Life as a Pageant Winner
Funny (or Not) Stories about Life as a Beauty Queen
Miss USA® 1957, Leona Gage Dethroned
In 1957, the newly-crowning Miss USA®, Leona Gage, resigned after her mother-in-law informed the press that 18-year-old Gage is not only married to an Air Force sergeant, but was also the mother of two small sons. In a sad scene, the teary-eyed titleholder explained that she entered the competition to earn prize money to supplement their family’s military salary.
Diane Sawyer, America’s Junior Miss Gains Points for Goofiness
When Diane Sawyer competed in the America’s Junior Miss Pageant, several judges considered her too serious and sophisticated to serve as a teen titleholder. Then, a silly stroke of luck changed their minds … and the course of the crown. During rehearsals, nearsighted Diane walked headfirst into a metal post in front of the judges and dissolved into girlish giggles. Charmed by Sawyer’s silly side, several judges changed their votes in her favor. That night she was named 1963 America’s Junior Miss.
Dayanara Torres, Miss Universe 1993
When Dayanara Torres returned to Puerto Rico after being crowned Miss Universe 1993, she was greeted by thousands of excited countrymen who mobbed the streets to get a glimpse of their county’s third Miss Universe. During a five-hour, twenty mile long float-ride to her hometown, the deluged international beauty queen nearly fainted from exhaustion and was ushered away to an air-conditioned hotel room for liquids and a chance to rest. She then returned to her Homecoming parade.
Miss America 1988 was singing autographs at a mall when an alarm bell rang. A mall bank had just been robbed. Police ran up and asked, Have you seen a bank robber come this way?” Nodding toward the lengthy line of waiting fans, she replied, “not unless he stopped for an autograph.”
Soviet Pageant Salute…
During the Moscow Beauty ’88 contest, celebrating Soviet reforms, Maria Kalinina was chosen as the first-ever Muscovite beauty queen.The communist stage crew –unaccustomed to parades of pulchritude –couldn’t take their eyes off the winner. As she was being crowned, one fellow in charge of lightly sprinkling the new queen with long-stemmed flowers from an overhead bin, was so distracted that he accidentally dumped the entire load of flowers on her, knocking the crown off her head and causing the poor girl to duck for cover.
During as tour of an elementary school, Miss America 1982 was pelted with apple crisp by a student in the cafeteria
BeBe Shopp, Miss America 1948
In 1948, when BeBe Shopp, Miss Minnesota, became the first Miss America to be crowned in a modest gown, rather than the traditional swimsuit, reporters nearly boycotted the pageant. Months later, when she became the first Miss America to travel overseas, European reporters asked BeBe what she thought of the scandalously skimpy “bikini” becoming all the rage on European beaches. The wholesome farmer’s daughter replied, “I don’t know what to say, except that American girls wouldn’t wear them!”
—Miss America: In Pursuit of the Crown
Charlotte Lopez Miss Teen USA 1993
When emcee Dick Clark announced Charlotte Lopez as winner of the 1993 Miss Teen USA Pageant, her sister, who was watching the telecast at home, began screaming
so loudly that a frightened neighbor called the police. Officers raced to the scene to investigate the crowning “crime.”
In the pre-television era, a girl who had just won the most coveted title in the country rushed backstage to call her family with the exciting news. When her little brother answered the phone, she told him, “I’ve just won Miss America!!!” Unimpressed, her brother replied, “With what?”
Miss America 1926 got into a spat with pageant officials and refused to return to Atlantic City to reign over festivities unless they paid her the $600 she demanded. They refused. She was a no-show.
Miss USA 2006 nearly loses the crown
Tara Connor, Miss USA 2006, is nearly stripped of her title after media reports surface of excessive partying at bars and nightclubs, underage drinking, kissing her pageant little sister Miss Teen USA, and other unspecified “misbehavior”. In a media packed press conference in New York, with Connor seated at his side in tears, Donald Trump surprises onlookers by announcing that he will not fire his queen. Instead, he gives the titleholder “a second chance”. “She got caught up in the whirlwind of New York,” he explains.”
Sources: Atlantic City Magazine, Glamour, Miami Herald, Miss America Cookbook (Rutledge Hill Press), Miss America: In Pursuit of the Crown, People, Press of Atlantic City, Union News, Tropic, San Juan Star, Globe, TV Guide