Effing Beauty Queens

June 25, 2012


(disclaimer: it’s not totally necessary, but this post assumes the reader has seen the movie, Drop Dead Gorgeous)

Drop Dead Gorgeous is one of my all-time favorite movies. BF and I have watched it over and over, imitating the Minnesota accent and wondering what it would be like to be on the set of a movie with the power house trio of Kirsti Alley, Ellen Barkin and Allison Janey. It’s a total mockumentary that pokes fun at the ridiculousness of beauty pageants or, as some like to call them, scholarship programs.

Or so I thought…

In the movie, the least talented and probably the second least intelligent contestant wins not only because her mom rigs the competition, but because she seemingly embodies traditional American values (whatever that means) and tries to weave Christianity into everything, from her interview questions to her ill-conceived talent.

Ridiculous right? I thought so to until last night.

This weekend BF and I were invited to a state beauty pageant. A good friend was asked to be a judge and he asked us to come along. With dreams of hearing Adam West introduce the lovely contestants, witnessing a contestant interpret the song “Through The Eyes of Love” through sign language and maybe even hearing someone wish for world peace, BF and I sat down at our seats Friday night and waited for the lights to go down and the curtain to go up.

From the second the music started, we knew we had made the right decision to come. It seemed as though life was imitating art with the flowing silver backdrop and the contestants emerging from the back of the theater in sequins dresses and too much eye makeup, clapping and singing along to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. As if they were admitting that being a beauty queen was in their DNA, they danced on stage, trying to make eye contact with each judge and emoting the confidence and poise that they’d seen on telecasts of pervious Miss America pageants.

And then the competition began. They girls were interviewed with questions like “Do you think playing too much Halo can lead to violent behavior in young people?” and “What are the values and convictions you think are important for a Miss Blah Blah Blah to embody?” Then there was physical fitness, evening wear, talent and the swimsuit portion (yes, they had a swimsuit competition). As the contestants paraded around, BF and I selected our favorites, those that seemed to fit the bill and to also have a little something extra that could make them stick out on a national stage.

Imagine our surprise when none of our picks made the top ten. I sat there in my seat, clapping for the finalists, but secretly thinking ‘which of the judges did they sleep with to make it this far?’(Which would have been a hard feat, as the judges were all gay guys and over the hill beauty queens).

So, we recalibrated and, from the ten, picked our top five.

Same scenario; none of our picks made the cut to the top five.

It wasn’t until the winner gave her speech did we realize why our predictions did not come true.

After she was crowned, sasheyed and had made her first walk as the state representative to the Miss America pageant, she stood in front of the crowd, waving and fighting back fake tears.

“None of this would be possible,” she said with a slight lisp, “without the love and support my heavenly Father, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” BF and I looked at each other, rolled our eyes, stopped clapping and sat down in silent protest for what we knew was coming up.

For five minutes we were forced to listen to the dogmatic diatribe of the zealot beauty queen moron. We pained through her testimony of how the Holy Spirit came to her and said to persevere during those times that the pageant circuit seemed too much to handle. I almost threw up in my mouth when she quoted not two, but three bible passages. And BF had to keep me in my seat when I wanted to leave after she promised to use her platform as a tool to rid the state of what she termed “radical ideals and morals”. I could only assume that she meant homosexuals and a women’s right to choose.

I stormed out of the venue as soon as I could, fumed all night and was even silent in the car ride home, incredulous that in today’s society a group of intelligent people could nominate a religious renegade to represent the state in which I live instead of selecting one of the well-rounded, articulate, talented young women I thought would best represented the region.

Then it hit me…it was Drop Dead Gorgeous all over. It’s not about talent, intelligence, poise or even body type. It’s about the person that’s going to appeal to the least common denominator: religious kooks and the uninformed. So, next year, if I’m lucky enough to attend the state Miss America beauty pageant (cause it’s certainly not a scholarship program in my opinion), I’m going to ask myself ‘Who would Sarah Palin want to win?’ and I’m going to put my money on her.

My advice to beauty queens:

Take another tip from Drop Dead Gorgeous: at your next competition, find the most pious, self-righteous religious moron in the pageant and sabotage her evening wear gown or rig the stage to have a stage light fall on her head during her talent. If you do, you’ll not only rid the world of a future tele-evangelist, you’ll also increase your chance of winning that much more.

My advice to everyone else:

If you haven’t seen it, rent Drop Dead Gorgeous (unfortunately, it’s not on Netflix) and get yourself invited to a beauty pageant. They’re a hoot!

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