Saturday, June 9, 2018

Miss America In Identity Crisis, An Iconic Era Over?

The current Miss America 2018 Cara Mund may be in favor of eliminating the swimsuit and evening gown competition, but not all former Miss Americas are on board with the controversial decision.

In December 2017, thousands of contestants and titleholders rallied together to sign a petition in wake of the Sam Haskell email scandal that ousted him from his leadership position as CEO. Newly elected chairwoman of the Miss America Organization Gretchen Carlson, Miss America 1989, had championed to save the program and beloved pageant on January 1st. On June 5th, Ms Carlson announced Miss America 2.0 on ET.

And then it became a love-hate relationship overnight.

In the blink of an eye, the pageant was completely turned upside down and stripped of its identity and origins as a bathing suit beauty contest with the announcement of the swimsuit and evening gown elimination. Meaning precisely that the Miss America as we all know and love will cease to exist.

Miss America's decision would take away from one of the hallmarks of the iconic pageant with its emphasis on health and fitness. Miss America 2016, Betty Cantrell, who has been working to advocate for healthy lifestyle initiatives and address pertinent issues such as obesity in Georgia post her reign, views the change as a step backwards and that it shames women in celebrating positive body image.  

Accordingly, in an article from NBC News featuring Ms Cantrell, she stated, "Miss America is about having beauty and brains — it's not about being Miss Businesswoman. It's essentially saying that women shouldn't be proud to be in their own skin. We're telling women to cover up. This is setting women back decades." Furthermore, Cantrell says, "I hope they get the reaction they want but I don’t think that this will help with their ratings. I’m concerned about the future of this organization."

Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields echoed a similar sentiment and felt that she was empowered in all areas of the competition, whether it was the swimsuit or evening gown portion. She shared this message on social media, "It’s my hope that Miss America will continue this legacy of strength. I felt empowered when I was wearing my evening gown, when I was in my swimsuit, when I was in my workout clothes, when I was in business attire and even when I was in sweatpants. Ultimately, empowerment is not what we wear, it’s who we are."

In an Orlando Sentinel interview with Erika Dunlap, Miss America 2004, made a bold statement saying "What does a feminist look like? A feminist is someone who, male or female, wants to position women so that they are powerful and that they have choices. And so, I feel like you can be in a swimsuit and a feminist."

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you can do both. Beauty and brains can indeed go hand in hand.

We took a poll on social media to gather some perspectives on this hot-button issue. The answers? A resounding NO!

Not surprisingly, people like tradition and the aesthetic.

Pageant contestants and the public alike are bewildered by the hasty decision to scrap the most iconic part of the competition and what it was founded on, which is bathing suits. The evening gown is also a hallmark of tradition and what the pageant is most known for, that is, showcasing and celebrating beauty and poise.

Many reported on Twitter, as well, that they vow not to watch this year’s upcoming pageant and that seeing swimsuits parade across the stage is one of the many reasons they tune in. Viewers have lamented that they will miss evening gown because it’s what makes Miss America - it is what you think of - in that crowning moment!

Will #byebyebikini start a revolution, or cause a slow demise of the prestigious program?

Will ratings tank from a rash decision? What do you think?

Disclaimer: Quotations and photos are from different resources.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Let's Get To Know Dr. Sonia Sonia, Vying For Mrs. Earth International 2018

Mrs. Earth South Pacific 2018 and Global Elite High Point 2018, Dr. Sonia Sonia from Australia believes in pushing through adversity; not only surviving but thriving. Dr. Sonia, herself, is a survivor of family violence and says she knows what it feels like to carry the tag "victim" on your shoulders. That's why her mission is to empower and influence survivors across the globe to live better lives, to educate themselves, and to be involved in whatever they want to be. She advocates, "I want survivors to be the Kings or Queens of their own lives and future. I believe I was born to make a difference and people around me everywhere I go are helping me to accomplish this."

World Peace is one more thing that Dr. Sonia's wishing for! Not only around the world but at an individual level as well. "There is so much hatred around the globe. I wish we could all live peacefully in this beautiful world, and enjoy the best of both the natural and man-made world," she says when we asked if there's one thing she could wish for in 2018. And added, "At an individual level, to improve quality of life and relationships amongst each other."

Aside from the fact that she is a science genius and a beauty queen, she is also a recreational pilot trainee! Cool, eh!

Here are more scoops about Mrs. Earth South Pacific 2018 and Global Elite High Point 2018

When did you start getting involved in pageants?

