Muy Linda !!!!!

Congratulations to Miss República Dominicana Global 2013 Marilyn Batista, and Miss T.E.E.N. República Dominicana 2013 Ana Matias, on winning their titles this past weekend.

Newly crowned winners of the Miss República Dominicana Global and Miss T.E.E.N. República Dominicana 2013 and outgoing Republica Dominicana Global Queen. (Courtesy of



Miss República Dominicana Global 2013 and Miss T.E.E.N. República Dominicana 2013 with event producers.

The pageant, which was held in Santo Domingo, D.R., was produced by Yuliza Encarnacion, Ms. Belleza Latina International 2012 and Carlos Machuca.


The winners will represent the Dominican Republic at the Miss Global International Pageant, which will be held in Nigeria, Africa and the Miss T.E.E.N. Pageant 2013  in Houston, Texas.

To learn more about both pageant systems, visit their websites!!

Miss Global International –

Miss T.E.E.N.  –


Get to Know………Miss Delaware International 2013

Pageants & Pearls spent some time last week getting to know Crystal Rush, Miss Delaware International 2013 through a Q & A session…. a pretty amazing lady if we do say so ourselves.  Don’t believe me, read for yourself!

Crystal Rush #267 - bw 8x10(2)

Q) What has been the most exciting thing that you’ve done as Miss Delaware so far?

A) “I have done so many exciting things. Every day I am blessed with new opportunities. I would say starting a chapter at my university is the most powerful thing I’ve done so far. It’s been exciting to get involved with my peers and constantly educate the public. Through the chapter I was able to organize a walk that raised money for Autism research.  I have also devoted my thesis to Autism research, so it’s been great digging through journals and articles to expand my work with Autism advocacy.”
Q) Who has been the most memorable person you’ve met so far and why?
A) Again, I meet so many wonderful and memorable people. It’s hard to list just one. At the Annual Autism Delaware Auction for Autism, I met a young man with Autism who got up and performed a country song. I spoke with him before he went on and he was nervous but ready to show everyone a different side of him. Half way through the song, he had the entire audience up on their feet cheering and singing along. I don’t think the actual singer could have topped his performance.
Q) What do you plan to do with your degree?
A) I plan to continue working in the public service sector. I want to utilize my skills and talents to better the community and change lives.
Q) What is your favorite memory with your niece?
A) My nieces are my biggest joy! Just last weekend we went for ice cream and she had me and my other niece, Kiara,  laughing until we cried with her “funny faces” she likes to do.  The most exciting memory we share is when we were recently in a local parade. It was a great experience sitting on the tailgate together and waving to the crowd. After I enjoyed telling everyone about Skye and her story and just sharing that moment with her was something I will never forget.
Q) Is there an organization that you would like to work with (that you haven’t already)?  Why?
A) I have tied myself to the local organizations in Delaware, but I am looking to expand my advocacy on a national level. 
Q) What are you most looking forward to at the International pageant?
A) Meeting the other girls and sharing my platform. Since I won Miss Delaware International, my favorite part has been sharing my story. I absolutely love having the chance to tell everyone what my platform is and why I am so passionate about it.
SPEED ROUND – FAVORITES……..We gave Crystal a category and she had to say the first thing that came to mind!!!!!
1) Color – Green or Blue. My favorite color changes all the time. I can’t help it! 🙂
2) Food – Pizza (can’t live without it!)
3) Dessert – My grandma’s Angel Food cake. This was my grandfather’s favorite and is mine, too!
4) Subject in school – Psychology
5) Celebrity – Jenny McCarthy. First, I love how funny and real she is. Secondly, I love that her son is on the spectrum and she uses her celebrity status to raise money and awareness. I have her books. She is awesome! Go Jenny!! 🙂
6) Season – Fall, I love the rich colors that come out in the fall and hot apple cider on crisp autumn nights.
7) Clothing item – Dresses, nothing is easier or cuter than a pretty sundress and wedges.
Good luck at International this summer Crystal!
To book Crystal for an appearance, please contact


Congratulations to Yolanda Makle…..Ms. Galaxy 2011!!!!

 (Yolanda Makle, 2011 Ms. Galaxy Photogenic Winner)

(2011 Galaxy Pageants Queens.  Clockwise from top right – Teen, Ms, Mrs, Miss)

No stranger to pageantry, Yolanda is an amazing competitor who has won or placed runner up in several national pageants. 

  (4th runner up to Miss Galaxy 2005)


 (Ms. Belleza Latina 2009)

More than just a pretty face, this engineer &; businesswoman is a proud alum of the University of North Carolina and President of Yolanda Makle Photography!!!  Perhaps you’re now thinking, “I’ve seen her somewhere before.  No, not at an appearance”.  Well you’re absolutely right.  In the summer of 2009, Yolanda beat a bevy of contestants, ultimately two other finalists, for the job of the Washington Nationals In-Game Co-Host!!!

