Hello, again fourpoints readers!
I just wanted to take a moment to thank each and every one of you that take the time to read my blog posts. I think the amount of support within the Miss America Organization is great, and I am so thrilled to be involved with it!
Last week’s blog post was centered on my platform, Joining Forces. I had also mentioned that I was preparing for Miss Washington, my own state pageant. And for this week’s posting, I figured I would talk about just that: the Miss Washington pageant!
In 2009, I competed and won Miss Spokane’s Outstanding Teen, going on to Miss Washington’s Outstanding Teen, where I placed third runner-up, received the Preliminary Talent Award, People’s Choice Award, and Spokesmodel Award. Growing up an avid softball and basketball player, it was hard to believe that I was bitten by the pageant bug! I went on a three-year hiatus to gain some life experience, then I grabbed my heels, gown, and (this time!) swimsuit and grabbed the title of Miss Inland Empire for a one-way ticket to the Miss Washington stage.
And now it’s here: the moment I’ve been preparing so hard for these past few months. I would be absolutely lying to you if I didn’t say that I was a little bit nervous; but this is a great thing! My background in sports and theater have taught me to channel these nerves and throw them, wholeheartedly, into the pageant. I think the one thing I am the most excited for is the opportunity to talk about my platform at the state level: in front of judges from across the nation. I couldn’t have asked for a better stage to get the word out about Joining Forces! Although I’m nervous and excited, I know it will be the week of a lifetime, thanks to all of the hard work of the volunteers and Executive Directors, Peggy Miller and Patti Belik at Miss Washington. I’m grateful I’m not alone: I now have a list of twenty-one fabulous young women to call my sisters! Thanks for being such great friends, and I wish nothing but the best for all of us!
In the midst of exercising, talent rehearsals, walking rehearsals, and overall preparations for Miss Washington, I’ve also been preparing for the wonderful photo shoot opportunity I received this month, thanks to all of you! I cannot tell you how excited I am for this; my mom and I always travel together during the summer to embark on new adventures (American Idol, The Voice, The X-Factor). Our trips have taken us to more than fifteen different cities, and Detroit is one we have never been to; we’re glad we can add it to the list! It’s going to be so cool to work with the fourpoints photographer and have my hair and makeup done—I am SO ready to see the amazing ideas the people at fourpoints have come up with for the cover! I know I’ll LOVE IT!
In closing, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my posts thus far. I can’t wait for the issue to come out in August so you can really get to know me a little more! I am so blessed and so grateful for all of the opportunities I have been given, and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without my family, friends, and the Miss Washington and Miss America Organizations! As I prepare myself for Miss Washington next week, keep me in your hearts and keep those fingers crossed! Thanks for reading—now go and enjoy the rest of your day!
As we all know, the Miss America Organization is one that embraces women from past, present, and future, and Anna Mae Schoonver is quite possibly one of the last people alive who participated in the earlier generations of Miss America.
Anna Mae was born in Seattle on February 9, 1917, and grew up during the depression. She moved with her family to a farm in eastern Washington to survive the depression years where she picked strawberries with her mother and sold them at a penny a basket. She claims that hard times like those made her strong and practical and were the inspiration for a book she wrote later in life call Picking Up Pennies. At 95, she's still a hard-worker, up every morning at 7 a.m., industrious, does her own driving, cooking, and cleaning, and makes time every day to read The Wall Street Journal cover to cover.
Anna Mae–who later shortened her name to Ann–won her first pageant in 1938, and then went on to compete for Miss Washington–and won again. After a summer of appearances as Miss Washington, Ann went to Atlantic City. She won the talent contest with a dramatic reading. She won the bathing suit contest. And she came in as second runner-up in the Miss America contest. At the time, she was engaged to James Clough Danly, and when advised during the competition to remove her engagement ring, she refused. She married James in November of 1939, spent her honeymoon in Hawaii, and moved to Chicago where they raised eight children.
Ann had offers from modeling agencies and film studios, but it wasn't until her last child was in high school, that she visited modeling agencies in Chicago and became very busy in her 60s as a model in print and media, taking on age-appropriate roles as a grandmother, a country-club socialite, and advocate of health and beauty products for mature women.
When James retired, he and Ann moved to Naples, Florida, where Ann got busy in another calling, writing. She wrote two novels and a non-fiction book on thrift called Picking Up Pennies. The books were sold at local CVS pharmacies and Amazon.
Ann is in excellent health. Her husband passed away in 2005, and she says she counts her blessings everyday that she married that wonderful man and had sixty-six "blissful" years with him.
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