Did you have any coaching to prepare?
“No. I don’t believe in being programmed or anything. I believe in being PREPARED, but I’m not into coaching. No.” — Sharlene Wells, Miss America
What was your purpose for entering the pageant?
“The glamour side is great, but my purpose in entering was to somehow help others. I am hoping to work with lots of great causes and hope that I can make a positive mark on America and the world.” — Jennifer Johnson, Mrs. America
What was your motivation for entering this pageant?
“I wanted to win the pageant for myself, but especially for my husband. He always told me that I could do anything I set my mind to. He’s given me a lot of strength.” — Pamela Nail, Mrs. World
Why did you decide to enter this competition?
“The thought of doing something like that never occurred to me before. But my husband and I talked it over with our children – and we decided it would be a good platform to promote what we most believe in: the family, home, and marriage.” — Sandra Earnest, Mrs. USA
Did you spend a lot of money on your wardrobe?
“Once I won the state title, the Miss Missouri state board helped me get ready for everything, down to the pantyhose. So basically, all I had to buy was lotion and shampoo. The cost for me was minimal. The point is to MAKE money. My advice to any young lady is to go about it in a way to make money. The maximum that I spent of my own money was $1,500-$2,000 over seven-and-half-years.” — Debbye Turner, Miss America
What do you think about girls who think they’ll have a better chance of winning if they copy previous winners?
“I found that just being yourself works the best.” — Michelle Royer, Miss USA
How much has been spent to prepare you for this competition?
“Right off the top of my head, I would say approximately $2,000. That’s for everything. All expenses, traveling, gowns, clothing.”
How much of that was your own money?
“I don’t even know yet. I would say $1,000. But then we had fundraisers in Ohio, where I would go and sing and I received most of the money for those.” — Susan Perkins, Miss America
How do you manage to compete and have such a full life, as well?
“Luckily for me, I am a very organized person and I have a terrific family who support me in every way, so my work and the travel haven’t made things as difficult as they might have been.” —Deborah Wolfe, Mrs. America
How do you feel about this pageant not having a talent competition?
“Juggling a career, home, and social life is enough of a talent. You don’t have to twirl a baton too.” — Cynthia Amann, Mrs. America
How do you manage to compete and have such a full life, as well?
“Luckily for me, I am a very organized person and I have a terrific family who support me in every way, so my work and the travel haven’t made things as difficult as they might have been.” — Deborah Wolfe, Mrs. America
So many titleholders these days are professional women with advanced degrees. How do you feel about being “just” a homemaker?
“I’m proud to tell people that I’m a full-time homemaker. Nothing is more important to me than making sure my husband and ten children are well cared for.” —Sandra Earnest, Mrs. USA
You always hear that girls use “tricks.” What are some of the tricks?
“You bet. One of the tricks is to put Vaseline on your teeth. I’ve never tried it because I don’t have the old problem of dry-mouth. But a lot of girls do put Vaseline on their teeth. It keeps your mouth kind of moist.” —Michelle Royer, Miss USA
What are some tricks YOU use?
“Well, for myself, I am very fair -skinned so I like to use the tanning lotion. That’s something that I always use onstage. I put the tanning lotion on and it turns into a nice golden tan within about three hours. But you have to make sure you get that stuff real even, and you have to make sure that you wash your hands or else you have tan hands too!” — Michelle Royer, Miss USA
The Miss USA Pageant doesn’t have a talent contest, right?
“Well, we don’t have a STAGE talent competition. We have on-stage interviewing which is totally spontaneous – and we consider THAT a talent.” —Michelle Royer, Miss USA
Are the girls ultra-competitive?
“It was really a surprise for me – a pleasant surprise. I don’t know what I came expecting. Maybe a competitive spirit. And maybe for the first couple of days, the girls were looking at each other trying to figure out, “Well, Who could possibly be the winner?’, But after a while everyone loosened up and really had a good time and got to be friends. — Elizabeth Ward, Miss America
I understand the girls do things like put Vaseline on their teeth. Is that true?
