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Thread: Miss America Pageant Returns to Atlantic City!

  1. #1
    Elite Member Bluebonnet's Avatar
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    Default Miss America Pageant Returns to Atlantic City!

    Miss America pageant returns to Atlantic City

    By Beth D’Addono

    | Globe correspondent July 04, 2013

    The pageant was in its third year when the contestants were photographed on the beach in Atlantic City in 1923.

    ATLANTIC CITY — After eight years of dallying in Las Vegas, the Miss America pageant will be back in September where it started, in Atlantic City. It’s a big deal for the seaside resort. Founded in 1921 and on the boardwalk for 84 years, the contest left for Vegas in 2006. Although the move managed to lower the median age of television viewers from 58 to 37 — a fact that returned the broadcast to prime time on ABC — the contest’s family appeal was a bit of a disconnect with the Vegas scene.

    “The prodigal daughter is back,” said Vicki Gold Levi, cofounder of Atlantic City’s Historical Museum and a pageant judge in 1998. Her affection for Miss America began when she was a 5-year-old page to the 1945 queen, Bess Myerson. “She was the first Jewish Miss America and I was the only Jewish page,” Levi said. “People are thrilled that it’s back, especially the parade. Miss America is deeply imbedded into the cultural history of Atlantic City.”
    While the crowd-pleasing Show Us Your Shoes parade is set for Sept. 14, and the competition for Sept. 15, there are plenty of close encounters of the Miss America kind to be had whenever you visit.

    The best place for a dose of pageantry is the Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Hotel (2 Convention Blvd., .sherawww, where an impressive array of crowns and gowns resides year-round, along with more than 400 historic photos, many on loan from Gold Levi’s private collection. The retro photos are everywhere, blown up in the lobby and decorating the hotel’s 502 guest rooms.

    The Miss America theme was the brainchild of Tom Scannapieco, hotel developer and owner, who opened the property in 1997. Collection curator Janet Espenshade is working to add new themed street-facing windows to the display in time for the pageant. “Miss America is our royalty,” said Espenshade, who spent a year sourcing and re-creating original Miss America gowns and accessories.
    ‘People are thrilled that it’s back, especially the parade.’

    We are the closest thing there is to a Miss America museum,” said Espenshade, “and we love for visitors to come take a look.” The lobby is home to eight mannequins, seven wearing a replica of a winning gown and one showcasing the current reigning queen’s dress, which is switched out every year. There’s a flapper style worn by Margaret Gorman, the 16-year-old first winner in 1921, with the gown of each subsequent decade making quite the fashion statement, from Lee Meriwether’s demure white 1955 taffeta to the current queen’s slinky white off-the-shoulder number. Ada Duckett, the Texas-based designer of pageant wear known for inventing the “magic swimsuit,” which won its wearers more swimsuit competitions than any other in pageant history, re-created the gowns to the finest detail. There’s also a Golden Mermaid statue re-creating the rare first trophy and 29 actual shoes from the shoe parade on display in the hotel’s Shoe Bar, including the ballet slippers that Heather White-stone wore when she won the talent competition in 1995.

    Although a new self-guided walking tour of Miss America hot spots is still in the planning stage, visitors can wander along the landscaped Rose Walk on Michigan Avenue, which stretches from the Convention Center and Tanger Outlets to Atlantic Avenue, where a series of plaques pays tribute to contest winners.

    Finally, no self-respecting pageant geek can leave town without visiting the Tea Garden in front of the Sheraton, where a bronze statue of the late Bert Parks, longtime pageant master of ceremonies, presides. Stand under the crown Parks is holding and you’ll hear a recording of Parks singing the famous line “There she is . . . Miss America,” words to make anybody feel like a winner.

