Column: Pageants-more than just a pretty face


By Madison Blumenauer, Round Table today executive producer

With the recent scandal involving the Miss America organization and the offensive emails that were sent about previous titleholders, writing about everything the organization has taught me seemed fitting. Although I do not condemn the behavior that the president and COO and other top officials exhibited, it does not deter my opinion of the organization.

I have been a part of this organization for almost a year, and I have learned so much. I’ve learned tools that will help me in my future and have gained friendships that will last a lifetime. But, I think the most important thing I learned is something that you only know if you compete:

Pageant girls are more than just a pretty face.

On the surface all these girls seem as though they are fake and just like wearing makeup, however, that assumption couldn’t be farther from the truth. So many of these girls are studying to be doctors or nurses or teachers that are just trying to earn money to help pay for their education.

When I signed up for my first pageant, I was a little hesitant. “Is this really what I want to do?” I thought. Even though I grew up on-stage and it became my second home, this was something unlike I had ever done.

It was more outside my comfort zone.

When competing you compete in five phases of competition: interview, fitness, talent, on-stage question and evening gown. Each phase is to help show your personality and whether or not you would be a good fit to represent the area.

Each contestant is also required to pick a platform. You’re platform should be something you care about and is important to you. It should be about a way you can communicate with people and help them. My platform is “Be the Good: Helping Others in Need.”

The focus of what the judges are looking for isn’t the prettiest or the skinniest, it’s the girl that’s the most relatable. It’s imperative that the titleholder carries herself with confidence and is genuine.

Becoming a titleholder is a big responsibility and forces you to be a role model.

Winning a title is the most nerve racking yet exhilarating thing I’ve done. The nervousness of whether you’ll win or not and the excitement of what’s next once you have just sort of overtakes you. It’s hard to not smile once the crown is finally placed on your head.

After you win, your hard work is nowhere near done.

You start on all your paperwork and picking wardrobe for Miss Maryland week. There are also appearances that you start to do around the state to promote your platform. My favorite appearance I did was my very first one.

The girls that won their titles the same time as me and myself went to the National Harbor for Out of the Darkness 5k for Ovarian Cancer. We all wore teal and got to meet the runners. We met survivors and had fun dancing around and warming up with the other contestants. While they were running we cheered them on and after we awarded the top runners in each category.

It was incredible to meet all the people and sign their poster to make our mark. We took many pictures and it was awesome to see little kids get excited thinking we were princesses.

Each appearance I did was special and helped me learn something.

It was great to meet so many different people from different walks of life and taught me what it really means to be a titleholder. It helped me prepare for the state competition.

At Miss Maryland Week, we competed every night at the Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown, MD. During the day, we had practice, interviews, appearances, and very little downtime. The week happened so fast and I made so many friends with girls from across the state.

Even though I didn’t win the title of Miss Maryland’s Outstanding Teen, I wouldn’t have changed the memories I have for anything. It’s crazy how quickly you become friends and how close you become with everyone. Every pageant that I’ve gone to during this new season, I look forward to seeing them.

It’s always cool when you’re at a sporting event for your school and you see one of your friends that you compete with from the rival school.

To say that I learned a lot from the Miss America Organization would be an understatement, it was life changing.

After competing I feel more confident in myself and what I am capable of. I know how to carry myself in an interview and the poise you need. It has showed me how important it is to help others and that a goal in our life should be to help.

This scandal, that consisted of offensive emails about a previous Miss America, resulted in the resignation of executive chairman and chief executive officer Sam Haskell, chairman Lynn Weidner, and the president and COO Josh Randle.

It has caused MAO to not only get new board members, which will consist of some previous Miss Americas, but also the new chair for the board of directors will be Gretchen Carlson, Miss America 1989.

The organization is putting its faith in previous titleholders and I couldn’t think of anything better.

I feel that the people who have competed and represented this organization know best how to run and move it forward. Especially after something like this. I think that these women will do a great job in helping the organization move forward in the 21st century. I believe that they will show the organization’s friendliness towards the diversity that is America.

Although this has caused the reputation of the Miss America Organization to suffer, I believe it will come back stronger and better than ever.