Despite all her titles and placements, Yolanda’s most notable contribution to the industry was the founding of the Ethnic World Pageant System in 2005.  Her vision for establishing the pageant was “to give ALL women of color the opportunity to help educate the world on cultural diversity“.   With all that Yolanda has done through her time in pageantry and considering her very first Ethnic World teen queen has gone on to become Miss America her vision was dead on and has moved beyond women of color.

Continued success Yolanda as you move forward in showing the world what ANY woman can do a little tenacity, faith, preparation, hard work and motivation.

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 🙂


Those Dreaded Questions

They say “practice makes perfect”, “knowledge is key” and “how you practice is how you perform”.  {Don’t ask me who the proverbial THEY is, but you get the point}.  In any event, that is so true in any competition, and let’s face it – a pageant is a competition.  It is so important for ladies competing in pageants to practice the skills they need to be successful in the interview, on-stage question or platform presentation portions of a pageant.    There are several ways to do this.  You can partner with other pageant friends to do a round robin type session, read one of the many web sites or publications with sample interview questions or take the route of hiring an interview coach like my personal favorite – Pageant Perks!!!

  Two Pageant Perks clients, Heather & Deanna (author)

Think about it, a pageant interview, shouldn’t feel any different than a job interview.  After all you are applying to take on the role of Miss Turkey Leg America 🙂  The biggest fear, I think, about interview and on stage questions are “Those Dreaded Questions“!!!  You spend all this time writing and critiquing your judges’ bio, application and numerous other forms, only to have 4-7 people you’ve never met/seen ask you who knows what, about what they’ve read.  If you’re like me, you’ve often wondered, where do they get those questions, why did they ask me that, what made them think of that?  The answers to those questions, cherubs, are never ending and may never be known.  Here’s what I do know – the pageant interview and on-stage question portions aren’t rocket science, in fact they’re quite simple.  You don’t have to do much really, simply smile and  1) Listen to the question  2) Think about the question and 3) Answer the question honestly, to the best of your ability.

Practice and preparation just help you apply the best methods for YOU to use after you’ve committed to mastering those earlier steps.  You must get to a point where you feel comfortable in front of varied audiences and you must learn how to think beyond to the stated question.  

Through it all just remember, you’re interviewing with and talking to a human being.  Someone not much unlike yourself, with feelings, emotions, education, hobies and a family.  So be yourself and use your brain.  Oh, yeah, but don’t forget – one day you may run into a judge who also happens to be a QUEEN herself.

Heather Thompson, Mrs. Virginia International 2010 and Deanna McCray James, Mrs. District of Columbia 2009 served as judges for the 2010 Miss and Teen District of Columbia International pageant.
Judges of the 2010 Miss and Teen District of Columbia International pageant with the new titleholders – Chelsey Rodgers (Miss) and Alexis Harvey (Teen)

Product of the Week

Every pageant girl has something she can’t live without during a competition and/or appearance.  Friday’s are dedicated to highlighting some of my (and I hope your) favorites, so feel free to send me any suggestions.

This week’s “can’t live without” product is DERMABLEND!!!

Dermablend is some of the most fantastic stuff ever invented.  If you’re like me (and most of America born between 1970 – 1990) you have one or two tattoos.  My good friend, Yolanda Makle, Ms. Latina Galaxy,  has no qualms about showing her tattoos during competition – but then again, she’s already flawless to begin with.  I have a pretty large scorpion on my back and a Japanese symbol on the front of my right shoulder so I tend to cover mine

 If covering your tattoos during a pageant is the road you choose, you NEED Dermablend in your life.  It will cover ANYTHING and by anything, I mean anything.  It is a relatively inexpensive product, averaging $31 for the creme and another $21 for the setting power, but it lasts and lasts and lasts.  Best of all, it’s waterproof and will withstand stage lighting.   I usually use the cover creme, which is multi-use, but you can also use the leg & body creme.   Ranging in shades from pale ivory to deep brown, you will have a hard time not finding a shade to match you perfectly.

In case you were wondering – I am #5 Olive Brown Cover Creme over a Bronze Deep Fix Concealer

The Miss America Organization…

According it’s web site, 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.” The Miss America crown(MAO), is by far, one of the most coveted crowns in pageantry.
As a former Executive Director of a MAO local pageant, I can attest to the fact that each participant from the local level upward has the opportunity to receive some sort of scholarship dollars through out the year. It is such an exciting way to earn money for school or to repay student loans!!! Many local pageants are as intricate as state pageants and require months of preparation and plenty of time to devote to your particular charity or cause.

This past Thursday, the public pageant event schedule kicked off with an arrival ceremony at Planet Hollywood. Tonight is the first night of Preliminaries. If you happen to be in Vegas and are interested in attending. Below are the details, enjoy!!!
Time: 8 p.m.
Location: Planet Hollywood – Theater for the Performing Arts
Price: $75 plus Ticketmaster fees – Visit

In the days leading up to the pageant, I am always on the edge of my seat waiting to see what talent, follies and tears finals night will bring. Only four days left until the winner is announced. I sure hope Maryland has a good showing, go Brooke!!!!

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