fourpoints Magazine

The #1 Resource for Everything Miss America & MAOTeen

Q&A with MAO Preliminary Judges

Wednesday, 11 September 2013 10:50

Renowned in their fields, the seven Miss America Organization preliminary competition judges bring diversity and a varied skill set to the panel this year. These judges are charged with narrowing down fifty-three Miss America contestants to the top fifteen—the group from which final night judges will crown the next Miss America. What criteria are they using to score contestants? Find out here!

During the judges' interview, how do you determine what you want to find out about each contestant, and what questions do you ask to find those things out?

Stephanie George: They have to have a deep understanding of current events. That’s number one. They are all very passionate about their platforms, but we want to know why. If they are Miss America, what will they do to extend their platforms? That’s number two. Number three, we let them talk about why they are here. What did they do to get here? [The fourth thing I look for is] why they have a passion for the organization and appreciate scholarship funding that is awarded to them.

When judging talent, do you base your scores on contestants’ technical skills or their ability to engage the audience?

Richard Dyer: If you start looking for something, it’s all you’re ever going to find. The talent part is important, but not decisive. By the end, we’re looking for a combination of qualities. The main thing is what is the talent telling you about her.

Why is Miss America relevant to media and business?

Nina Whitaker LaFontaine: Miss America raises the social consciousness of young women today. It is important in a nation where there is apathy. These ladies are a gleaming example of what it is to be beautiful, smart, and still be in service.

All of the contestants are fit. How do you judges the lifestyle and fitness in swimwear competiton?

Oscar James: I look for proportion and if the woman is comfortable in her body. I’m seeing if she can own the stage, feel good about herself.

Other preliminary competition judges include Shirley Cothran Barret, Karl Jurman, and Cori Wellins Lagao. Check back with us tonight to see who judges award two more scholarships after the second night of preliminary competitions!

Written by: Erika Rose is fourpoints magazine’s staff writer. Her favorite phase of competition is evening wear.

A Rose By Any Other Name …

Wednesday, 04 September 2013 06:29

I'm officially a Rose, after so much paperwork …

To change my last name after getting married, I had to visit the Secretary of State's office, the Social Security office, the Secretary of State's office again, the credit union, and the library. I filled out more forms for work and car insurance, my Verizon Wireless account, mPerks, yes Rewards, other various store accounts, and the list goes on.  

Call it old fashioned, but to me, all of this paperwork was worth it to have my new name. After all, I feel like a new person. Although I still have the same physical appearance, there is something inside of me that changed when I became a wife; something that merits, in my opinion, a new identity. 

When Abram was charged with fathering the nations in Genesis, he got a new name—Abraham. When Jorge Mario Bergoglio was appointed to the papacy this year, he got a new name—Pope Francis. When Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. hit the stage, he got a new name—Snoop Dogg, aka Snoop Lion. 

While my vocation as a wife may not be as biblically historical, as internationally renowned, or as musically inclined, I'm still called to carry out a new mission, to fulfill a new role. And I'm not just talking laundry and vacuuming (although I do love those things). Even though I can't really put into words how I am different, I'm striving each day to be an outward sign of my inward change, and I'm praying that I can be the kind of wife that is deserved of a new title.  

Written by: Erika Rose is Serendipity Media LLC's staff writer. She graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in journalism. Erika was born and raised in West Michigan, and after a brief stint on the sunrise side, she's home and loving it. 


I went back for my second year of Teens in Training. After the great experience last year, I just thought that it’d be exactly the same. I was excited to go and see the shows and meet new people again. 

The first day, I still had the same nerves as the year before. For me, I hate meeting new people. The fear of being judged or not fitting in scares me. But by the time I sat on the couch, I already made friends with someone. For the next four days, we partook in workshops. Some were new and some were old. It was nice that there were some different ones for the girls who came back a second year.  

Last year helped me so much by just being able to talk to people. Before, I would never talk until someone talked to me first. This year, whenever it was quiet, I was the first to talk and I didn’t have the fear of people not wanting to hear me. This year, I found the new workshops helping me. The thing I liked the most was learning how to stand and talk properly. 

Every night, I enjoyed getting dressed up for the preliminary competitions and feeling proud of being part of this experience in one way. Meeting everyone who helps make this organization happen and seeing the people behind MAOT was amazing to me. My favorite part of the whole experience was at the Night of the Stars dinner. I got to put my interviewing skills to use and interview the little princesses on stage. 

This year, I feel like I made so many more friends that I got along with. I learned so much experience I can take home with me. I’ll be able to use the skills that I learned for a lifetime. I’m so blessed to have this experience and really let these lessons sink into me. 

Written by: Mackenzie Reeves attended Teens in Training Camp during the Miss America's Outstanding Teen competition in August 2013. She also attended the camp in August 2012. Although she has never competed in a pageant, Mackenzie enjoys employing the skills she learned at TNT camp in her everyday life. 

Before each night of preliminary competitions began at the Miss America's Outstanding Teen 2013 competition, the production host reminded audience members to cheer for contestants. But they weren't just referring to applause for the state titleholder groups in the crowd came to support. They asked that each contestant be equally cheered on.

