An archive of dumb quotes from Pageant Life

Following a sensational response to my recent rant on pageantry, Gusworld is proud to introduce a new feature: dumb quotes from Pageant Life. We kick off the section with the following sensational observation from Christie Lee Woods, Miss Teen USA 1996. Christie Lee (sounds like a Billy Joel song) was asked which topic she would discuss with President Clinton, given the choice. Her answer?

I would discuss with him having mandatory sex education classes, because if students decide to have sex, they should be practicing safe sex. However, in my opinion, abstinence is always the best way.

Nice to see she's in touch with reality.

It's not surprising (in fact, it's commendable) that pageant organisers cop a lot of stick for hosting contests which emphasise nothing except good looks. As a result, participants in pageants are constantly emphasising that the pageants are about much more than mere physical appearance and other accidents of genetics and social engineering. Most pageants (if you believe Pageant Life) also feature talent contests, interviews, and other activities to found individuals who are the true epitome of the American ideal. It just so happens that part of that ideal involves looking good in a swimsuit, but that's not the whole story, OK?

Unfortunately, someone forget to tell the happy organisers of the Sunburst USA Beauty Pageant, who have a slab of paid editorial in the current edition of Pageant Life. Their proud boasts about contest "integrity" form this week's dumb quote:

Sunburst is known everywhere as simply being a beauty pageant and facial beauty is continually stressed to the judges panel . . . Theresa [an ex-beauty queen who organises this particular farce] is constantly on the go looking for pretty faces throughout the US. Her Suburst Directors are an outstanding board who also stress facial beauty at all of their competitions.

Vomit bags are available at the usual outlets. Judging by the supplied photo, incidentally, if you want to win Teresa's pageant, make up like a drag queen and don't skimp on the lace.

Sometimes you don't need a quote. Sometimes the mere name of a pageant is enough to send you into paroxysms of laughter. And so it was with Pageant Life's Spring 1996 issue, which brought us the following immortal title:

America's Missy Miss Overall Living Doll Photogenic Queen

For the record, the current title-holder is Chelsie Adara. We're sure this title will make a neat addition to her resume in years to come, even if it does take up the whole of the second page.

Let's take a hypothetical situation. Despite having enough air in your head to want to enter a beauty pageant in the first place, you realise that not everyone in the world shares your view of such events. You decide to pen an article for Pageant Life's Summer 1996 issue entitled 'The Relevancy Of Pageants In the Nineties'. What arguments might you rustle to defend an archaic sexist ageist system? Wonder no longer! Just read the immortal words of Jerri L. Drula:

Pageants symbolize hope, opportunity, and the empowerment of women in our society.

We'll get back to you when we discover how this fits in with forcing them to wander around a stage in a swimsuit in front of an ogling group of older men.

It's a tough world out there. Young women, even the professional mashed potatoes who appear routinely in pageants, may be forced to curb their ambitions. We bring you this shocking news after flipping idly once more through the Summer 1996 issue of Pageant Life. Maria Little, a 33-year veteran of the Hemisphere pageant (people shaped like one need not apply), has the following words of wisdom to impart:

New starlets are born every day, and I am delighted that I can be their introduction to make their dreams become reality. The newest 5 year old starlets just signed this last year.

No doubt Ms Little is also delighted at the cheques from failed five year old starlets who have pursued the Hemisphere dream. We're a little disappointed that aiming for the stars is no longer appropriate; references to 'starlet-cross'd lovers' don't have the same appeal. And we wait with concern for a sudden onslaught of eight year old former starlets.

The pageant world, according to Pageant Life, is just one big happy family. That's certainly the case at the magazine. Check out the staff roster:


Ah yes, the family that produces tacky magazines together stays together. There's a special Gusworld prize for anyone who can come up with a translation of 'Bulk Mail Supervisor' that doesn't essentially mean 'person stuffing things in envelopes'.

If most four year olds own a car at all, it will either be a Matchbox miniature or one of these plastic ones you wheel with your feet, Flinstones-style. But not if you enter pageants a lot. Take the case of Erica Lane Clinard, as reported in Pageant Life's Summer 1996 issue:

This beautfiul 4 year old recently won her fourth car at the Sugar-N-Spice National Pageant. Erica was shaking with excitement as they called her name as the Supreme Car Winner!

Given that Erica is at least a dozen years off having a licence, this might seem one of the best-yet pieces of evidence that the main beneficiaries of exploting youngsters in pageants are the parents (what a lovely car, Mrs Clinard!). We'd think so too, if we hadn't perused a more recent issue and discovered that Mrs Clinard is, in fact, pregnant, which has curtailed Erica's pageant activities somewhat. Who knew pregancy could have such beneficial side effects?

Mocking overseas pageant contestants because they don't speak English is cheap, tacky and culturally insensitive. So why are we talking about it when we could be doing it? In a recent issue of Pageant Life, Raymond Young asked Maria Sinegerova, Miss Bulgaria 1996, how she prepared for the pageant. Her reply?

Vassil made me some pictures, and he think about my walking and how I was to speak with people and my improvement maybe. Everything in this pageant I feel is very important because people watch you and learn and watch from what you do.

We don't want to have to be the ones to disillusion Ms Sinegerova by pointing out that the only thing people are watching at Miss Universe is the swimsuit contest, but we will if we have to.

Some magazines, like Q, have great captions. Some, like Playboy, have rather boring captions. And some magazines are Pageant Life. A sample caption from a recent issue:

Amanda Bradley, American Universal Grand Supreme Queen, and Erica Clinard, Glamour Doll U.S.A. National Car Winner, having fun at the America's Most Beautiful Girls National Carnival in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Fun in this instance consists of wearing less than a ton of makeup and sending the tiara off to be replated.

