Thursday, July 30, 2015

Reigning Today's American Woman Petite Ms 2015 - Saryna Ritter

Saryna Ritter

Saryna Ritter was born and raised in Rockford, Illinois. She graduated from Guilford High School in 2004 and went on to Rock Valley College. Saryna currently resides in Naperville, IL where she works for world-renowned pageant and prom designer Mac Duggal in Chicago. Saryna is the North and Southeast account manager and travels 15 states representing Mac Duggal. We dress everyone from celebrities to Miss Universe contestants.

She is the reigning Today"s American Woman Petite Ms 2015. Saryna has won numerous international, national and states titles including: Miss Royalty International 2014, Miss Midwest Galaxy 2013, National U.S. Miss 2013, Miss Illinois International 2012, Miss Illinois U.S. International 2010 and Americas Ultimate Queen 2010 to name a few. She has a very successful business called "Go Bling Yourself" that carries pageant jewelry and gowns. In her free time she likes to travel, read and volunteer.

Please be watching for her upcoming interview on PageantLIVE innovative series, Ask the Crown.

Today's American Woman Petite Ms.

Today's American Woman Pageant

Our National Queens, National Ambassadors and our State Queens Carry out Monthly Missions all over the US during the same time frame. Our crowns are used to shine a light on what is needed to help others.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Miss World America Recap: A Historical Pageant By Natalie McGovern

Natalie McGovern
Miss Nebraska United States 2014

Move over Miss USA: the hottest new pageant to emerge recently is Miss World America. 

Miss World Rolene Strauss, PageantLIVE's Founder
Paige Clark, Miss World Americas Elizabeth Safrit
If you don't know what I'm talking about then I will bring you up to speed: 

51 of the most accomplished and beautiful women just vied for the Beauty with a Purpose title on July 3rd, in Washington D.C. to represent the United States at the oldest international pageant on the planet: Miss World. Delegates consisted of former Miss USA delegates such as Kristy Landers Neidenfuer, (Louisiana,) Carlyn Bradarich, (Illinois,) and Arielle Rosmarino, (Virginia,) along with a former Miss America (Nebraska).  

Miss Virginia World Arielle Rosmarino 

Miss Illinois World Carlyn Bradarich

Miss Louisiana World Kristy Landers Neidenfuer
The pageant focused on the well rounded traits of contestants including poise, physical fitness, and public speaking.  They were scored in Evening Gown, Judges Interview, Media Interview, Multimedia, Top Model, Beachwear, and Beauty with a Purpose, to name a few. In this notoriously intense competition, Victoria Mendoza of Arizona bested the competition to win the coveted title of Miss World America 2015. Victoria wore a blue Mac Duggal gown and championed her Beauty With a Purpose cause for fighting  hunger in America. She will compete at Miss World on December 19, in Sanya, China.

Miss World America Victoria Mendoza 
The overall Beauty With a Purpose winner was Miss Massachusetts World, Maude Gorman, who was hailed as a hero during the pageant for enduring the traumatic experience of rape as an adolescent.

Miss Massachusetts World Maude Goman

Miss United States Elizabeth Safrit 2014
Victoria is the first beauty queen to be crowned Miss World America in a nationally held pageant in almost ten years.  In years past the U.S. delegate was chosen by a modeling agency. Elizabeth Safrit, Miss United States 2014 and Miss World Americas 2014, represented the U.S. at the Miss World America and placed second at the international competition. She is the last Miss United States to represent at Miss World with the debut of the new Miss World America title. Traditionally the first runner up winner of Miss USA or Miss United States pageant would represent at Miss World. Newly crowned Miss USA Olivia Jordan represented The United States at Miss World in 2013. To enter Miss World America, women must be between the ages of 17-25.

PageantLIVE got a chance to catch up with Victoria Mendoza on her first photo shoot in preparation for Miss World America and her media tour.