“Some of the girls do. I never could STAND it.” — Elizabeth Ward, Miss America
Isn’t that awkward having to be so concerned with your appearance?
“It is, but you are constantly being seen. Especially that week. Everyone is looking at you. It’s really funny backstage. The girls are just everyday people. I think the public thinks that you are up on a pedestal and not a real person. It’s really funny to sit backstage. That’s more the most fun during the week.” — Elizabeth Ward, Miss America
How do you feel about “pageant-hopping”?
“The point is not being in a pageant. The point is allowing these young ladies to grow as a person and get scholarship money. As set in the guidelines and rules of the pageant, you are eligible to compete in a state in you are living there, working there, or going to school there. So a young lady is not excluded because she lived in a different state than she went to school in – Because this is a scholarship program, geared toward college-bound or college students. Since most people travel outside their states to go to college, it would be counter-productive to exclude people who do from being able to participate in the system.” — Debbye Turner, Miss America
In many states young women spend thousands of dollars on evening gowns in order to win scholarships. Do you think contestants are spending more to compete than they get out in scholarships?
“I certainly can’t speak for every young lady, but I certainly didn’t. I was in this pageant to make money, not to go into debt. And, besides, my family, nor I, could afford to spend several thousand dollars on evening gowns. The point is to make money. The system is here to provide scholarships. When I first competed, I went around to local businesses and got sponsors because that was the only way I could do it. That’s how I got started.” — Debbye Turner, Miss America
Is it true that you once had a weight problem?
“Yes I did. Back when I was 16-20, I worked in a bakery and I had a weight problem. It’s so weird that four-or-five years later, I won the swimsuit competition – at one time being 20 lbs. Over-weight. I didn’t realize that I was overweight, or how I looked in clothes, until one day my boyfriend looked at me and called me thunder thighs. And from that moment on, I dropped those twenty pounds very quickly.” —Debra Maffett, Miss America
Do you feel that seven minutes is enough for the judges to get to know an individual contestant?
“Sometimes it may not be enough for the girl, but it certainly is enough for the judges.” — Susan Powell, Miss America
To what do you credit your stunning figure?
“All my life I’ve concentrated on my kids. I never jogged. I never did any proper exercises. I never even had time to ride the exercise bike in our house. I’ve managed to stay in shape by chasing after a houseful of kids!” — Sandra Earnest, Mrs. USA
To reporters asking about pageant interviews:
“You guys are easier than my interview! — Marjorie Vincent, Miss America
If you are selected as the winner you will be a symbol to young women and girls. What would you tell them?
“I would tell them to have their own personality, to always try to stand with both feet on the floor. That’s most important – to always stand with both feet on the floor, to try to make other people happy, and to help.” — Yvonne Ryding, Miss Universe
What have you been doing as a titleholder this year?
“I have had a wonderful year so far. I have done an extensive amount of traveling. I have been to Germany, Israel, and Cyprus, and to the North Pole. What I’ve been doing in those countries is visiting the Canadian Armed Forces camps with the performing tour and participating in the performing tours.” — Karen Baldwin, Miss Universe
What do you think about the pageant including a category for academic achievement?
Well, I think in the wake of all the protesting that’s been going on, and people saying that the Miss America program is not a scholarship; program, I just had the idea that maybe we should include a category for academic achievement. When I was involved in the Miss TEEN program, there was a category for academic achievement and the judges had your grade point average. They considered how the difficult the courses you were taking. I don’t exactly how they did it, but there is a way to judge that.” —Gretchen Carlson, Miss America
You were a runner-up in your state pageant. Did you do anything to prepare yourself?
“After the year, I became involved with the Young Ambassadors, the performing group. That was my first year of really performing. We toured all over the United States for about two months. That really helped me to get outside of myself, to understand my own performing capabilities, as well as many speaking engagements. That really helped a lot. That whole year was a growing experience.” —Sharlene Wells, Miss America
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