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Where are they now?

All of the recent crownings in the Mid-Atlantic Region really have me thinking…..”where are they now”?  A pageant girlfriend of mine remarked after Caressa won Miss America 2010, that if she were to ever win the big one, she would never do pageants again!  I asked her why and she remarked that once you’ve achieved the big one, what was the point of continuing.  My thoughts were – what about the fun? what about the

camaraderie , what about the platforms you can promote.

As I thought about it more, I started researching the net to see if I could find where some of my favorites “are now” and if they are still competing.  Interestingly enough, I came across this cool website – Pageant Trivia.  This website has a section on it’s front page where former titleholders can update their status.  I couldn’t find a directory of former titleholders, but I thought the concept was quite interesting.

Our conversation was still on my mind and couldn’t help wondering, should you really give up competing if you win one of the majors?  Will anyone really remember you, what mark have you made, what’s your legacy as a former Miss America or Little Miss Perfect?  Will you go on to be a commercial success, a medical success story, national philanthropist or will it just be enough to know you were once Miss International?

Some former Miss Americas and state titleholders have gone on to achieve notoriety….the most {in}famous still being Vanessa Willliams.  There is also Lee Meriweather, Gretchen Carlson, Debbie Turner and Erika Dunlap, but for the most part most Miss Americas “retire” to relative obscurity.

Miss America 1990, Debbye Turner ( Missouri)

In contrast to Miss Americas, more former Miss USA titleholders remain in the spotlight after crowning their successors.  I have a few favorites of my own  – Kenya Moore, Susie Castillo, Shauntay Hinton, Laura Martinez-Herring and of course Ali Landry.

Miss USA 1996, Ali Landry  (Louisiana)

Even some Mrs. titleholders have gone on to achieve some level of celebrity (if you can call it that).  I mean look at Omarosa – Mrs. District of Columbia America United States 2002.  She’s managed to be a part of three popular reality shows.


There may be others that have made notable strides in other areas that have made them “famous”, in the non-traditional sense that I don’t know about.  But for the most part, former pageant titleholders – national, state and/or local – usually return to their normal lives or relative obscurity.    I’m pretty sure they are happy in their lives and have gone on to have wonderful families and careers, but I do wonder – have they continued to compete, do they want to ever compete again? 

There have been some very dynamic women that have held titles in the Mrs. International, Mrs. America, Ms. All-American and Mrs. United States systems and I now my quest to find out – “where are they now”?  Hopefully, they are still competing and continuing to use their titles and platforms better their communities and people around them.  Remember the crown can be used for good 🙂


Black Eyed Susans Abound

Well the ladies have arrived in Hagerstown, orientation has been had, gifts have been exchanged, roommates have checked in and wardrobes have been completed. This past Sunday, 22 women checked in to either the Mu or Delta group to begin their quest to be crowned Miss Maryland America this Saturday. Also joining the week long festivities were 24 beautiful teens, one of which will advance to represent the Old Line State in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageant this summer.

 Miss Maryland America 2009, Brooke Poklemba

Getting to this point was no small feat for these wonderful scholars and they should all be commended. To be eligible to participate in the state pageant, one must first win a local pageant. These are held all throughout the state and are extremely competitive. Ironically, some “local’s” {names of these contests can provoke a smile or two} really aren’t local at all, but they are designed to give more women the chance to compete. Some Miss MD local titles this year included: Miss Appalachia, Miss Charm of Chesapeake, Miss Queen of Tolerance and Miss Unity.

The state pageant consists of two evenings of preliminary competition with a break on Friday evening for the MD – MAO Teen competition. The preliminaries include the two groups, Mu & Delta, competing in the various areas. Delta Group competes in Talent and On-Stage Question on Wednesday evening and Evening / Evening Wear as well as Swimsuit on Thursday Evening. Mu Group, goes in the reverse competing in Evening Wear and Swimsuit on Wednesday, following up with Talent and On Stage Question on Thursday Evening.  It will resume on Saturday evening with the finals, including the presentation of the top 10 and ultimately the new Miss Maryland America 2011.

It’s been almost 8 years, since Miss Maryland has hit big at the national pageant, but with the looks of this year’s contestants – MD could once again make it to the top 10.   In 2003, Marina Harrison, who began her reign as Miss Burtonsville, was the final night Casual Wear winner at Miss America and placed 3rd runner-up to Miss America 2004, Ericka Dunlap (Florida).

