For anyone who knows me, you know I was Miss Oklahoma in 1983. When you say? The year Vanessa Williams won. 34 years ago!
Who cares right? Well, I do for one! And after the craziest 24-hour news cycle I’ve seen since Vanessa Williams stepped down as Miss America I felt compelled to share my thoughts which are a bit longer than the new 240 character twitter response.
I woke up Friday morning at 5am and as usual over coffee checked my Facebook page! I was stunned! Yashar Ali, who wrote the Huffington Post article, had opened up the beast inside of me. And from what I was seeing on my Facebook timeline, in the many former Miss America’s, former State title holders, participants in the pageant, volunteers, directors and well just fans as well!
The immediate outrage was evident! As I read the entire article the more incensed I became.
But it’s more than that! It was like I was defending a big part of my life! I grew up competing in pageants and my ultimate dream as a child was to compete for Miss America.
Not unlike a kid who wants to play football or go to the Olympics. For me, this was the path I chose. And I loved every minute of it.
As I watched the #sisterhood take over yesterday I was filled with pride and admiration! Unless you have competed in the Miss America program or volunteered or been a fan, maybe you can’t understand the #outrage.
But for those of us MAO fans, it was devastating. And to hear and read the vile things being said by the CEO Sam Haskell about previous winners was more than I could take!
I am not personal friends with former Miss America’s, Mallory Hagan, Kate Shindle, Gretchen Carlson or Betty Cantrell but #thesisterhoodisreal. I was heartsick.
It’s easy to sit at home on your computer and tap out responses about Miss America not being relevant anymore. Those that can’t get past beautiful, intelligent women competing against each other in a pageant. But Miss America is NOT just a pageant. It’s a lifetime of service, of friendships, of empowerment. A sorority of women that ARE changing the world! And if you don’t believe that while don’t you read a few articles on Gretchen Carlson!
Why do you think we are in this #metoo environment? Because strong women are speaking out! It’s time for new Leadership at the Miss America Organization. They know it and we know it! We will not be silenced. We will not sashay off in our tiaras.
I urge you to do a little research about the Miss America program before just tweeting out a simple response. I for one know what this pageant has meant to me for over 34 years! I have witnessed the explosion of women gaining strength! And I take pride in my association with the Miss America program.
Be strong my sisterhood! I stand with you!