Below are some highlights from her interview:


Miss World America at Newseum, Washington, DC

 What was it like to win Miss World America?

It is difficult for me to describe the emotions I was feeling, I was excited for my future to represent my country at the Miss World pageant and also a little bit nervous and I had some crazy butterflies because I couldn’t believe the week was over. I’m really excited for my future and the way Miss World organization is going to help me.

What was your most memorable event at Miss World America?

My most memorable event was the Top Model competition hosted by Mac Duggal, all of the gowns were so beautiful and I was really impressed by the level of talent displayed that night by all the ladies.

What do you hope to accomplish during your reign?

I want to promote my Beauty with a Purpose Project since it is the foundation of Miss World, and hope that by having this platform it will allow this project to expand even further and reach more people

What is your Beauty With a Purpose Project?

Feeding America is my Beauty With a Purpose Project, which stems from a personal background and experience when I traveled to Haiti. It really changed my life and opened my eyes to the hunger in America, here are so many people that go every day hungry and I want to help alleviate that.

What is your life legacy?

My legacy will be that of love and giving. “Seize the day and thank others along the way.”

Victoria has a foster dog, is a huge family girl, loves cooking outside, and her favorite color is blue. She wants to pursue her degree in Broadcast Journalism, which she is currently studying in school. Victoria said she will work her absolute hardest to make her country proud. She wants to thank her friends and family, her entire team AZ and the entire country or being so supportive of her journey. Victoria is incredibly grateful for this opportunity, and honored to be put in the position of Miss World America.

Miss World America National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC

Exclusive first interview of the newly crowned Miss World America


Monday, July 13, 2015

Seven Reasons You Might Bomb Your Onstage Question and One Good Reason Not to Panic by Kristina Rowe

Kristina Rowe
Ms. United America Ambassador

Seven Reasons You Might Bomb Your Onstage Question and One Good Reason Not to Panic 

Top 5 Miss USA 2015

You’re sleep deprived.
The onstage questions we see most often are at the televised pageants. The contestants have been busy in a whirlwind of activity for a week or two and they have had little sleep. No matter how well versed they are on current events, it’s easy to draw a blank when you are exhausted.  Be sure to practice onstage question when you’re at your worst as well as when you’re at your best.

You’ve missed the latest updates on trending news items.
During those busy two weeks, you may have missed the latest news.  Try to build in time during pageant week to check the news on your phone , or have a newspaper delivered to your room in the hotel.  If you don’t know out trending news  items because you didn’t practice at all, then shame on you!

Fifteen million (or more) people are watching.
This is probably the most high  pressure moment you have ever experienced in your life. Practice under pressure, and practice choking (on purpose) so you can practice recovering.

You didn’t hear the question.
It can be really loud in the pageant venue. If you need the question repeated, ask that right away, not as a save if you get lost in the middle of an answer you’ve started.

You went blank and went into panic mode.
You started answering and you just lost it.  If you can recover verbally, wrap up as quickly as possible. If not, just do the best you can and whatever you do, keep smiling. Keep your posture proud and confident and pretend you just said something worthy of Einstein.

You rambled on too long or veered off topic.
I’ve seen this happen in live streamed pageants. The televised pageants will cut you off. But you must absolutely practice with a timer, even if there’s not change you’ll be buzzed to stop onstage.

You didn’t practice.
There’s just no excuse for this. No matter how good of a speaker you are, you HAVE to practice for this once in a lifetime moment.

Why you shouldn’t panic
The best answer does not necessarily win. It is not supposed to. Based on the scoring of the pageant, it is only ONE factor that judges consider. It’s usually more of a pass-fail thing. Can you keep your cool under pressure? If you can, you’ll be a great titleholder, even if you weren’t the most eloquent. In most cases, a bad flub will take you out of the running, but even that is not guaranteed. So keep smiling. Make eye contact with the judges. Practice having something intelligent to say in any situation and under varying amounts of stress. And then go out there and kill it in onstage question.