Each one of this year's fifty-two contestants represents her state by exemplifying the values MAOTeen holds so dear. Last night at the Evening of the Stars event, Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan reminded these contestants that being a titleholder isn't about wearing a crown, but rather it is about all the lives teen titleholders can touch with the crown. She encouraged them to use their positions and the opportunities they have to give back and serve others.

Tonight, Miss America 2014 will be crowned. And while she will travel far and wide and have the chance to serve thousands of men, women, children, and adults during her year of service, remember that each one of the teen state titleholders is still working in her state to serve those she meets each and every day.

Written by: Erika Rose is fourpoints magazine's staff writer.

Don't Wait to Apply for Scholarships

Friday, 16 August 2013 15:48

This morning at the MAOTeen College Fair, universities from across the country set up shop at the Rosen Centre to entice college-bound young women to consider their schools and the financial support they are willing to provide. We'll be delving into the subject of in-kind scholarships more in our October issue of fourpoints, but for now I'd like to step up on a soap box and talk about the reasons teens should be setting aside a little time each week to seek out and apply for college scholarships.

When I was a freshman at Michigan State University, nearly my entire year of tuition was paid for with scholarships. During my senior year of high school, I worked on essays and concentrated on my grades in order to secure that funding. But when the scholarship money ran out and tuition came due, I had to do what so many college-aged students are required to do these days—take out loans. Because "everybody was doing it" while I was in college, it didn't seem like too big of an ordeal. I'd graduate, get a job, and pay back my loans no problem! While the first part of that sentence is true, I did graduate, get a job, and start paying off my loans, it hasn't been so easy. The majority of my paychecks each month go to paying down on my loans, and I'm not even close to being done.

The moral of this story is: The more scholarships you get, the less loans you'll need, and the faster you'll be debt free. You may even graduate debt free like so many of the titleholders who've walked across the MAOTeen stage. No matter what grade you're in, you can start working toward stellar academic achievements in order to have the best GPA and transcripts. And it's never too early to work on scholarship appliactions! Seek out scholarships in your community and state, and apply! My mom always used to tell me, it may take two hours of your precious time to write a scholarship essay, but if that scholarship is for $500, you'll be making $250 an hour!

Written by: Erika Rose is fourpoints magazine's staff writer.

Walking Tall

Thursday, 15 August 2013 12:50

Would you agree that the clothes you wear make a difference in the way you carry yourself? I just found out first hand that wearing a one-of-a-kind Mac Duggal cocktail dress does just that! Bridal Elegance & Pageantry is graciously loaning me a dress for the Miss America's Outstanding Teen Night of the Stars event Friday. On the hanger, the dress Bridal Elegance stylists pulled for me was stunning, and on, it felt even more ravishing. Although I'm not an expert on fashion apparel, it's easy to recognize the quality and sophistication of a dress made with practiced hands and creative design.

All day long at the MOATeen trade show, I see princesses, teens, and miss contestants trying on outfits for appearances, interview, talent, evening wear, etc. I see them scrutinize color, style, and fit. And while I think there is so much to be said for finding the perfect gown (read more on this subject in a coming issue of fourpoints), I will also say that there is so much beauty floating around the Rosen Centre this week. It's a beauty that is exuded not because of fabrics, beading, and sparkle, but one that comes from within—from the confidence of young women as they look in the mirror and believe in themselves.

Written by: Erika Rose is fourpoints magazine's staff writer.

Do You Feel Like a Celebrity?

Wednesday, 14 August 2013 13:34

1173648 547999411934142 548445817 nThis morning, we spent some time with Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan! She stopped by our table to sign autographs for a long-winding group of excited fans.

Last January at the 2013 Miss America competition, we heard the word “relatable” quite a bit. Judges wanted to choose a relatable titleholder—someone who could confidently move between the social circles of everyone from princess-aged children to the President of the United States. Mallory exemplifies this trait each day, and it was particularly evident this morning as she signed autographs.

Everyone from trade show vendors to state volunteers to parents of contestants wanted the opportunity to talk with Miss America, and no matter who it was, Mallory made them feel like she was there just for them. She didn’t just sign her name on a magazine and send people on their way. She took the time to ask them a couple of questions, write a personal note along with her autograph, and really convey her appreciation for the support of all those attending festivities this week at the 2013 Miss America's Outstanding Teen competition.

Even though Mallory was the biggest celebrity in the room, her compassion reminded us that we’re all a part of something bigger than a trade show, an autograph signing, or a week of competitions. This week is really about the continuation of an organization that supports the positive development of young woman across the country through service and scholarship.

Written by: Erika Rose is fourpoints magazine’s staff writer.

Show Us Your Sparkle!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013 12:37

It’s our first day on the job, although being at the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen trade show doesn’t quite feel like work. It’s more like a family reunion! Throughout the year, I e-mail and call sources for articles and collect story ideas and photos digitally. As fast and easy as using the Internet is to procure content for the magazine and website, there’s nothing quite like sitting down with someone and taking notes longhand—hearing their story face to face.

