The women who did well-- one who made it into the top five shocked us and dh whispered that she must have done extremely well in the interview although she didn't get recognized as having done well in the interview. (Of course I am happy for her!) The first runner up was also first runner up last year-- she committed pageantry suicide in her gown. My 11 year old saw her walk out and wrote me a note, "She just lost the crown." She was right. No matter what you want to talk about inner beauty and all that nonsense, it's a skin show. She'd worked out all year and you could tell this in the athletic wear portion.
- In the evening gown she looked like she loved her dress, but it was long sleeved and she is kind of like me (not big chested) and the neckline was high and had a design on it, attracting the eye to the chest which was not her best feature. She should have been showing off her shoulders and face. As it was, this gown of hers looked like a long cocktail dress, not an evening gown.
- In the athletic portion, she took a hula-hoop out. Everyone around me was whispering, "Oh-my-gawd, she isn't going to hula hoop out there, is she?" I was wondering if she would do the hula hoop. She used it to nicely frame her face at the end-- but it was a hula hoop. Hula hoop = circus performer.
- Last year she took out rock climbing gear which was more in line with our state. Two of the judges had returned so she probably wanted to do something different, but she'd have been better with hand weights or ski poles and said she was into arctic skiing. (That being said-- when I was pregnant I went out carrying a baby doll that my grandmother had made and stole a mop from a janitor at the last second and went out. I brought the house down! But I wasn't a serious contender, either-- it was enough that I was expecting my ninth and made it through the pageant!)
- Clothing designers want you to recognize their clothing. That is why models look so basic. You are not looking at their faces. Pageant dresses cannot be plain but they cannot overwhelm the wearer. Besides, how will you make your crown sparkle more if it's competing with some design?
My son's baseball coach was there. She was another person who held the stage but didn't place. My husband and I hollered, "Go Coach!" whenever she was out and we were in the front row but I don't think she saw us. She was standing right next to another cute short haired blond, a professional ballroom dancer. I think that they looked similar didn't help. She also wore a base ball uniform for her athletic wear. OK, something to remember here: the judges are going to send you to a pageant and in the Mrs. America Pageant you wear. . . ta-da! A swim suit. It's one piece, but it is still a swim suit. She could have done better by wearing cute shorts, a baseball inspired tank top, high heels and a baseball glove and done a cheese-cake Varga-style pose, "Why, yes I do dress like this to play baseball!" That would have shown off her legs, arms, and terrific figure in general.
A mechanical engineer wore what looked like Mormon formals. this is no slam at my Mormon friends-- she dressed like a Mormon and may even be Mormon, but this wasn't a Mormon pageant. She looked beautiful and sweet-- she had to be in her early 20's but had I not known she was a mechanical engineer, I'd have guessed her to be barely 18. She wore formal fabrics that had the t-shirt style to cover her collar bones and shoulders. Her hair-- oh my goodness, down to her waist. If she had to dress like that, she would have done better to have worn a long German drindl in velvet which would have had some character to it and since she looked like Rapunzel, well, the judges may have seen it more as a fashion statement!
Pageant winners tend to have long hair, have it down and look a certain way. Will my almost shoulder length hair be longer? I look best with it up like a Gibson Girl. Will I fit the mold? Perhaps not but I will do it for a last time in two years when I am 40. I need to at least get my internships out of the way for college and have a platform.
One of the amazing things that happened last year was that I was in an elevator with a judge when I left the pageant. I asked what I could do better this year. He said, "Who are you?" OK, I didn't stand out! I said I had nine children and he said he knew who I was, he was asking that because he wasn't sure if I knew who I was, "You said on your application that you don't want your children to define you, yet that is all you spoke about in the interview. You are interviewing for a job! I am an employer." He then explained that if I was selling myself for a job in his office and was to spend eight hours a day with him, what would I bring in? He said he isn't really allowed to ask about my children in an interview for a job but of course the pageant is different, but he said that if he thinks what if he joins me at lunch or between patients and all I can talk about are my children (or he said, my cats or my collection of Hot Wheels Cars or whatever,) or if patients started to talk to me and all I could do was refer to my children-- what kind of stimulation would I bring? I knew what he was talking about. He smiled at me and said, "Have you ever really thought about what you like? You've been changing diapers for the last seventeen years solid!" I was dumbfounded and by this time we'd stepped off the elevator. He smiled and said, "Get back to me next year."
Thinking of this I look at my name on here-- all versions of "Mom." Well, that's OK.
I hope he will be a judge in two years. So much is going to be happening and I can't wait to sit with him and tell him what I have been and will be doing. I knew as we parted that while I didn't win the pageant that I walked away with some wisdom that I'd not had before. A few months later I'd resume college and I am starting to define myself outside the children. I didn't realize it, but I'd been afraid of loosing something once I stopped having them. I am glad that I had them all and regret nothing, but he helped me in that short conversation start moving in to the next phase of my life.
Last year my gown was green velvet but had no rhinestones. I adore my seamstress, but she was like, "You don't want a slit that high! I don't care how pageants are!" No-- a pageant is a performance. I am dressing a certain way. I didn't want sleazy but a little more leg would have been better! She also thought the rhinestones would be too much since I had a rhinestone necklace. I didn't lose because of her at all-- I am quite capable of losing very well on my own! Still, there is a way things are done and you either do it that way and be creative within the modes and increase your chances or don't do it and forget about it. The cocktail dresses were also all extremely short-- I have always worn them a bit longer.
One woman went out in fishing gear and hip waders folded down by her knees for the athletic wear and while it was cute and I'd wanted to do it, my husband said, "She'll get away with that because she is a professional body builder and her features are still very strong, but your job is not to make the judges laugh." I think that he winner was in tennis whites.
One contestant who was too skinny was out there in a midriff baring top and shorts and a woman next to me said, "That's not fit. That's just gross." That's also something to be aware of-- you can be too skinny. Being too slender is a problem that needs to have attention drawn away from it. A body suit would have worked well with a sarong at her side would have looked good and you'd just see a clean line.
Something to note here-- too skinny, A or B cup breasts, shorter legs-- these are not problems. They just mean that you play up your strengths. I'll never have to worry about falling out of my gown. I can go bra-less and seldom need Duct Tape.
Anyway, next year my husband wants to take me to see this and get a hotel afterwards. He said that if I want a chance at the top five that I really need to make this a serious goal. He could not care less about doing this but I care and he said it's a waste of money to go half-assed. I can't afford $2,000 gowns and said that I need a different seamstress who I don't love as a friend. He said to keep my seamstress to make my clothes that I wear every day and special occasions, but she will not make the sexy gown that I will need to place.
I know what I will do for the athletic wear but I can't say here as I don't want to give away my secrets, but so much clicked as far as what I need to do to place in the top five. . . I have one slight problem and that is, I don't fit the mold. My features are different. I have modeled, but I have modeled clothes from the forties and period-type clothing. My face lends itself to hats and I have a look that people don't forget. It's good-- but pageant winners, though they hate to admit it, fit into a mold. For me the pageant is a goal that is helping me buff myself for other goals, like completing my college degree the year I turn forty, getting into a physical certain shape. . . and I will love doing what it takes to get there. I told my husband that I don't care if I do it in two years-- completing college and dancing my way back into great shape is really enough and he said, "No-- I see you competing in two years. You will do this again. What is a better way to celebrate you finishing your degree, being forty years old, about to start a new career with two children grown while still raising seven in the house? Pageants celebrate women in all phases of life. I want you to represent where you will be." He also said that he will buy me a tiara so if I don't win, I will still walk out with one. . . so there!