Miss USA 2015
Olivia Jordan


Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Judges Corner - Ask the Crown at Miss World America 2015

Miss World America. How to win the crown? What are the judges looking for? Get the tips from the judges who selected the winner, Victoria Mendoza. A PageantLIVE Exclusive.


Saturday, July 11, 2015

More than just "Flirty" Vizcaya Swimwear - Lisa Opie and Franz Orban by Linda Suter

Linda's Gala Inc.

Miss United States 2015
We all love pageants: the beauty, the production, the atmosphere. While most of us concentrate on the Beauty and Atmosphere, it's the production, apparel and delivery that make the experience. At the recent Miss United States Pageant in Washington, DC, I had the pleasure to speak with Lisa Opie, the co-creator and designer of luxury swimwear brand Vizcaya Swimwear, the official Swimwear Sponsor to the Miss United States Organization. 

Being a model and former top-5 Miss United States Finalist, Lisa brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique perspective to her designs. Lisa draws inspiration for her designs from her history in modeling and pageants, and it is evident that she incorporates design ideas from diverse cultures in more than 30 countries she has visited. It is these  travels that has also allowed her to use fabrics from all over the world, with the current line of swimwear created with fabrics from Colombia.

Vizcaya Swimwear's Kristina bikini
Rather than use an exotic, secluded beach for a photoshoot highlight her swimwear, Lisa would rather distinguish each piece by the model chosen for the shoot. These models are chosen, not only for their relatable looks, but also for their positive backstories and worthy platforms that Lisa and Vizcaya can support. Also, instead accessorizing her suits with big, flashy jewelry, Vizcaya has partnered with Shine Tattoos, makers of temporary metallic tattoos. These tattoos are waterproof, look fantastic and give the wearer the freedom of not having to worry about jewelry while at the pool or beach.

Of course, we all want that bikini, beach body, and Lisa has some very simple, easy to follow rules that help her stay in shape. Her Motto is, "The abs are made in the kitchen!" Instead of three large meals, Lisa eats six smaller meals throughout the day, consisting mostly of proteins (Chicken, meat and tofu) while cutting out the satisfaction foods like pizza!

Franz Orban and Lisa Opie, Owners of Vizcaya Swimwear
Official Sponsors of the Miss United States Organization
Franz Orban, who started Vizcaya Swimwear with Lisa in 2013, tells us that their association with the Miss United States Organization arose from the Organization and the models' desire to break from the traditional pageant swimwear, in favor of something a bit more "flirty". He is proud to be associated with the pageant as it allows a common design to be worn and expressed differently by so many models.

For the new 2016 line, he looks forward to maintaining that flirty look while incorporating more flora and fauna patterns. Please come view their new line at DC Swim Week July 24-25th. 

Lisa and Franz while in Washington, DC

My thanks to Pamela Privette from PageantLive for her assistance during the interviews with both Lisa and Franz. Also, many thanks to AJ of AJ Photoz for the spectacular pictures.

Lisa Opie and Paige Clark,  Founder of PageantLIVE


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Relationships and Pageantry... Is Your Boyfriend REALLY Supporting You?

By Trinity Nicole Miller, Petite Elite MS National Queen,
 Today's International/American Woman Pageant

Pageant preparation takes a lot of time and a lot of work as every pageant queen knows. At the national level, there are LOTS of experienced contestants and it is not an easy task to win. I personally prepare for an entire year before a competition. Since I own a marketing company and regularly promote my business and title, it is relatively easy for me to sit behind the computer from early morning to late evening. That is what I do. I'm a nerd, businesswoman,community servant, beauty queen... in that order. I do indeed spend a lot of time on my computers, but I am also able to balance that with family/friend time... Until the last year.

I had a boyfriend this year when I was trying to win my TAW national title who I assumed would support my pageantry, being that we were in a committed relationship and I supported the things that he was interested in on a regular basis.

