So. This is probably my fifth attempt at writing this blog post. It’s hard to write about beauty pageants without my thoughts devolving into a 5,000 word diatribe about Beauty + Power + Society + OMGi’mablondewhitewomanwholikestobeonstagehowdoesthisapplytomeeeeeeeee. I don’t know how to write about women wearing swimsuits for judges without sounding snarky and judge-y.
But I don’t think there’s any benefit to tearing down other women for the choices they make. And a lot of the pageant contestants are craaaazy accomplished, so there must be something to it, right? Or maybe not? I don’t know. So, in lieu of detailing my Feelings About The Pageant Industry, I’m just going to provide you with some observations and facts, presented without comment.
Facts and Observations from the Miss Minnesota 2013 Pageant
* The cheapest tickets for the final day of the pageant were $27. Better seats cost $32 and $42. A program for the event cost $15.
* 30% of each contestant’s score came from the interview round (conducted before the pageant.) The remaining 60% was divided between the swimsuit and evening gown competitions. 10% of their score came from the final, live interview question.
* Every single contestant paired her swimsuit with beige, patent leather platform shoes.
* There was no talent competition.
* Music of choice to accompany the pageant? Dave Matthews, Sting, Hoobastank, David Gray.
* Family and friends supported their contestants with big, handmade signs – some with battery-operated lights.
* During the evening gown competition, the emcee read off each contestant’s proudest accomplishments. A sampling:
– an award-winning thesis from Columbia
– cheerleader for a professional sports team* Each finalist had to answer a question for the live interview section. Questions covered bullying, the importance of education, the causes they would work to promote. Several contestants ended their answers with “…so….” and “…..anyway….”
* Included in the prize package that the winner would receive: multiple scholarships, hair extensions, cosmetic dentistry, spray tans, media coaching, headshots, personal training sessions, makeup brushes.
* Miss Minnesota 2012 was Hmong and before she passed on her crown, she spoke about how great it was that a girl who’d been born in a developing country, in a refugee camp, could receive an honor like this and represent Minnesota to the rest of the country and the world.
* The women who won Miss Minnesota 2013 and Miss Teen Minnesota 2013 both listed modeling contracts as major achievements.
So. There are some facts about the Miss Minnesota pageant. How do you feel about beauty pageants? Would you ever take part in one?
Edited to add:
This pageant was part of the Miss USA pagents – the ones run by Donald Trump. Sara competed in the Miss America circuit of pageants and had this to say:
Scoring is 40% interview (its private, with the judges, and often
intense) 30% talent, 15% swimsuit, and 15% evening gown. Thats for Miss
America system. Miss USA is 1/3 each swimsuit, evening gown, and onstage
interview. Also you can win major scholarships with Miss America. I
paid a major chunk of undergrad by competing.