fourpoints Magazine

The #1 Resource for Everything Miss America & MAOTeen

Infamy Vs. Pageantry

Wednesday, 05 January 2011 11:38

Posted Thursday, November 04, 2010

Today, a coworker e-mailed me an article with the headline "Former Miss America Co-Host Gary Collins Involved In Car Accident."

The article inspired me to write this blog post, which I guess really is all about how frustrating it is to see pageantry highlighted in the media negatively, for no reason.

The last time Gary Collins hosted the Miss America pageant was in 1989...21 years ago. But the wire service that broke this story chose to include his Miss America connection in the title of the story.

Why? I guess because having "Miss America" in a headline coupled with "car accident" is more...sensational? But it's almost inaccurate.  He isn't affiliated with MAO and he hasn't hosted the show in 20 years. He is, in the interest of full disclosure, married to Mary Ann Mobley, a former Miss America. But that still doesn't explain why - out of all his gigs during his entire career - the Miss America portion was expounded upon.

It's hard to improve the image of pageantry or even build an image to begin with when the only thing that is pounced on are negative things, or things that have no actual bearing on MAO.

I do not believe that any press is good press - although that's a popular idiom. I want our organization (and the volunteers and contestants) to be highlighted for all the good things they do.

I am dedicated to highlighting those accomplishments and I know that you are, too.

What are your thoughts on this?


Here's The Question

Wednesday, 05 January 2011 11:33

Posted Tuesday, November 09, 2010

I've been thinking a lot lately about the interview portion of competition.

This is actually my favorite part of competition, which is really kind of silly because it's the ONE phase of competition that audience members don't see. But I love it, and here's why.

I truly believe that a pageant can be won and lost in the interview room. And I think that's great. If you look at the job of Miss America (or even a Miss State or Miss Local), the one thing they do the most of during their year of service is talk and/or interact with people. That skill is integral to the job.

In the past, when I have had the privilege of judging pageants, I have loved the interview portion the best. You can really get to know a contestant in those few minutes and it sets a really great tone for the rest of the pageant.

Because I love interview so much, and because I am SO looking forward to the 2011 Miss America pageant, I spent some time today daydreaming about the kinds of questions I hope are asked in the 2011 interviews.

Some people love current events questions and things of a more political nature. Those questions are great, and of course Miss America should be well-versed in her own political beliefs and current events. But I don't think those kinds of questions really allow you to get to know a contestant.

I always like asking contestants how they got started in pageantry and what they have enjoyed so far about their year of service. Of course, the four points are a big deal to me (no surprise there) so I like to ask about them, as well.

I would love for the judges to ask the 2011 contestants questions that are salient to the job of Miss America: do you think you can handle yourself in a press conference? How much have you traveled? Are you familiar with the accomplishments of past Miss Americas - and what are the things YOU would like to accomplish as Miss America?

I would love to know what YOUR favorite phase of competition is!

And also, what interview questions would YOU ask the 2011 contestants?

A Special Titleholder

Wednesday, 05 January 2011 11:27

Posted Monday, November 29, 2010

Hey, readers! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving holiday. This story was forwarded to me before the holiday, but in the shuffle I didn't have time to talk about it / post it to my blog. But now, I'm happy to share this story with you:

Spokane police officers arrived to an unusual site at an emergency call on November 3rd: a homeless woman being assisted at the edge of a busy freeway off ramp by a shoeless teenage girl, in a pretty dress, with a four-point crown perched on her head.

15 year old, JJ Brown, Miss Spokane’s Outstanding Teen, had just come from the Glen Dow Academy of Hair Design and was on her way to perform at a "Musical Salute to Veterans" sponsored by the El Katif Shrine Center Legion of Honor in Spokane when a woman walking along the edge of the off ramp lost consciousness and her body tumbled right into the path of oncoming, rush-hour traffic. JJ’s Mom swerved to avoid hitting the woman and sped her car to the closest safe location to call 911. Before the car came to a full stop JJ leapt out of the car and dashed the 150 yards back to the woman.