November 2017. Mrs. Earth is my second pageant, it was a childhood dream come true. I was so impressed by the commitment to community work by pageant delegates. I believe winning a title is a big responsibility. Do you know any other job around the world where it’s mandatory to do community service as a part of your role? It's not just dolled up and rock up, it's so much deeper than that. It’s about doing your part, big or small, in making our community and world a better place. I believe if we all work together, we can achieve this.

Why did you choose the Mrs. Earth system?

I went to New Zealand last year with my kids and family to see glaciers. I was there nine years ago with friends, and it was so beautiful. I was gobsmacked when I saw that it has receded more than 2km in 9 years. I believe we are borrowing Mother Earth from our kids, we need to take care of it so that we can return it to them as beautiful as we received it. Do not treat it like an inheritance from ancestors and ruin it. Mrs/Ms. Earth is the only pageant in the world that is focused on the environment. It does open your eyes and challenges your thought processes. I have stopped carrying plastic water bottles and supporting and have started promoting a more recyclable and environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

Also, Nicole Smith, the Mrs/Ms. Earth pageant director in Australia is amazing. She literally takes care of me like her family. In pageant world we are all big family - we support, cheer and look after each other. I could not think of a better platform than Mrs. Earth. My five-year-old daughter is so inspired and excited that I am Mrs. Earth South Pacific, and I will look after the ocean and trees and butterflies for her. As a titleholder, if I can inspire little kids to look after the Mother Earth, there is nothing better and bigger than this.

Tell us about your platform or yourself, choose one or both. 

Imagine ever being in a situation where you think the best way to get out is to end your life... Suddenly someone gives you a hand and pulls you out of that situation and shows you how beautiful life is. I have been there, I am grateful for people giving me a hand then. Now I want to be that helping hand. I have been helping domestic and family violence and sexual abuse victims for many years.

This year I have started a not-for-profit organization, ReStored: Be A Helping Hand. The premise of ReStored is dentists along with other professionals across Australia and the globe joining hands to restore survivors' smiles, confidence but above all else, their self-esteem. I am a wife, mother of two beautiful kids, dentist, businesswoman, entrepreneur, public speaker, trainee recreational pilot, Mrs. Earth South Pacific 2018 and Ms. Global Elite High Point Community Queen 2018.

What is your passion or interest outside pageantry?

People. I am passionate about people.

I love meeting them, talking to them, knowing about them, helping them. Dentistry allows me to do all that plus help them feel relaxed and free of pain and embarrassment. Anything I do in my life revolves around this philosophy. I am genuinely interested in people. I live by the quote - "If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life."

How do you define beauty?

I believe beauty is a character. It is a combination of many traits in an individual. Everyone is different and perceives beauty differently. Beauty for me is an advocate of kindness. It’s about being authentic, joyous, humble. It's about inspiring people you come across with. It's a lifelong asset and brightens and enlightens the world forever.

I do firmly believe that I AM BEAUTIFUL!

I always spread this message to everyone I meet - that they are beautiful. Do not get me wrong, outer beauty is impressive as well, however, that fades out soon if you do not have substance.

How do you define women empowerment?

Do you know that this term does not exist in many languages? Empowerment for me is empowering yourself and others to believe in yourself and make a change around you or in your community. To know your worth. It’s about helping each other and lifting each other up. Life’s journey can be boring if you walk alone. Imagine a group or a tribe of women who think alike and have the same goal of making this world a better place for all women to live? Nothing is more empowering than that. There is a saying, "When you empower a woman, you empower a whole generation." I believe this is the fastest way to change the world.

What is something you can’t live without and why?

My kids. It's the unconditional love they have shown me. So in brief: Love. I am a human, a social animal. We all have basic needs of belongingness. On a lighter note, research conducted in the UK recently showed that 50% of women can’t live without brushing their teeth. This makes me feel happy as a dentist and as a woman!

Where can we follow you on social media?

ReStored - Be A Helping Hand

Facebook page: Dr. Sonia Sonia

Personal website: Dr. Sonia 

By: Joyce Cortez

PageantLIVE and Ask The Crown Exclusives. PageantLIVE is known for exclusive interviews and we pride to have and maintains on publishing our original contents.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Five Amazing Things We Love About Miss USA 2018

Miss USA 2018 is NEBRASKA!

Let's imagine for a moment the excitement on location, in her home state and on-stage when Miss Summers heard she is MISS USA!

Sarah Rose Summers is set to compete at Miss Universe in the rumoured host country The Philippines or Macau in November 2018, she was crowned Miss USA on May 21, 2018, in Shreveport-Bossier, Louisiana. 

Here are FIVE amazing things we love about Miss USA 

1. She is charming. Her charming wit and bubbly personality made her stand out! Sarah just magically changed the perspectives in the beauty pageant's on-stage Q&A department. Usually, we see the contestants looking very serious or tensed but with Sarah, she was cheerful, she seems like she was enjoying every second of the Top 3 Q&A and she delivered! 

