With being 93 years in the making, this years Miss America pageant is sure to catch the attention of many. There are already three contestants in the media over what they are ‘bring to the stage’ at this years Miss America Pageant. The three young ladies who are already in the media for what they are bringing to the stage are; Allison Elizabeth, Theresa Vail, and Nicole Kelly.The Pageant will be back where it’s roots are, in the home town of Atlantic City, NJ. Join us at home on ABC at 9pm to see that the Miss America contestants brains win over their beauty.
The Miss America Pageant started back in 1921, in Atlantic City, NJ. It started with the East Coast news paper sending their city 9 representatives to a 2nd Annual Fall Frolic, as special guests. The contest was held to lure in tourists to Atlantic City. A local Atlantic City newspaper man by the name of Herb Test stated the article name as, “and we’ll call her Miss America.” So the title has stuck as to what to call the women. The early Miss America Pageants have had some of the following activities in the contests, and more; tennis tournaments, parades, concerts, fancy dress ball, and 7 different bathing divisions, some of which are children, men, professional women, and comic costumes. Even the firemen and the policemen would dress up in bathing suits for the competition. In 1921, a woman by the name of Margaret Gorman, who was just 16 years old, was the first Miss America pageant winner.The first Miss American competition kicked off by the arrival of King Neptune, landing in the Atlantic City Yacht Club.
As you will see in the following, the Miss America contestants are judged on more than just their beauty. The following is judged for the preliminary round; Swim wear @ 15%, evening wear @ 20%, talent @ 35%, private interview @ 25%, and on-stage question @ 5%. The following is judged at the final round; composite @ 30% (top 16 girls), life and fitness swim @ 20% (top 16 girls), evening wear @ 20% (top 10 girls), talent @ 30% (top 8 girls), and on stage question @ top 8 girls. They are judged on some very specific categories; talent, private interview questions in which they are judged on their presentation and communication skills, achievements that have been made and they want to make in life, life style they live, their presence and poise, what their peer respect and leadership has been, what their artistic expressions are, evening wear, swim suit, and fitness.
The requirements of the Miss America Pageant winner have been the same since 1989. Each girl can compete at state level several times in their lifetime, but may represent her state in the national Miss America pageant only once in their life time. Each girl must be between 17 and 24 years of age. Unlike other pageants and competitions, the Miss America girls are required to do their own hair and make up for the contests, and for the year following their win. Each girl will go through a rigorous year with out any down time. The winning girl will be in a year long speaking tour as a national spokes person. She will cover approximately 20,000 miles per month, with being in a different city every other day. The pageant girl will be addressing diverse audiences and increasing the awareness and promoting her chosen ‘platform’.
Several Miss America girls have had their door opened in their career life, just from being in the pageant. A 1993 contestant, Leanza Cornett, slid straight into an ‘on air’ job with Entertainment Tonight. Gretchen Carlson was an anchor for ‘Fox and Friends’ until 2012. A 1990 Miss America Pageant contestant Debbye Turnur was a full anchor on ‘CBS Morning News’. Venessa Williams admitted that being in the Miss America Pageant, ‘Jump Started’ her career. There are several other Miss America contestants that have been able to slide into a good job straight from the pageant.
This years pageant is full of ‘firsts’ that the young ladies are brining to the stage. Miss Kansas’ 22 year old, Theresa Vail, will be the first Miss America to show her tattoo’s in the contest. When she was asked about showing her tattoo’s, she was asked if she would be wearing a 2 piece and show the tattoos during the pageant. She simply put, “my whole platform is empowering women to over come stereo types and break barriers. Half the girls have tattoos, they just choose to cover them up, during an interview with People Magazine. When first seen on the 1st night of the competition and night on the board, Theresa was asked why she won’t cover them up, Theresa said, “what a hypocrite I would be if I covered my ink.” Theresa Vail will be the first in history to sport tattoos on stage of the Miss America Pageant. Don’t be too quick to judge. The tattoo wearing, Miss America contestant has the ‘serenity prayer’ on her right side, her left shoulder has the U.S. Army Dental Corps Insignia on it. Theresa isn’t just a Miss America contestant, she is also a dental technician for the U.S. Army National Guard, is an Army Sergeant, and Theresa is also an Opera singer.
This year, the Miss Oregon contestant is not only the youngest Miss American contestant at 19 years old, but she is also the tallest contestant at 6’1″ tall. Miss Oregon’s contestant is Allison Elizabeth Cook. She is from Klamath Falls, Oregon and is a Jr. at Oregon Institute of Technology. Don’t let the young age fool you. Allison is studying in Radiological Science to become an MRI technician, and specifically wanting to work with brain trauma.
The Miss America from Iowa is Nicole Kelly this year. Nicole Kelly was born with out a left fore arm. She is a 23 year old from Keokuk, Iowa. Nicole graduated from the School of Theatre and Film, studying in their directing and management program in May 2012. Miss Iowa now goes to the University of Nebraska Lincoln.
Miss American contestant Jennifer Smestad, you may also know as Miss Arizona. Jennifer also has a first she’s bringing to the stage. At the age 0f 10 years old, Jennifer was diagnosed with Tourettes Syndrome. She has learned to over come the condition. Jennifer works to educate children and families about Tourette’s syndrome, and has called it her plat form.
This year, the pageant judging panel is made up of 7 judges; a 2005 former Miss America Deidre Downs Gunn, a comedian named Mario Cantone, a violinist by the name of Joshua Bell, The N.Y. Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire, ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’ host Barbara Corcoran, and Carla Hall from ‘The Chew’. This year, the pageant will have 53 contestants from the United States, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. You can join Lara Spencer, who was the former Miss America judge, is the Miss America Co-Host and the Good Morning America Anchor, on the show “Pageant Confidential:The Road To Miss America. It will be aired from 8pm-9pm tonight, Sunday 15th on ABC. The Miss America Pageant will follow at 9pm tonight. You can also enjoy tonights show, for the first time ever, over broadcast on ESPN radio. Watch or listen to the Miss America Pageant and see how well the Miss America contestants will win us all over with their brains, not just their beauty.
Written By: Crystal Ervin