3. (Dis)Orientation

February 2015

Here are the notes I took at orientation a few weeks before the pageant:

On a rainy Saturday morning, all of the girls and the pageant directors gather in the conference room of a local hotel.

  1. Pageant Director, David greets me at the door with bisous and he is not as intimidating as I thought. He later tells us that “One girl dropped out because she decided that her body wasn’t well-informed.” I assume a slip of the tongue.
  1. I fill out a makeup form I don’t understand. Am I oily in my…What’s a “T-zone?” I know my eyes aren’t “Asian” but does that mean they are “Standard?”
  1. I’m thinking maybe I shouldn’t have worn this sweater. It makes me look like I sheer alpaca for a living. Everyone else looks like they just cruised out of J. Crew.
  1. [Insert long speech about David’s success]
  1. This pageant has not happened in the city for 3 years and for some reason people no longer wanted to have it.


    by Hana Omiya

  1. The last pageant was held at a chicken wing festival … and then everyone suddenly realized they just wanted the chicken.
  1. We have a formal interview the day before the pageant and we will receive a number that will be our order throughout the pageant. I am #8 out of 13.
  1. “Is everyone okay so far?” asks David. “Haha okay. I see Adele put the thumbs up. Good thing she didn’t put another finger up.”
  1. David butters up my mother and calls her Esther Rolle from Good Times. Tells her she should enter Mrs. America.
  1. I just realized I walked into this building with bunch of hostility. Remember, I’m here to learn.
  1. Pageant Score Breakdown:

Swimsuit (15%)

  • A poll:

“How many of you think you are wearing a bikini?”

[Hands raise.]

“A one-piece?”

[Hands waver.]

“Don’t worry it’s okay. Wear what you are comfortable in. But realize if you go to NY State you have to wear bikini and we will get you a personal trainer.”

  • Sometimes bathing suits slip into unwanted cracks so to prevent them from moving make sure to, “get your butt glue at Dick’s.”
  • “Black women look great in yellow. But please don’t wear yellow makeup.”
  • Wear nude strappy shoes and a sarong that you will take off to say, “Here I am world!”

Evening Wear (20%)

  • It’s all about the silhouette; no teeny-bopper, prom-y stuff. So you’re saying I can’t wear my prom dress from senior year?
  • “Don’t worry about spending $1,000/2,000 on a dress. It could be $200. I don’t have to know.” Well, used prom dress it is then.

Talent (35%)

  • You got 90 seconds to show off your skills and entertainment value.

Private Interview (25%)

  • Wear formal business attire.
  • Know your platform; you have 10mins to impress the judges.

On Stage Q&A (5%)

  • Know current events; could be asked about anything.
  1. It’s nearing lunchtime and my stomach is growling like a dog. David leaves to the foyer and returns chewing on one Danish, sipping on one coffee.
  1. There was a pageant fundraiser event that none of us were invited to because they had to eliminate the possibility of underage drinking. The age range for the pageant is 17-24.

Another poll:

“Okay how many of you are 17? 18?”

[Some girls raise their hands and the poll continues]

“…22? Okay. 23?”

[One girl sheepishly raises her hand. Light-skinned, gorgeous with straight hair. Even her pout was pageant-perfect]

“Awww. Everyone, this is Amanda’s last year.”

“Yeah, I know,” she said. “I’m sooo oooold,”

[End of poll. Adele, 24 years of age, sits quietly in the back wondering if anyone ever considered her in the running.]

  1. Rehearsal will be all-day before the show at 5pm. I ask if there will be food. “Oh you can bring a snack. You probably don’t want to eat too much because…” we might look bloated I get it. We are told to keep hydrated and sip on Emergen-C packets. I will pack my emergency hoagie.
  1. At the end, they tell us to “like” the pageant’s Facebook page of which the profile picture is David’s face. Miss Buffalo never looked so handsome.