One of the special delights in reading Pageant Life is the letters page. Few magazines are above printing the occasional letter of praise from a reader, but only Pageant Life appears to print every single request it gets for a subscription. Phrases like "I have enclosed a personal check" appear with monotonous regularity; and even letters from writers sending in spec articles are printed. One favourite recent letter comes from the Spring 1996 issue:

I often wished the pageants could provide a manual for what they expect, but we find that Pageant Life Magazine gives us so much information on what's in trend for clothing and hair and makeup. Your articles are so important to us, and we just absorb every detail. Amilyn has won photogenic and portfolio so many times mainly because your magazine has inspired my photography of her so much. We owe you a big Thank You and can hardly wait for the next issue.

Remember folks: Amilyn, the recipient of all this clothes and hair and makeup, is seven years old.

I've been awaiting the arrival of the latest volume of Pageant Life with more than usual anticipation. It hardly seemed likely that the wake of unfavourable publicity the pageant scene has received since the murder of JonBenet Ramsey would go uncommented. And indeed, it hasn't. The editorial sets the tone of righteous indignation which permeates the whole issue:

The media . . . have raped the pageant industry for ratings . . . If the media would allow the industry to receive the good press it deserves, depicting these lovely, intelligent and talented individuals, perhaps it would help to cut down on the growing violence amongst the youth in the world.

This comment is placed directly adjcent to a picture of three of the Pageant Life cover contest finals. All three are aged under 10 (two are aged under 5), and all three are wearing enough makeup to derail a goods train.

Remarks on how pageantry needs to be defended lace the entire issue, but we've only got time to look at two. An entire two-page feature, ponderously entitled 'Ethics 101: Don't Practise Beyond Your Realm Of Expertise', is devoted to media misportrayals of the world of pageants. Leaving aside the question of how a magazine which sells editorial space can lecture anyone else on ethics, what does it have to tell us?

A search of the psychological research literature will reveal that no studies exist which compare pageant children with other children . . . As women, we should not have to defend our choice to participate or to enter our children into any lawful activity that makes us feel good about ourselves, and that includes pageants.

Pageantry as a feminist issue is an interesting slant; stupid, but interesting. We wonder how good women (and men) driven to anorexia feel about the kind of image stereotyping perpetuated by the pageant system. There may even be the odd psychological study on it!

Most appalling of all, though, is a column written by Pageant Life's current cover model, heading rapidly over the hill at 5 years of age. 'Tere's Tiny Talk' launches into a spirited defence of the pageant system:

BUT PLEASE STOP . . . LISTEN TO ME! I get to make my own choice of whether to compete or not. My mommy doesn't force me. Yes, I'm only five years old, but I do have the ability to choose . . . I understand my options. I understand my choices. I know what I want and I can pick it . . . Yes, I excel in pageants, but also in school and other areas . . . I am in kingergarten and I am reading, writing and I'm definitely not afraid to raise my hand in class . . . We're not growing up too fast, rather we're having the time of our lives!

The editors of Pageant Life expect us to believe that this just-being-educated five-year old composed the 300-odd words of this column. They also expect us to believe that her accompanying column shot, asparkle with sequins and painted with lipstick, is natural and healthy. You be the judge.

This week, we're looking at dumb names for the dumb companies that make their money by selling dumb pageant contestants revolting dresses with too many sequins on them. Practically any advertiser in Pageant Life would qualify for this description, but for convenience's sake, we're looking at Crowning Angels, which bills itself as the 'Best Full Service Pageant Store'. Among the labels it supports:

  • Sensationals By Strawnberries
  • Fesity Le-Raye
  • D'Shawn
  • Sara Sara

But don't take our word for how revolting this all is; drop into the company's Web site at and see for yourself. There's more vile dresses, children in inappropriate clothing and tulle than you could shake a stick at.

This week, we're aiming for the short, sharp and stupid. This comes from a report on the 1997 USA National Scholarship Pageant:

The contestants this year, extremely intelligent, gave interviews of which the judges stated were, "Well above the average".

Obviously, grammar fades next to a flouncy frock.

Although it isn't invariably true, a picture truly can be worth a thousand words sometimes. For proof, check out this image from an advertisement in the most recent issue of Pageant Life:

It certainly left us speechless.

The bimbos who read Pageant Life aren't just into jewellery and excess makeup; they also work out! I know this because a recent article had the catchy headline 'Warning: The Zone Can Be Beneficial To Your Health', an almost comprehensible article about heart rates when exercising. But it was all spoilt by the following sentence:

You wouldn't spend $2,000 on the wrong dress, so why would you spend hours working out for the wrong results?

As anyone who has ever trawled through the pages of Pageant Life knows, lots of people appear to be spending lots of money on the wrong dress. We haven't time to do an exhaustive survey here, but we think that this dress alone proves the point:

We feel sure you'll agree.

The complex problems of living in a multiracial society haven't escaped the editorial team at Pageant Life, even if the realities of the world in general have managed to slip past them at the speed of a skunk. Here's an extract from a (paid) article on 12-year old aspiring beauty queen Tracy Chisman:

Traci realizes that these goals require hard work and dedication from any individual, but being multiracial she, realizes that it will require overcoming many obstacles on her way to success.

While Traci struggles with her obstacles, we hope the Pageant Life editorial team learn how to use the English language.

As we've pointed out before, sometimes the funniest bits in Pageant Life are the advertisements. That's certainly the case with this enigmatic piece placed by a company known only as 'The Allens':

The BEST just got BETTER!
New 15" SPIRAL scepter shafts on ALL Rhinestone Scepters!
Plus 18" REFRACTIVE shafts on ALL Economy Scepters!
From YOUR crown supplier . . . The ALLENS

Quite frankly, we're shocked. We thought that peageant participants were all-American girls who didn't know anything about shafting.

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