'm being a total slug today, I've watched two movies and I'm now watching Tiger Woods kick a little booty at the Buick Invitational.

Oh, I loves me some Miss America. I mean let's face it, when else do we get to judge the heck out of some gorgeous women. I simply adore the evening, and am always thrilled at the prospect that Miss Hawaii might get into the top 10 and then do the hula in her evening gown as her talent. Love it.

OK, I joke, but I know that pageants are very hard work. I had a very good friend when I was in college who was first runner up in the Miss America pageant. She lost to Heather Whiteside, who was the first deaf Miss America. We were totally bummed, but thrilled for Cullen that she got so far.

Michelle, what was your talent when you were doing pageants? You didn't hula by any chance did ya? ;-P

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

LOL, mk. I sang an aria from The Barber of Seville.

That's cool about your friend. Miss A that year was a great one, and I remember her dancing beautifully. Years after, she got a ton of crap because I think she had an operation to gain some hearing. And she said something, like, if the operation let her hear her children's voices a little better, than it was a blessing. People have such funny notions about what "authentic" means, and I guess they wanted her to be a more authentic deaf person.

I can remember watching Miss a as a kid and thinking I could never be part of it. I also know tons of super-smart women who get together with their girlfriends every year for "Miss A" parties. It's fun to pick and choose, and even to make sarcastic comments. But I think there's always admiration, even grudging, because what woman would spend 2 hours watching 50 women in competition for a crown, etc., if they really hated the "institution," right? I mean, those chicks certainly would have better things to do with their time, no?

Playground Monitor said...

Damn Blogger!

I still remember how proud we were here in Alabama when Heather Whitestone won.

I'll probably tune in tomorrow, especially since Mario's the host. ;-)

I haven't watched in a few years but I grew up watching the pageant. I have a better opinion of the Miss A pageant than many others. At least it's more than strutting in a swimsuit. The talent competition is geting more and more well... competitive. I remember when "dramatic interpretations" used to be the thing if you couldn't sing or dance or play some instrument. Now the talent is on such a professional level.

Thanks for sharing how the pageant changed your life -- finishing college, speaking on organ donation, business savvy. And LOL on the hair. Gotta love those earbobs too.


Playground Monitor said...

Heather was criticized heavily in the deaf community because she spoke instead of depending on sign language. Her parents wanted her to be as mainstream as possible. And her cochlear implant was so she could hear her children -- especially when they were babies.

If it's out there and it can improve the quality of your life, go for it. Who'd deny a prosthesis to an amputee? Or a cane to a visually impaired person?


Julie in Ohio said...

Hi-ya, Bellas!!!

Ahhh, Michelle. Love the picture.

I usually catch a few rounds of the pageant. I just have to make sure hubby's not around. There is nothing worse than a backseat judge...

Just to tell you all how far under the rock I've been, I didn't know there was backlash to Heather's surgery. I remember how surprised and excited I was that she had won. Her win gave little girls everywhere a renewed sense that they too could someday be Miss America, even if they aren't "perfect"...

Rach said...

My sister used to play "beauty pageant". :o) So, we have no problem with them. I remember on the evenings a pageant was on everything seemed to stop in our house. How funny! Like MK, I always hoped for some hula dancing or other fun "talent". I remember being fascinated once with a ventriloquist :oP.

Everyone loves to see beautiful women (even those that say they don't) so I see no harm in Miss America :o). If the Monkey wants to watch it, we'll pop us a batch of popcorn and settle in for the evening :o).

katie said...

Michelle...I just tried to email you my address and it bounced back to do I claim my prize.....YIKES!

Julie in Ohio said...

I would have no problem at all if my kids wanted to watch Miss America get crowned. I think it's great for the girls to see that beautiful women are smart, talented and take care of themselves. There's nothing wrong with that.

Stacy~ said...

I have to admit I have watched the Miss America pageants in the past, but haven't seen it in years. I know that there's a lot of hard work that goes into it - it's not just about looks. Julie makes a good point about it: beautiful women are not just about their physical appearance. I definitely see the fascination even for other women to tune in. I remember thinking how fun it was to watch Miss America, or Miss Universe, and how other states and countries define beauty.

I worked with a lady whose granddaughter had the cochlear implant surgery and she was shunned by her deaf boyfriend as well as some of her deaf friends, but I agree with Marilyn - having the surgery is not turning your back on who you are, but getting the chance to have something you might never have had otherwise. How can someone deprive you of that? I just don't get that.

Michelle, love the pic. You look just as sophisicated as you do today - just had bigger hair back then, and even still, it's not a bad look at all. Geez, is there anything you don't do well, even age??? LOL

ev said...

Michelle, before I had finsihed reading the whole blog, I looked at the picture, and I must have been channeling the reporter, because that was the first thing that popped into my mind. Sorry, Bella, Sorry. On the other hand, it is a nice pic, I just thought it was more recent. Like in Vegas maybe.

MK- crap. I forgot that golf would be on today. AMC was playing some really good movies, and I was finishing taking down the Christmas decorations before eveyone got here for DH's b'day. I hope Tiger kicked some butt. Esp Singh's.

I have not watched any of the pagents in years, since they de-crowned Vanessa Williams. I am from Syracuse where she went to school. I thought that they were just a bunch of old fuddy-duddy's. What's the big deal if they are parading around on a stage, dang near naked vs. in Playboy? I was happy to see The Donald give the current Miss America a second chance. I think almost everyone deserves them.There are some instances where they don't.

Besides, if I turned on the pagent in the bar, the guys would never, ever let me live it down. I will make them watch Deal or No Deal since football is over with.

catslady said...

Ev, Tiger did beat everyone's butt lol. And I agree about Singh.

I used to always, always watch the Miss America pagent but they've changed it so much that I just don't enjoy it anymore. I guess talent was always a big thing for me to watch. Apparently Idol has taken that over lol.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hey ev! No big. I'm tellin you, I think the same thing when I see it, which is rarely. Totally scary. It was the only one I could find, thank God, on the Inet, and I wasn't about to dig one out, scan, post, etc.

Yeah, play, et al, the cochlear thing stunned me, too. The woman wanted to be able to hear her children's voices. She did so much for folks who are hearing impaired, how dare anyone tell her how she should live her life. That would be like folks on dialysis faulting the the person who chooses renal transplant, although the c implant is about quality of life, the transplant about saving life. Still, folks just can't find enough reasons to judge, and I, for one, think they're stupid for it. :)

Sorry I missed you all today. See you here with Bethany tomorrow.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

katie, try me again at :)

Michele Hauf said...

I say 'more power to 'em' for any pageant contestant who has the guts to get up there and compete for much needed scholarship money.
Had the opportunity to watch a fashion show put on by local candidates for our town's pagaent this weekend. It was a marvel to watch the various shapes, forms and confidence levels of the girls on the stage.
Afterward I thought, I could have done that then, if I knew what I know now.
Just think about it. The women who compete are relatively young, are not sure about themselves (even though they think they are) don't even know the wonders of what they can truly BECOME.
But once you've reached a Certain Age, you know yourself. And even if you're not gorgeous and tall and coordinated, you have a certain inner confidence.
Oh, to be able to stand on that stage THEN, knowing what you know NOW.

Now, here's my gripe. Why don't they have something like this for boys? Hmm? A chance to strut the stage, show off a little pec, and prove their braininess, for valued scholarships. There's nothing out there like this for boys, is there? My son and I had this discussion. They need a man pageant. :-)