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Pageant Scandals or Publicity Stunts

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Disclaimer (ugh, I hate disclaimers): …ok, background information:
I used to compete in pageants. I don’t think this is a terrible surprise since I’ve talked about it before (http://twitter.com/KOttavio/statuses/3512327971). Pageants are good…pageants (Miss America Organization) (http://www.missamerica.org/) give scholarship money…pageants helped me hone my interview and “stay cool under pressure” skills. Most importantly, I have made some lifelong friends in the pageant system.
That said—pageants are a business. Miss America is a scholarship program…so let’s leave them out of this discussion (don’t even bring up Vanessa Williams or I will…). Miss USA (http://www.missuniverse.com/missusa), on the other hand, is owned by Mr. Donald Trump (along with Miss Teen USA (http://www.missuniverse.com/missteenusa) and Miss Universe) (http://www.missuniverse.com/). And like any business, numbers need to be high and those dollars need to be raked in.
So I can’t be the only one who found it a little disheartening (ok, fishy) when the “pageant scandals” (http://television.aol.com/photos/beauty-pageant-scandals) became more and more prominent. Take the most recognized semi-recent mishap: Tara Conner, Miss USA 2006 “Oh no she didn’t.” The young woman was splattered all over the press for “alleged cocaine use, public kissing sessions with Miss Teen USA and random men were seen emerging from her swanky New York apartment.” And how was this young lady reprimanded? Trump held a press conference and let her keep her crown. I’m sure sparkling jewels look fab in rehab.
Not to draw this out, but there’s also Ashley Harder, Miss N.J. USA 2007 (she got pregnant), Katie Rees, Miss Nevada USA 2007 (naughty nightclub romp with photo evidence), Leona Gage, Miss USA 1957 (lied about her age), Oxana Federova, Miss Universe 2002 (I can’t fault this one…she hardly attended any appearances because they interfered with her studies. Still, it’s press!). Oh yeah and there was that Carrie Prejean girl…
Are these incidences just that? Young human beings, stressed out under the spotlight, making mistakes that we “regular people” just don’t get caught for while they do? Or calculated publicity stunts? I’d like to believe the former. (Tara actually did go to rehab.( http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20005269,00.html)) Perhaps it’s just the genius team at Trump’s office exploiting such happenings into publicity stunts for high viewership numbers, ultimately bringing huge dollar amounts to the organization.
Thoughts? I will donate one dollar for every male who comments (and offers legitimate opinions/insight) on this blog within 24 hours of posting to The Children’s Miracle Network, the official national platform (http://missamerica4kids.com/) of the Miss America Organization. Donation will be capped at $100 (we’re in PR people, not venture capital). [Editor’s Note: In honor of the PRBreakfastClub.com launch we will match this donation — $1 per legitimate male-authored comment to 12for12K (12for12k.org)]
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Katie Stam, Miss America 2009

Disclaimer (ugh, I hate disclaimers): …ok, background information:

I used to compete in pageants. I don’t think this is a terrible surprise since I’ve talked about it before. Pageants are good…pageants (Miss America Organization) give scholarship money…pageants helped me hone my interview and “stay cool under pressure” skills. Most importantly, I have made some lifelong friends in the pageant system.

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