Without much thought to her own safety, JJ hoisted the unconscious woman out of the middle of the road, got her to the guard rail, out of the direct path of traffic,and revived her.

The Spokane police officers arrived very quickly and helped get appropriate medical attention to the woman. An hour later JJ was surprised to see our Sheriff sitting in the front row as she sang at the veteran’s event. He served as an emotional reminder of her gratitude for all those who serve. Although she was slightly shaken and a little choked up, she sang beautifully and moved the audience with her heart-felt rendition of Lee Greenwood's "I'm Proud to Be An American".

Oh, why was she shoeless you ask? JJ is notorious for not putting on her heels until she reaches the door to an event, so she usually wears her trademark Converse Chuck Taylor's until she is near the venue. She was getting pretty close to her performance so she jumped out of the car half-way through the shoe change.

I don't know about you, but it warms my heart to hear about every titleholder making lives better in their communities.

Reaching Out

Wednesday, 05 January 2011 11:14

Posted Friday, December 03, 2010

Hello, faithful readers.

This week, I received a letter from Carol Henry, the ED of the Miss New Mexico pageant. She shared a very touching and serious story with me that I want to pass on to you:

Two years ago this week, Reagan Kenyon, then 6 yr. old daughter of Molly and Clifford Kenyon, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called a "Wilmes Tumor." She was rushed to a hospital in Lubbock, Texas where she underwent surgery removing a very large tumor along with her kidney. Her surgery was followed by many months of chemotherapy. After several months of being "clean," the beast returned, this time in Reagan's lung. Now at 8 years old, she is once again undergoing a very toxic form of chemo to rid her little body of the "ugly beast."

This past summer, several of the Miss New Mexico contestants attended a "Run for Reagan" event to raise money for the overwhelming expenses that the family has incurred. Much to everyone's surprise, a robust little Reagan also walked the course along with the others! Almost a picture of health, she was all grins as she posed for pictures with the Miss New Mexico ladies! Sarah Richardson, a 2010 contestant and Reagans "big sis" in the pageant, provided Reagan with a Little Miss crown attached to a ball cap to accomodate the crown staying on Reagans head!  It was a great day for all of those who attended the event.

Because Reagan was scheduled to have a chemo treatment the week of the Miss NM pageant she was unable to be presented on stage during the program last June. So, the crafty technicians who worked with the sound during the Miss NM pageant, were able to skype Reagan in from her hospital bed so that she could wish everyone a cherry hello during the preliminary competition! It was a moment that made everyone realize that life is fragile and that we should be thankful for every breath that we take and prayerful for those moments that take our breath away as this one did.

But the story gets better! Madison Tabet, Miss NM 2010 and I attended the teen pageant this summer in Orlando. I'm sure that most of you have seen the long long line of taxi's available outside of the Rosen Centre and have probably utilized one now and then. Madison and I needed a ride one evening and randomly choose a cab from the line. During the usual chit-chat with the driver, it was revealed that he had recently been in New Mexico in a small town named Ft. Sumner. I mentioned that I had also been there for a fundraiser for a small child who was ill with cancer. The driver (named Singh) tilted his head in deep thought, then replied, "I know of this child. Her name is Reagan. Her picture is all over my computer and my wife and I pray everyday for her recovery!"

Well, you can imagine the shock on our faces as this story unfolded. Singh had family in Ft. Sumner who had all shaved their heads in honor of Reagan's hair loss, and their pictures, along with Reagans, were on his computer! Madison and I are still in awe that we were somehow chosen, (perhaps by divine guidance?) to accept this message, all the way in Florida, and with the remote chance that we would choose Singhs cab! We realized at that moment that Reagans health was important to people everywhere!

Madison and I feel that there was a "purpose" in that conversation with Singh the cab driver in Orlando, Florida. We just don't know, yet, what that purpose was. We are counting on Reagan's health allowing her to be on stage in June with all of the other Little Misses. And with a full head of gorgeous hair so she can be crowned a "Little Miss."