    Miss America pageant returns to Atlantic City - Travel - The Boston Globe
    Before you can judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that, who cares? He's a mile away and you've got his shoes. - Billy Connolly

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    Elite Member Bluebonnet's Avatar
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    Tattooed Miss America contestant Theresa Vail is first to show ink during pageant

    One of two visible tattoos on Ms. Kansas, Theresa Vail, during the preliminary round of the swimsuit competition Tuesday in Atlantic City. (Aristide Economopoulos/The Star-Ledger)

    By Amy Kuperinsky/The Star-LedgerThe Star-Ledger
    Email the author | Follow on Twitter
    on September 11, 2013 at 10:01 AM, updated September 11, 2013 at 7:40 PM

    ATLANTIC CITY — She isn't the only one with a tattoo.
    Miss Montana, for instance, has a big bold one on her foot, with a cross and an inscription.
    But Theresa Vail's ink was front and center last night at the first round of Miss America preliminaries. Exposing a tattoo seemed a far cry from the pageant queens of old who came to visit, like BeBe Shopp, from 1948, who once, it was reported, told media she didn't think bikinis were appropriate for American women.

    Between Vail's red bikini, on her right side, spanning her ribs and hip, is the "Serenity Prayer," written in a sizable series of vintage font.
    View full sizeMiss Kansas Theresa Vail. Miss America photo gallery.The Star-Ledger

    She is Miss Kansas, and while she wasn't there to wear them — the ladies will don their parade shoes Saturday — her plain tan boots also stood out in a table of glitzy, glittery heels yesterday at a preview for the Show Us Your Shoes Parade.Vail, 22, joined the Kansas Army National Guard at 17, lists her employment as being in the medical detachment, and has double majored in Chinese and chemistry at Kansas State University.
    Her pageant platform: "Empowering Women; Overcoming Stereotypes and Breaking Barriers."
    Her career goal? "To become a prosthodontist for the Army" (prosthetic dentist). Vail did not win her turn at the swimsuit category.
    Vail is believed to be the first contestant in a major pageant to display ink.
    The senior at Kansas State University has one other tattoo: An insignia for the U.S. Army Dental Corps on her left shoulder.

    Vail wrote on her blog the "Serenity Prayer" helped her get through her adolescent years when she was bullied, leading her to get the tattoo. She said she added the military tattoo because she's always had "a strong passion for service."
    a href="">Should Miss Kansas display her tattoos during the Miss America pageant?</a>

    "My whole platform is empowering women to overcome stereotypes and break barriers, Vail wrote on her blog. "What a hypocrite I would be if I covered my ink. How can I tell other women to be fearless and true to themselves if I can't do the same? I am who I am, tattoos and all."
    She is the second service member to compete in Miss America, following Miss Utah Jill Stevens in 2007, who was a combat medic in Afghanistan.
    Sharon Pearce, president of the Miss America Organization, says organizers were aware that Vail wouldn't be covering her tattoos. Pearce didn't think it was a problem.
    "We believe each contestant definitely has the ability to show their individuality," she says. "We're happy to support them."
    Chelsea Rick, Miss Mississippi, won the swimsuit competition on the same night that Vail strutted the stage in her bikini.
    "I just expected that she was going to cover them up," says Rick, who wore a black and gold bikini. She thinks Vail is just representing herself by choosing not to cover something so permanent. Besides, she says, if Vail covered the ink now and won the title, she would have to do it all the time.
    Mario Barth, owner of Starlight Tattoo shops in Rochelle Park, Belleville and Las Vegas, and the producer of the Inked Out tattoo convention taking place this weekend at the Meadowlands Expo Center in Secaucus, calls body art "the ultimate statement of self-expression."
    It's a natural choice, he says, for a woman to share her tatoos on a national stage.
    "I think it's a great thing that they're showing it and on such a big competition," says Barth. Plus, he says, by showing her tattoos in such a visible and large way, Vail is actually reflecting the chosen adornments of many women in 2013, in the United States and elsewhere.
    "The biggest trend currently in the last year is that 75 percent of the clients are females and that all of them go for very large-scale tattoos," he says. "Angelina Jolie can show it on the red carpet, then Miss America can show it on the show."
    Pearce says the mission of the pageant is to view the women in totality and not fixate on one detail.
    Miss Alabama is one contestant whose very name, Chandler Champion, has drawn attention. Talking about Vail's body art, she lit up.
    "She's such a cool girl," said Champion, eyes wide. "She's so full of surprises."
    Before you can judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that, who cares? He's a mile away and you've got his shoes. - Billy Connolly

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