It was going to be a very tough competition and I needed to be way on top of my game. I practiced my platform speech daily while cleaning house, working, gardening or hanging out in the pool. Any chance I got to practice, I was giving my speech. For several months before the competition, I went to appearances and meetings for the pageant as well as my business. Every time I would leave the house, I would get accused of not being where I said I was, even when I came home with photos. I got very tired of having to fight every time I went somewhere, so the last few weeks before I left for the competition, my appearances suffered. I noticed that the closer I got to the competition, the more distant and rude he became about it. The week before I left he barely spoke to me. I left for the trip and thought that once I was at the pageant, everything would be OK. I had a very long 38-hour trip and was ready to begin my quest for the crown and have someone I loved to talk to and encourage me in between rehearsals and competitions. I was in for a big shock. This guy who claimed to love me, called and texted me every single day and evening accusing me of cheating and partying rather than the activities going on at the pageant. He actually called right before evening gown competition and told me I wasn't about to get on stage, that I was "out partying"..... yelling at me... WOW. After all of the effort I put in so far, and I am about to walk on stage for the final time in my beautiful gown, I get yelled at that I am cheating..... that I am out partying.... that the last year of my efforts as he watched me prepare, was just a joke to him. It broke my heart and truly knocked the wind out of my sails.

If there had not been about 40 women in the dressing room at the time listening to this, I don't think anyone would believe me. It rattled me for a minute and then one of my pageant sisters, Selma Johnson, Golden Ms Texas, talked to me and suddenly all was well with the world again.  I went on to rock the stage and win my crown, however it could very easily be gone the other way. The truth is, I have never had a husband or boyfriend that supported my pageantry. That incident could have ruined my attitude and cost me the crown. Thankfully, that did not happen. I now represent Today's International/American Woman Pageants for the next year as the TAW Petite Elite Ms 2015 National Queen. With this crown, I will be able to put my platform charity, Panhandle Mothers Against Methamphetamine, as well as my other causes on a national platform and get them the attention they need to find new sponsors, donors, volunteers, and funding. I trained for a year and competed for this crown for the simple fact that I want to use it to help as many people in my community as I can. I think of the many goals I wrote on my goal board and I am so happy that I am going to be able to do so much good for so many people.... its a dream come true.

I began to look back and see some things my now ex-boyfriend said and did that should have told me that I needed to disconnect from this person. As a survivor of domestic abuse for over 20 years, I know better. I know that mental abuse can be even more devastating than physical abuse. You don't have to be hit to be mistreated. There are some things you can look for in your relationships (and even in your family members) that will tell you if you are being sabotaged.

Does your guy...

  • Discourage you from attending events and appearances?
  • Barely listen or ignore you when you are discussing your title and upcoming competition?
  • Tell you that you are 'too involved' with your causes/pageant?
  • Make you feel guilty for taking time away from them to practice, make appearances, etc.
  • Accuse you of cheating or partying when you are at events or appearances?
  • Make conflicting plans at times you are appearing/volunteering/etc?

I came home from the competition, moved back to my house, and started over... 2 hours after arriving home after 36 hours on a bus. "Sometimes when you win, you lose." He was still accusing me of cheating as he left my house. He also kept my new kitty. Rude. Luckily, I have a very good friend who talked with me all the way home and cooked some amazingly good and healthy food for me knowing I had been on that bus very stressed and had not eaten or slept. He also talked with me from a man's point of view and encouraged me to get back on my goals and move on. It is interesting to find out who your real friends are when you are in this situation.

The bottom line is, if you don't have the right man in your life, this will hinder your efforts, which will be the difference between a win and a loss.

I like to look at it this way, "It is better to have NO boyfriend than a BAD boyfriend."

Share your stories with us. If ever you prefer to be anonymous, that is perfectly fine. Send them at

Disclaimer: Bad boyfriend/bad relationship illustration photos are from Google.
Re-edited by Joyce Cortez. 16 August 2018.
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