Marina Harrison wins Miss Maryland America 2003

Although the MAO Teen program is not as popular as Miss America, just yet – perhaps due to the fact that it isn’t televised. It’s notable to mention they’ve distributed more than $300,000 in scholarships since the pageants inception in 2005.

  DC’s Outstanding Teen 2009, MD’s Outstanding Teen 2009 and Miss Maryland 2009

The national pageant is held in August in Orlando, Florida and will be hosted this year by American Idol Runner-Up Justin Guarini!   Miss Maryland’s Outstanding Teen is in for a treat!

No matter the outcome, all the ladies will enjoy the experience of a lifetime, make new friends, walk away with a new spirit of confidence and have memories like no other to pass on.  And if they don’t, there’s always next year {for some}

Always Daddy’s Little Girl

Some see pageantry as mommy & daughter time.  You know, that special time where moms and daughters can bond while dad is running around behind Junior and his sport activities.  While it may be true in many cases, what about those Dads that spend just as much time, effort and let’s not forget, $$$$$, helping mom and the little princess as she moves forward on her quest for the crown?  They are around and just as proud of their girls as they are of their boys! 

Aarin Cristina Carver, Miss Maryland American Princess 2010 and her dad, Stacey Carver

Pageant Dads are cool and here at Pageants & Pearls, we just love ’em .  Some may make fun of you, as seen in

Zach Galifianakis’s spoof on Saturday Night Live.  Others may think you’re a little over the top {some episodes of Toddlers & Tiaras do nothing for you – sorry}.  Forget about them!!!  I think you’re simply the best!  There’s nothing more precious to a daughter, child or adult, than looking out in the audience and seeing your smiling face looking back at us, cheering us on.   Pageant girls need Dad’s support, so keep it up.  If you know a Dad who isn’t, just give them a gentle nudge and remind them.  One day, their daughter may just become Miss America!!!

 Caressa Cameron, Miss America 2010 and her parents

 To the pageant dads we love so much, and dad’s all over we salute you!  Happy Father’s Day!

Congratulations Mrs. Maryland America 2010

This past Saturday, June 12, a new Mrs. Maryland America was crowned.  Congratulations to Mrs. Raquel Riley Thomas, a former U.S. Army Captain.    Raquel, formerly Mrs. Prince George’s County,  competed on a platform of Veteran’s Employment, quite a timely and important issue.

Raquel Riley-Thomas, Mrs. Maryland America 2010

As a former Mrs. District of Columbia America, I am positive that Raquel will enjoy her time and experience in Tucson, Arizona as she competes for Mrs. America.   Best wishes and continued success to my roomie, Mrs. Maryland America 2009 – Carrie Glidden-Yorkis.

Hello Queenly Summer

The mid-atlantic region is hitting it’s stride for the summer pageant season.  At the end of this month, Maryland’s representative’s to the Miss America and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageants will be crowned in Hagerstown.   Ironically on the same day, the America’s Mrs.,Miss and Teen pageant take place in Bel Air, MD.

In a little over a week, the next Miss District of Columbia America will be selected as she competes in front of family and friends for scholarships and the chance to represent the nation’s capitol in Las Vegas next January.
On Father’s Day weekend, several ladies will compete in various divisions, for the Mid-Atlantic’s Perfect Jr. Teen/Teen & Miss titles in Annapolis, Maryland.  Mid-Atlantic Perfect Pageants is open to young women in Maryland and Delaware.
Get your camera’s ready as you will truly start to see more queens out and about, taking advantage of the beautiful weather and opportunities to appear at summer festivals, food tastings, Bar-B-Q cook offs, sporting events and the like. 
Finding some time to wind down and enjoy the empowered women of the WNBA, Mrs. Maryland International 2010, Angel McCoy, was a special VIP quest of the Madison Donovan Group on Sunday, May 30th at the Washington Mystics game held at the Verizon Center.  With just six short weeks before she leaves for Chicago to compete for the Mrs. International crown, this was a welcomed & relaxing appearance.  
 Mrs. Maryland International 2010, Angel McCoy, with some members of the Mystics Mayhem cheer & dance squad
Keep your eyes open for pageant sightings, for you never know when “a queenly summer” may make it’s way to a city or event near you.