Reagan was the honored guest at a "toy drive" this past month, put on by the Roswell Elks. As you can see by the pictures, hundreds of toys are piled up for delivery to the hospital in Lubbock, Texas, the facility where Reagan is treated. Madison Tabet, Miss NM 2010 was also a special guest at the toy drive, and she and Reagan spent the evening dancing way into the night! Still stoic and a picture of health, we honored this special child with a MOAT t-shirt filled with the signatures of all 2011 Miss contestants names and well- wishes. You can just see the excitement in her eyes as she proudly wears the t-shirt at the fundraiser!

The Miss New Mexico board and contestants are working hard to get the funds to make sure that Reagan gets to the 2011 Miss America pageant this January. Reagans dream is to attend the pageant and we want to make sure that dream comes true for her. I hope you will have the privelege of meeting this charming young lady. She will steal your heart away!

Please pray for Reagan's continued health, and maybe one day, we will see her on the Miss America stage, living and breathing to tell her compelling story of how she survived the "beast."

I know that I am going to keep Reagan and her family in my heart. I encourage all of you to do the same.

Miss America 2011 Surivial Guide

Wednesday, 05 January 2011 11:02

Posted Wednesday, December 29, 2010

If you are lucky enough to be attending the 2011 Miss America pageant, you are probably already OVER THE MOON about the upcoming pageant. And why wouldn't you be? It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see a Miss America crowned, and the 90th anniversary no less!

The Miss America / Las Vegas experience is wonderful, but it can also be a little overwhelming. I've put together a little guide to help you get the most out of your trip!


I am always lucky enough to stay in the Planet Hollywood for pageant week. I think it's worth the extra money to be where all the action is. However, if that's not an option for you, there are plenty of nice places along the strip. If you do stay at another hotel, don't waste money on taxi cabs. There is a tram you can take down the strip and the weather is nice enough that you can walk to and fro.


If you are attending the entire pageant week, you will need to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Las Vegas. While this sparkling city is known for MANY things, cheap eating is not one of them.

There are a handful of restaurants in Planet Hollywood. My personal favorites are Planet Dailies, P.F.Chang's, and Yolo's. The buffet in Planet Hollywood is also really great.

My advice is to hit up the ABC store in the shopping area and get some granola bars, bottles of water, and snacks for throughout the week. They even sell fresh fruit! That way, at least breakfast will be one meal you aren't buying in a restaurant. For lunch, hit up the buffet or split something with a friend. Earl of Sandwich is another one of my Planet Hollywood faves - it's a bit pricey but the portions are good for splitting.

For dinner, remember that the bulk of the people at Planet Hollywood are there for the pageant and that means you are all going to the same place at the same time. Plan ahead so you can have dinner before the show - get reservations, head to dinner early. Or, tough it out and get some food after the show.

Paris is right next door and they have some epicly good restaurants as well.

Fun Stuff

There are lots of pageant activities that go on throughout the week. There is the tradeshow, where I will be all week so be sure to come by and visit me. You can also buy all kinds of pageant stuff, meet Miss America sponsors, etc.

There is the Miss America parade this year, and of course the preliminaries at night.

There are also TONS of fun things to do in Las Vegas and you will have some down time to experience them.

My favorite thing to do is go down to the Bellagio and walk through their beautiful lobby and then into the gardens. There is also some SERIOUS shopping in the Bellagio. I've heard the M&M store is fun and it seems to be hugely popular every year. Of course, you don't want to miss contestant visitation after the preliminaries.


For the preliminaries, of course you will want to dress up. Don't get crazy - you spend most of your time sitting down in the dark. So, look nice but also be comfortable. It's pretty chilly in that theatre, so bring a wrap or a sleeve. You will be grateful for it.

During the day, aim for comfort. Seriously. You're going to be schlepping around and walking a ton. I know you want to look cute, and I encourage you to do so, but bring a comfy pair of kicks and some yoga pants. Again, you will be grateful for them.

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