The thing I’ve always loved the most about working with Teen and Miss volunteers and pageant enthusiasts is their passion for what they do. There’s a whole lot of sparkly jewelry and apparel for sale at the trade show, but not as much sparkle as is in the eyes of those who believe in and work for the success of MAOTeen. This week I’m most looking forward to all that sparkle!

Please come by the trade show and say hello to us! Here’s a little preview of the events we have going on at our booth this week:

  • Thursday, August 15 at 10 a.m., MAOTeen 2013 Rachel Wyatt will sign autographed copies of fourpoints.
  • Saturday, August 17 at 11 a.m., Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan will sign autographed copies of fourpoints.

We also have some special offers for subscriptions during the trade show! A one-year subscription (six issues) is just $19.95 this week. A two-year subscription (twelve issues) is $39.95. And a three-year subscription (eighteen issues) is going this week for $49.50.

We’ll see you at the booth!

Written by: Erika Rose is fourpoints magazine’s staff writer.

DSC 8158For the past eleven months, I've been planning a major event: my wedding. I would consider myself an emotional person (I'm often misty-eyed and reaching for a tissue after interviewing sources for fourpoints articles, and everyone in the office is used to it). But I never knew the range of emotions I could experience until now. I've gushed, squealed, fumed, and sobbed. And sometimes all in the same day …  

On the days that have leaned more toward the negative, I have tried to remember this saying: "Anger is a secondary emotion." It means when I find myself reacting to something or someone with anger, there is another emotional trigger (or triggers) that got me there. For example, I felt angry that I couldn't order the linens for my reception when I wanted to, but the cause of my anger wasn't a tablecloth—I was overwhelmed with my to-do list and worried I'd fall behind. Overwhelmed + Worried = Angry.  

Another adage I keep close to my heart is, "Love is always the appropriate reaction." I am a redhead, and stereotypically fiery when provoked. I also have a passive aggressive streak—I know, I'm working on it. And the way I'm working on it is by trying to pause before reacting. During the pause, I have time to remember that I can choose the way I react. I may not be able to choose or change the way someone else acts, but I am in control of my own actions. And why on earth, if I am able to choose, would I ever choose the negative? Everything good, and nothing bad, comes from being loving. 

I'm not perfect. My wedding dress is perfect. But I am not. That's why I keep these mantras around, like a little team of personal encouragement, cheering me on and making me a better person (and, someday, a better wife). 

What are your favorite quotes or phrases, and how have they helped you? 

p.s. What's your advice for me on my big day?

Written by: Erika Fifelski, fourpoints staff writer. Photo: Evelyn Vaughn Photography

The Making of a Cover

Monday, 08 July 2013 07:43

Brooke Fan4 a.m.: Wake up call from Mom

7 a.m.: Depart Manchester, New Hampshire, airport

11:10 a.m.: Arrive in Detroit, Michigan

12 p.m.: Let the fun begin at Sam T'ang Productions!

A once-in-a-lifetime day—that pretty much sums it! Shooting the cover of the August issue of fourpoints magazine as its Cover Model was a dream come true. As soon as I arrived, I instantly felt like a celebrity! First, I tried on gowns to pick the perfect one for the cover. The photo shoot team and I decided on a bright pink, flowing, one-shouldered dress with a flowery detail. (I wanted to keep it, but it was only on loan to me for the day.) Once wardrobing was done, I was whisked into hair and makeup. Then it was time to shoot!

Brooke SwingSam T'ang is a fantastic photographer! Not only did he make me feel relaxed, he brought out the fan right away and that’s my favorite prop for any photo shoot! He and the fourpoints stylists made sure I had plenty of looks, with headshots and full-length fashion shots in several outfits. The highlight of the shoot was sitting in the swing. It was oversized and old-fashioned, with white ropes; it hung from the studio ceiling. I started by posing seated, but by the end I was balancing, as I stood swinging in the beautiful gown. Being in front of the camera was a blast, but it was also tiring, especially after traveling such a distance. After three hours of shooting we called it a wrap!

Brooke SashBesides the photos, there were some other perks to the day: fourpoints presented me with a gift bag. My two favorite items? The official satin Cover Model banner (in hot pink and black) and popcorn. Not just any popcorn … this was pickle-flavored popcorn! Before arriving, fourpoints had asked me some questions including what my favorite food was—pickles and popcorn (I eat them at the same time)so I couldn’t believe it when they found gourmet pickled popcorn for me! Thank you fourpoints magazine for treating me like a rock star!

I can’t wait until the magazine comes out. I didn’t even get to see my own photos that day. I’m hoping they didn’t catch me making any silly faces! Thank you again to fourpoints for this opportunity, and thank you to my dedicated friends, fans, and family for voting me to be the 2013 Cover Model! I hope you, the readers, like this upcoming issue. Look for me at the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Trade Show and Pageant. I’m excited to meet you all!

With love,

Brooke Mills

2013 fourpoints Cover Model

Miss Kingston's Outstanding Teen 2013