2. She is the first Miss USA from Nebraska. It's for the books!

3. She loves her body. Her platform "eating disorder" is a serious issue especially with Instagram perfect posts all over the internet. Sarah partners with National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) to bring awareness of this issue; where she acknowledged the severity it causes through personal experiences she witnessed within her inner circle. According to National Institute of Mental Health, eating disorders are actually serious and often fatal illnesses that cause severe disturbances to a person's eating behaviours. Obsessions with food, body weight, and shape may also signal an eating disorder. Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.

4. She graduated Cum Laude and got double degrees. Sarah graduated with Bachelor's Degree in Strategic Communications and Child Development from Texas Christian University, and have recently completed her clinical rotations as a certified child life specialist which she referenced during the Top 5 Q&A round.

5. She gives credits. Sarah is very vocal about her faith and gratefulness to people who helped her grow --- is genuine. Who does that? Well, we all know that humility makes the great becomes greater. 

Hat's off to the newly crowned Miss USA!

By: Joyce Cortez

Disclaimer: Photo credit to MUO official photographer Frank L. Szelwach and Miss USA Facebook photo by Noam Galai.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

TOP 10 Miss USA 2018 Evening Gown Preliminary Competition

Miss USA preliminary competition was held on May 17th at Hirsch Coliseum in Shreveport-Bossier, Louisiana. The final competition will be aired LIVE on FOX on Monday, May 21st at 8 pm ET.

Like we always say here on PageantLIVE, the presentation is the key when it comes to evening gown. Here are our TOP 10 who we thought delivered elegance, gracefulness and, ladies who are ready to represent Miss USA at any given time.

TOP 10 Favorites

1. Miss Oklahoma - Cheyene Darling. Miss Oklahoma is a breath of fresh air whenever she hits the stage. Her fluid flowing, high slit red beaded gown is giving us a hint of mystery and the way she carried herself sealed the deal.

2. Miss Nevada - Carolina Adriana Urrea. Miss Nevada's jeweled, nude underlay gown by Alfredo Barraza with cut-out neckline, vertical lines following her toned statuesque and long sleeves made her look like she is ready to take over the Miss Universe stage.

3. Miss New Jersey - Alexa Noone. Miss New Jersey perfected her overall stage performance wearing a Sherri Hill strapped nude gown with iridescent gold leaf appliqué, paired with Stephanie Somer's diamond-shaped dangle earrings. 

4. Miss California - Kelley Johnson. Miss California is giving us a combination of classic and modern Hollywood glam, which is true to her state! Her Renè Atelier beaded deep V-neck, black lace bodice with a high slit and chic messy bun made her stand out!

5. Miss Texas - Logan Lester. Miss Texas is a shimmering golden goddess! She wore a sheer, body fitting, bustier and unconventional gold gown by New York-based fashion designer Naeem Khan.

6. Miss Mississippi - Laine Alden Mansour. Miss Mississippi's Lainey Berry couture gown looked heavenly. Her golden nude sheer gown with aquamarine beads and attached flowy aquamarine sky bluish hue chiffon reminds us of Elsa and Ariel in one. A fairytale on the Miss USA stage!

7. Miss Georgia - Marianny Egurrola. Miss Georgia is wearing a bohemian-blue-rhapsody inspired gown by Sherri Hill. Her beaded, regal blue, fringe gown with sheer paneling complemented with her natural black hair is a match made for elegance and charismatic persona.

8. Miss Virginia. Ashley Vollrath. Miss Virginia looked stunning! Her classic volumized combed back hair matched with exotic hybrid cheetah inspired, electric pleated gown she designed with Sherri Hill made her look like the Miss USA total package.

9. Miss Tennessee - Alexandra Harper. Miss Tennesse looked ethereal in her Jovani champagne gown with rose gold applique that complements her skin perfectly. Her presence on the stage looked effortless and could easily get the Miss USA crown.

10. Miss Nebraska - Sarah Rose Summers. Miss Nebraska is delivering a glamorous yet girl next door persona. Her classic black gown and bustling train by Sherri Hill, against her blonde hair and flawless skin look exquisite.

Disclaimer: Photos are from Miss Universe Organization and credits to official photographers Patrick Prather and Alex Mertz.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

PageantLIVE Red Carpet Highlight: Ardelle Dickerson, Miss Teen DC United States 2018

Ardelle Dickerson, Miss Teen District of Columbia United States 2018

Claim to Fame:

I inherited my late grandmother’s name that just so happened to be the same as a cosmetic company. So, whenever I introduce myself to people (girls specifically), they always respond: “Oh Ardell(e)! Like the eyelashes?!” 

