Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Back to the Boardwalk...Miss America returns home

"Although Dorothy had a great adventure in the land of Oz there was still no place like home and someday she always knew she would go back"...

This is what I first thought of when hearing that the "Miss America Pageant" ended its several year reign here and is going back to Atlantic City where it all began so long ago.

They had a great run, and many will miss them...especially me, since I have been their Las Vegas based rehearsal host for several years. That means my reign is over now too......That's okay. I am still involved with this great group of people as a friend and judge on the state and local level.

Karen Wendt & Anna Wendt ...Miss America Pageant rehearsals 2011

I enjoyed standing in for Brooke Burke, Gretchen Carlson, and yes, once even Chris Harrison, as rehearsal host while working with the contestants as they lived out their dreams competing for the big one! They had all worked hard to win their local, then state pageants, (some attempting multiple times), in order to be there.

Also, many times either myself or my sister Karen, also a rehearsal actress, "won" the title of "Miss America" for rehearsal only and walked down the runway to the song, "There she is". Though we never did get to wear the real crown. It was kept guarded in a wooden box on a little pillow, to adorn only the head of the new title holder.

I have also had the privilege many times of being the rehearsal host for the Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants, also in Las Vegas, but I am not talking about them right now. Miss America is a different pageant, a scholarship competition, with a 93 year history.

The Miss America contestants have always been pretty, and fit.  However, I have noticed in the past few years they have really stepped up their game with hair, make up and wardrobe.  Has some of glitz of Las Vegas rubbed off on them? Perhaps. If we gave the pageant a little more sophistication then maybe they gave us something too. An extra dose of credibility. When the politicians were bashing Las Vegas as a convention destination and the "Hangover" films highlighting our party vibe, the fact is this wholesome and all American pageant wouldn't have been held here so many years in a row if we were that "unruly" of a city.

When I visited the offices last summer in New Jersey I got a close up look at the Miss America Organization and its rich history. The oil paintings adorning the walls showing each and every former title holder reveal the changes in women's style over the years, as do the crowns, from the very first one (it was cloth, believe it or not) to the modern tiara.

After my visit I attended a "Miss New Jersey Pageant" on the breezy, beautiful and historic, Ocean City pier. The lights on the rides glowed behind us and current and former beauty queens were everywhere, from very young to very mature...There was an excitement in the air that made me think .... the national pageant will be back in Atlantic City someday I bet, and now it is.

Best wishes to a true American tradition on your next chapter!

Thanks for the Instagram plug, Chris!
Miss America Pageant, January 2013

Related Links:

"What is a Rehearsal Host?".....Hollywood Underdog, January 2013

"Greetings from the Jersey Shore"....Hollywood Underdog, June 2012

Did you know?....
Since 1989 Miss America contestants have required a platform in order to participate as a contestant. They don't just pick some charity and slap it on their resume. Many hours of time, effort and fundraising are put in. Many of the former title holders at all levels, not just the national level have gone on to careers as high achievers in business, entertainment, teaching, law, and medicine.

Thinking of or know someone who would like to participate in a Miss America Organization scholarship competition at the local level? Here's how!

Miss America Organization....Frequently Asked Questions

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