Friday, November 13, 2009

Miss America

Miss America

The Miss America pageant is a long-standing competition which awards scholarships to young women from the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The first-prize winner of the national pageant is awarded the title of "Miss America" for one year.
The pageant originated as a beauty contest in 1921, but now prefers to avoid this term since Swimsuit and Evening Wear comprise 35 percent of the overall score used to judge contestants. The pageant began in Atlantic City, New Jersey and was held there each year in September through 2004 (except for the year 2000, when it was held on October 14).
In January 2006 the pageant moved to its new home and time in Las Vegas, Nevada. The pageant presents itself as a "scholarship pageant," and the primary prizes for the winner and her runners-up are given scholarships to the institution of her choice. The Miss America Scholarship program, along with its local and state affiliates is the largest provider of scholarship money to young women in the world, and in 2006 made available more than $45 million in cash and scholarship assistance. Since most of the contestants are college graduates already, or on the verge of graduating, most of their prize money is devoted to graduate school or professional school, or to pay off student loans for courses already taken. The Miss America Pageant is the largest provider of college scholarships for women in the United States.
The current Miss America is Miss Indiana who won the title on January 24, 2009.


Margaret Gorman was the very first Miss America Pageant winner in 1921.
The Miss America competition originated on September 8, 1921, as a two-day beauty contest in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The event that year was still called the Atlantic City Pageant, and the winner of the grand prize, the 3-foot Golden Mermaid trophy, wasn't even called "Miss America" until 1922, when she re-entered the pageant. The pageant was initiated in an attempt to keep tourists in Atlantic City after the Labor Day weekend.
In 1935, Talent was added to the competition. At the time, non-white women were barred from competing, a restriction that was codified in the pageant's "Rule number seven," which stated that "contestants must be of good health and of the white race." No African American women participated until 1970, although African Americans did appear in musical numbers as far back as 1923, when they were cast as slaves. Until at least 1940, contestants were required to complete a biological questionnaire tracing their ancestry.
In the early years of the pageant, a beauty competition of the women wearing bathing suits was the main event. Yolande Betbeze, Miss America 1951, refused to pose for publicity pictures while wearing a swimsuit, citing that she wanted to be recognized as a serious opera singer. Catalina swimwear, one of the Miss America sponsors, withdrew and created the Miss USA/Universe pageants.
The 1955 pageant was the first to be televised; the winner was Lee Meriwether. In 1959, Mary Ann Mobley of Brandon, Mississippi won the Miss Mississippi title and then went on to win the Miss America pageant. The next year, her successor as Miss Mississippi (Lynda Lee Mead of Natchez) also went on to win the Miss America title. The only states to have produced Miss Americas in consecutive years are Pennsylvania (1935 and 1936), Mississippi (1959 and 1960), and Oklahoma (2006 and 2007). Mary Katherine Campbell, Miss Columbus, Ohio, won in both 1922 and 1923 before the rules were changed to limit an entrant to participating in only one year.
The pageant has been nationally televised since 1954. It peaked in the early 1960s, when it was repeatedly the highest-rated program on American television. It was seen as a symbol of the United States, with Miss America often being referred to as the female equivalent of the President. The pageant stressed conservative values; contestants were not expected to have ambitions beyond being a good wife (there is also a Mrs. America pageant). For decades it was, practically speaking, a pageant for young white women, though by the 1980s black women were winning the crown. Since the 1980s seven black women have been crowned Miss America.
In 1964, the Miss America 1965 pageant took place just weeks after Atlantic City hosted the Democratic National Convention.
With the rise of feminism and the civil rights movement the pageant became a target of protests, and its audience began to fade. The 1968 protest, in which a group of feminists on the Atlantic City boardwalk crowned a live sheep Miss America and threw various beauty accouterments, such as bras, into a trash can, shocked many people. They planned to burn the beauty accounterments, but police warned them that it would be dangerous, because they were standing on a wooden boardwalk. People who knew about the plans, but did not know that the bras were not burned, started the story that feminists "burned bras." The brochure distributed at the protest, "No More Miss America," was later canonized in feminist scholarship. In the 1970s it began to change, admitting blacks and encouraging a new type of professional woman. This was symbolized by the 1974 victory of Rebecca Ann King, a law student who publicly supported legalization of abortion in the United States while Miss America.
Still, ratings flagged. In an attempt to create a younger image, Bert Parks, the pageant's famous emcee from 1955 to 1979, was dismissed. Parks had virtually become an American icon, singing the show's signature song, "There She Is, Miss America" as the newly-crowned Miss America took her walk down the ramp at the end of each year's pageant. His dismissal prompted public criticism; in protest, Johnny Carson organized a letter-writing campaign to reinstate Parks, but it was unsuccessful. Former TV Tarzan and host of "Face The Music", Ron Ely, hosted the pageant that year but was gone the next. Since Parks' departure, many have taken on the role of Miss America TV host. Since Ely, pageant hosts have included Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford, Gary Collins and Mary Ann Mobley (herself a former Miss America), Meredith Vieira, Boomer Esiason, Wayne Brady, Mario Lopez and James Denton. Mario Lopez hosted the 2009 pageant.
In 1984, Vanessa Williams became the first African-American woman to be crowned Miss America, but resigned from her duties in scandal. The job was subsequently filled by first runner-up Suzette Charles who carried out the remaining seven weeks as Miss America 1984. Both women are now included on the canonical list of Miss America laureates; Williams is officially designated Miss America 1984 and Charles is officially designated Miss America 1984b.
Many Miss America winners live on in relative obscurity, but Vanessa Williams has made an internationally prominent career as a singer selling millions of albums worldwide and achieving critical acclaim as an actress on stage, in film and on television. Others who have had prominent careers in show business include Bess Myerson, Mary Ann Mobley, Lee Meriwether, and Phyllis George. 1989 winner Gretchen Carlson went on to have a career in television journalism. 1973 winner Terry Meeuwsen went on to co-host the Christian talk show The 700 Club. Myerson, who was the first Jewish Miss America, was selected in 1945, in the face of official antisemitism, including a request by pageant director Lenora Slaughter that she change her name to one less Jewish-sounding.
In the 1990s, the pageant was reformed into The Miss America Organization, a not-for-profit corporation with three divisions: the Miss America Pageant, a scholarship fund, and the Miss America foundation.
Since the pageant's peak in the early 1960s, its audience has eroded significantly. In 2004, when its audience fell to fewer than 10 million viewers, its broadcaster, ABC, decided to drop the pageant. "Broadcasters show data proving that the talent show and the interviews, the pageant's answers to feminist criticism, were the least popular portions of the pageant, while the swimsuit part still had the power to bring viewers back from the kitchen," said New York Times reporter Iver Peterson. "So pageant officials - who still require chaperons for contestants when they are in Atlantic City - are thinking about showing a little more."
In 2005 the pageant announced a new television agreement with MTV Networks' Country Music Television. In addition to the move to CMT, there was a switch in the pageant's schedule from September to January 21, 2006, and a move away from Atlantic City and Boardwalk Hall after 85 years to the Las Vegas Strip and the Theatre for the Performing Arts at the Aladdin Hotel-Casino. The show was hosted by James Denton, a star of the television show Desperate Housewives. The pageant remained in Las Vegas for 2007 and was again broadcast on CMT. In March 2007, it was announced that CMT no longer chose to broadcast the pageant from 2008. Discovery Networks then picked up the pageant a few months after to air in January on TLC, along with an associated show, Countdown to the Crown which airs on Friday nights leading up to the actual pageant. In 2009, the pageant was staged at Las Vegas's Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino.
Due to the altered schedule, Miss America 2005, Alabama's Deidre Downs, reigned for 16 months instead of the usual 12. She was only the second longest-reigning Miss America: in the early days of the pageant, Mary Katherine Campbell from Ohio won the pageant twice, in 1922 and again in 1923. Campbell was also first-runner-up in the 1924 pageant, and when the judge's scores revealed that she had almost won the crown a third time, the pageant created a new rule that a contestant may only win the title of Miss America once (but still allowed a contestant to compete more than once.) Later on, the rule was changed so that a contestant may only compete in the Miss America pageant once, whether or not she wins the title.
In the last 51 years of Miss America (through 2008), 27 winners have been blonde, 12 were brown-haired, 9 were black-haired, and 3 were red-haired. The average number of steps that a contestant takes during a pageant day is 8939, according to organizers. Several Miss Americas travel in excess of 20,000 miles a month making personal appearances. Many have earned over $100,000 in personal appearance fees during their reign.