Fun Fact About You:

I work as a secret shopper at an amusement park. I get paid to ride roller coasters all day. 

If you have one wish to be granted in 2018, what is it and why?

I would wish for 1,000 more wishes! If that’s not an option, my one wish would be to receive acceptance letters from all of the universities I applied to. 

Tell us about your platform or yourself, choose one or both.

Falling into the stigma as an African American battling mental adversities, I felt conflicted to open up about my severe depression and anxiety. I want to ensure that minorities in my state understand the importance of being self-aware regarding their mental health. 

Working as a Suicide Hotline Responder, I console many adolescents who are LGBTQ+, low-income and are Hispanic or black. From my experience, teens in this demographic deal with so much social backlash. It’s imperative that they know the available resources in order to prevent the prolonging of an invisible illness. 

As Miss Teen DC United States, it’s my obligation to provide support because of representation matters.

What is your passion or interest outside pageantry?

I love filming makeup tutorials! I’m high school, I dealt with cystic acne and covering my blemishes was an everyday thing. A once problematic routine turned into an artistic passion of mine. I even spent my summers working at Sephora showing girls proper skincare and how to feel beautiful even with hectic pimples.

Where can we follow you on social media?

Instagrams: @Ardelledickerson & @MissTeenDCUS


Monday, April 2, 2018

PageantLIVE Red Carpet Highlight: Summer Raquel Keffeler, Miss Washington Teen USA 2018

Summer Raquel Keffeler, Miss Washington Teen USA 2018
Hometown: Monroe, Washington

Claim To Fame: 

Pageantry runs in my family.

Fun Fact About You: 

I have been to Disneyland over 25 times!

If you have one wish to be granted in 2018, what is it and why?

I would wish to be Miss Teen USA! I believe that I am qualified and have the characteristics to be a strong and empowering title holder. Pageantry has been a part of my life for many years now and being involved with the Miss Universe Organization has always been a goal of mine. I am so humbled to have the opportunity to carry my state title. I hope to grow not only my organization but as an individual with the national title.

Tell us about your platform or yourself, choose one or both.

About my platform: I am an advocate for a happy and healthy lifestyle, I grew up watching my sister play every sport under the sun but I lacked in the field of athletics until I found Dance and that completely changed my life. 

I am now the Vice President of the “Play On Sports” organization. The organization is geared towards young athletes in low-income families, we raise money to supply the athletic footwear, apparel, and equipment because I believe everyone should have the opportunity to pursue their passion.

About me: I am a 16-year-old honor roll student at Monroe High School, as well as a competitive dancer at Platinum Dance Center. I love yoga, kickboxing, and sports medicine. 

I am currently deciding between getting a degree in early childhood education and pursuing the career of a preschool teacher or becoming a pharmaceutical representative while attending undergraduate school to become a registered nurse in hospice care. 

And finally I am a very family oriented person, my favorite past time is watching Disney movies or football games with my family.

What is your passion or interest outside pageantry?

I especially enjoy dance and literature.

Where can we follow you on social media?

You can follow my journey at @misswateenUSA or @summerkeffeler 


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

PageantLIVE Red Carpet Highlight: Mandy Peterson, Miss Minnesota United States 2018

Mandy Peterson, Miss Minnesota United States 2018

Claim to fame:

After three years of competing for the Minnesota United States title, I am honored and humbled to represent the bold North. I also am an honor roll student with academic achievement status in addition to graduating two years ahead of schedule. 

Fun Fact About You:

Fun fact about me, well I am slightly obsessed with Oreos.

If you have one wish to be granted in 2018, what is it and why?

I would love to see more resources available to adolescents and teens who are battling depression. We, as not only a state but a country have seen a rise in teen self-harm and suicide. Together we can stop this epidemic and aid our up and coming generations. 

Tell us about your platform or yourself, choose one or both.

My platform actually affects me both personally and professionally.  As a suicide attempt survivor, I know how debilitating depression and anxiety can be. I have decided I want to overcome my dark battle and use my voice to shed light on the subject of mental illness. I am also a future adolescent counsellor with a current position in a day treatment facility focusing on pre-adolescent children who struggle with severe emotional and behavioral disorders.

What is your passion or interest outside pageantry?

I love to cook! I recently was challenged to a vegan “diet”, if you will, and it has broadened my horizons and knowledge when it comes to food. Cooking (and eating) is certainly a comfort for my soul.

Where can we follow you on social media?

Facebook: Miss Minnesota United States 

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