Pageants — you either love them or you hate them. Regardless, our own Miss UVU Pageant was held on Feb. 5 in the Ragan Theater in front of an enthusiastic audience, but more importantly, five judges.
The dedicated contestants spent hours upon hours not only preparing for the pageant, but also the private interview which was held earlier in the day. This portion of the competition accounts for 25 percent of their overall score.
Participants are required to write up personal biographies and explain their platform in a sort of resume. They are then compiled into a notebook that each judge receives a few weeks prior to the pageant.
Through studying this information the judges get a feel for each contestant beforehand and prepare relevant questions for the interview, which lasts for 10 vulnerable minutes.
“In the interview process they ask them anything from ‘How do you feel about healthcare?’ to ‘What are your views towards sex education in schools?’ or even ‘Why did you pick that to wear?’” said pageant Judges Chair Carly Condie. “You are literally being fired at with questions and it is fast and you’ve got to be able to respond to between 15 and 30 questions.”
Responsible for selecting and working with the judges as well as guiding the women through the preparation process, Condie is herself a muti title-holder: Miss Spanish Fork, Miss Utah Valley, Miss UVSC 2004 and Miss Utah County, along with four close calls at Miss Utah.
“Some people like to run marathons or draw, but this became what I love to do because I saw myself transform into a better person. I felt better about myself because I knew I was helping people primarily through the service aspect,” Condie said.
With the interview portion over, the pageant began at 7:30 p.m. with an opening number performed by all contestants as well as Miss UVU 2009 Lauren Burton. Then introductory videos were played in which each contestant presented herself to the audience, detailing her involvement with school and relevant aspects of her life.
The controversial swimwear competition came next with each contestant striding across the stage in high heels and a one- or two-piece bathing suit.
Although the Miss America pageant no longer associates itself with its beauty-pageant roots and chooses instead to portray itself as a scholarship program, one of its original sponsors, Catalina Swimsuits, went on to found Miss USA and Miss Universe as a product promotion tool according to www.MissUniverse.com.
And yet the bathing suit portion remains 15 percent of the overall score of the Miss America, and therefore Miss UVU, competition.
“Where the controversy lies is you are watching ladies parade around in bathing suits and high heels. That is not reality and what does that have to do with picking a good candidate? For sure I totally get that,” Condie said. “At the same time, a title-holder has many responsibilities and needs to be someone who is active and can handle those types of jobs under pressure. It is also a test to see if they can walk out in a swimsuit and carry it off — can they feel comfortable and confident in their own skin? I was always told, and I truly believe, that the swimsuit portion is won from the neck up.”
Next came the most weighted portion of the pageant — the talent competition. Worth 35 percent of the overall score, each participant had been perfecting her act for months and here it was … so much effort now depended upon a brief performance onstage.
The acts were varied and entertaining, from singing, to dancing, to instrumentals, from sign language to a monologue, every act had something uniquely expressive of each individual woman.
Thereafter the participants were brought onstage in groups and asked a question pertinent to their platform. Their answer would determine five percent of their total score. Each woman answered with confidence, promoting her platform well.
Interestingly, although the platform concept is now a major portion of the competition, it wasn’t instituted until 1989, according to www.MissAmerica.org, but I digress, let us continue.
The evening wear competition added 20 percent to the overall score. Anyone who enjoys the color scale, glitz and glamour would have been mesmerized as each contestant briefly took the stage.
Afterwards, with every segment of the competition completed, and the judges’ scores finalized, all 11 contestants were brought onstage to hear the results. First they announced the Spirit of the Pageant Award which was given to Katie Danner, and secondly they announced the Children’s Miracle Network Award which was given to Kami Winterton, and thereafter they proceeded to the coronation of the 2010 royalty.
Mandy Tapia was named third attendent, Danika Olsen second attendent, first-runner-up was awarded to Missy Kune, and finally, Valerie Moon was named Miss UVU 2010.
With $50 bookstore credit given to every participant, $750 fall/spring semester scholarship and $100 bookstore credit awarded to attendants, and $1500 fall/spring scholarship and $200 bookstore credit awarded to Miss UVU 2010 Valerie Moon, no one could accurately say that this is a mere beauty competition.
It is obvious that the pageant provides academic and service opportunities to its participants. It is an ever-evolving organization which has come a long way from its beginnings and most likely still has a ways to go in development.
All we can say is, congratulations to all who benefitted from participating, especially Miss UVU 2010 Valerie Moon; may you fully utilize the opportunities now awaiting you.