Miss America 2007 : Lauren Nelson - Photos, Videos, Results ... covers the 2007 Miss America beauty pageant and crowning of the new Miss America, Lauren Nelson. See photos, videos, results, news and -
Miss America Product Info at eBay
Shop at eBay for Miss America and other Product Info - eBay - books. ... Read product Miss America by Howard Stern (1995) 1st edMiss America by Howard -
Anchor Hocking Miss America-Green At Replacements.Com
Anchor Hocking Miss America-Green at, world's largest inventory of China, Crystal, Silver, and Collectibles. Over 14 million pieces in -
Miss America Teen
Miss America's Outstanding Teen promotes scholastic achievement, creative accomplishment, healthy living and community involvement for America's -
Article: Miss America - The Boston Globe
Register today for a free trial, credit card req'd. Find The Boston Globe articles plus many other academic journal articles, magazine articles & newspaper
Miss America 2008 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Selection of contestants
Miss America 2008, the 83rd Miss America pageant, was held at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 26, 2008. -
Miss America -
Shop for Miss America and Music at Release Date 2005-02-22 Audio CD Earth Girl Records MusicRock & PopEarth Girl RecordsRoberta Chevrette Miss America

Miss America
on your decision to compete in the Miss America Pageant System. ... Network is the official national platform of the Miss America Organization. -
David Byrne - Miss America Video Yahoo! Music
Watch Miss America music video by David Byrne now at Yahoo! Music. Access free music videos, song lyrics, online radio and music
From Mammy to Miss America and beyond: Cultural... - Books
Shop Barnes & Noble for "From Mammy to Miss America and beyond: Cultural Images and the Shaping of U. S. Social Policy" by K. Sue Jewell. Find a wide selection of...

