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.
- 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.
- 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?”
- 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.
- [Insert long speech about David’s success]
- This pageant has not happened in the city for 3 years and for some reason people no longer wanted to have it.
- The last pageant was held at a chicken wing festival … and then everyone suddenly realized they just wanted the chicken.
- 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.
- “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.”
- David butters up my mother and calls her Esther Rolle from Good Times. Tells her she should enter Mrs. America.
- I just realized I walked into this building with bunch of hostility. Remember, I’m here to learn.
- Pageant Score Breakdown:
- A poll:
“How many of you think you are wearing a bikini?”
“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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
“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.]
- 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.
- 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.
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