America's Miss

America's Miss

Miss America History
"Miss America represents the highest ideals. She is a real combination of beauty, grace, and intelligence, artistic and refined. She is a type which the American Girl might well emulate."
Those words were spoken by Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce President Frederick Hickman more than 75 years ago, and they still ring true today. Miss America is a role model to young and old alike, and a spokesperson, using her title to educate millions of Americans on an issue of importance to herself and society at large.
Over the years, Miss America has been intent on making a difference in people's lives through her charitable and community endeavors. Jean Bartel, Miss America 1943, went so far as to use her celebrity in the war effort. She was credited with selling more Series E war bonds than anyone else in the United States - $2.5 million worth of them. While Kate Shindle, Miss America 1998, spent her year of service addressing groups and meeting with federal, state and local public officials on behalf of the HIV/AIDS cause. She even presided over sessions regarding women and AIDS at the 12th World AIDS Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
Today, Miss America travels approximately 20,000 miles a month, changing her location every 24 to 48 hours. She tours the nation reaching out to support her ideals, committed to helping others. Miss America is more than just a title. She is a woman who reflects a tradition of style, sophistication and service.

The Miss America Organization is one of the nation's leading achievement programs and the world's largest provider of scholarship assistance for young women. Last year, the Miss America Organization and its state and local organizations made available more than $45 million in cash and scholarship assistance.
This assistance is not just for the handful of young women who become Miss America, but is available to the over 12,000 young women who compete in the state and local competitions as well.

Main article: List of Miss America titleholders

Kirsten Haglund, Miss America 2008
Miss America
State Represented
Heather French
Angela Perez Baraquio
Katie Harmon
Erika Harold
Ericka Dunlap
Deidre Downs
Jennifer Berry
Lauren Nelson
Kirsten Haglund
Katie Stam
Bob Russell: 1940-1946, 1948-1950, 1954
Bert Parks: 1955-1979
~ and Bess Myerson: 1964-1967
~ and Phyllis George: 1975-1978
~ and Mary Ann Mobley: 1979
Ron Ely and Dorothy Benham: 1980-1981
Gary Collins: 1982-1991
~ and Mary Ann Mobley: 1985-1988
~ and Phyllis George: 1989-1991
Regis Philbin: 1992-1996
~ and Kathie Lee Gifford: 1992-1995
Eva LaRue and John Callahan: 1997
Boomer Esiason and Meredith Vieira: 1998
Donny and Marie Osmond: 1999-2000
Tony Danza: 2001
Wayne Brady: 2002
Tom Bergeron: 2003-2004
Chris Harrison: 2005
James Denton: 2006
Mario Lopez 2007, 2009
Mark Steines: 2008

miss america pageant,
miss america 2008,
miss america 2007,
miss america pictures,
miss america 2006,
miss america contestants,
miss america kirsten haglund,
miss america 2009,
miss america swimsuit contest,
miss america 2005,

More miss america images
Miss America
Official site for the Miss America Pageant includes information about the pageant, the current Miss America, the judging process, and scholarship -
Meet Miss America
Competition Info
Organization Info
Miss Americas
Scholarship Directory more results from »
Katie Stam - Miss America 2009 National Contestants
Profile of the 2009 Miss America winner, Katie Stam, from! -
Miss America: 2009 Competition
Photos from the 2009 Miss America compeition, including the crowning of Miss America 2009 Katie -
Miss America - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Miss America contestants visit Andrews Air Force Base in 2003. The Miss America pageant is a long-standing competition which awards ... -
Miss America Reality Check - TLC
Contestants, video, and online voting for the 2009 Miss America pageant and reality show on -
Miss America 2007 : Meet the Contestants : Photo, Interview :
Meet the new Miss America, Lauren Nelson, and all Miss America contestants with photos, video, biography and interviews. See complete pageant coverage at
American Experience Miss America
Miss America, the country's oldest beauty contest, is an Atlantic City seaside tradition that has become a battle ground and a barometer for the changing position of -
Miss America: Information from
Miss America Pageant Miss America Pageant, which set the standard for American Beauty Contests , began in 1921 as a typical 'bathing beauty' -
How to Become Miss America
How to article - how to become miss america. The Miss America Organization has been around since 1921 and offers a national scholarship competition that is known
Miss America's Outstanding Teen
Miss America's Outstanding Teen promotes scholastic achievement, creative accomplishment, healthy living and community involvement for America's