June 19, 2014

Miss America vs. Miss USA

Oh my, readers! You are in for a treat today! I am so giddy to have my dear, pageant friend Ashley guest post about the differences between Miss America and Miss USA! I simply love this girl! She is such a fun, fashionista, dog lover, runner, and forever "sparkler" in my eyes! She is one of the lovely ladies that supported me in my quest to run a marathon! She has the cutest fur babies, hubby that adores her, and mother that I would not mind claiming as my own.
With the greatest pleasure, joy and excitement; please take it away Ashley.... 
Hello! I’m Ashley and I write over at If You Give A Girl A Ring. I wanted to first say thanks so much to Michelyn for inviting me to write today. The two of us met years ago competing in the Miss Wisconsin pageant and you won’t meet anyone as genuine and as nice as her! Now that we’re both married and living our happily ever after’s, it’s fun to stay in touch via our blogs and social media since we have a shared love of running and our dogs.

I wanted to share some information on 2 of the major pageant systems out there, Miss America and Miss USA. To the common person, they’re the same thing and no one knows the difference. However, both have some similarities but also differences as well. Both Michelyn and I have competed in each of these pageant systems. As pageant girls, the way we explain the difference between the two is " Miss America is the girl who lives next door and Miss USA is the girl you wished lived next door.”

The Miss America pageant is a scholarship program. In order to compete at the national pageant, which is televised on ABC in September, a contestant has to compete in a local preliminary pageant where she win’s a city or regional title. From there, she goes on to the weeklong state pageant and the state winner advances to the Miss America pageant. This system started out as a marketing plan by the city of Atlantic City as a way to keep tourist around after Labor Day and since then has evolved into a way for young women in college to earn scholarship money for college. Each time you win, you earn money to use towards your education.

There are a number of different areas of competition for this pageant including swimsuit, evening gown, onstage question and the two most important and heavily weighed areas are talent and interview. Each contestant has to have a 90 second talent that can be anything of their choosing. I’ve been around pageants for nearly 22 years and I’ve seen everything from dancing and singing to archery and art demonstrations. Contestants also compete in a 10-minute interview which is harder than any job interview I have ever had. You can be asked anything from politics to current events to questions about your state or your personality.

 One other thing to note about the Miss America pageant is that each contestant has to have a platform on which they speak about. This is an issue close to their heart that they want to create awareness on. Bullying, healthy body image, texting and driving, there are endless possibilities to what a contestant wants to promote during her year of service. Along with a contestant’s personal platform, they also promote the national platform of Children’s Miracle Network. Miss America titleholders help create awareness by raising money for the organization and also make appearances to local hospitals and volunteer their time to children in need.

 WHEW! Did you get all of that? That was just one pageant system. In short, the Miss America pageant is all about giving scholarship money to young women who are active in their community. See the connection of how she’s the girl next door?

Now, the Miss USA pageant on the other hand is a different ball game than Miss America. Some states have local pageants that advance to the state pageant, but in most states, girls pay an entry fee where they go to compete at the state pageant.

 At a state Miss USA pageant, each girl competes in three areas of competition; evening gown, swimsuit, and interview. As you can tell, there are less areas of competition when you compare it to the Miss America pageant. While Miss America puts an emphasis on talent, interview and earning scholarship money, the Miss USA pageant puts emphasis on the beauty portion. Having a toned body in swimsuit, a fun personality and exuding confidence and poise in evening gown are what Miss USA is all about, all while showing a little bit of sex appeal. Now do you see how Miss USA is the girl you wished lived next door?

 Having competed in both pageant systems, both are very different depending on what you hope to gain and win from a pageant. If you’ve got a smoking hot body and love getting glammed up, then Miss USA would be the pageant for you. If you’ve got a talent, and would love to earn some money for college, then give Miss America a shot.

In terms of preparation for both pageants, both are equally as hard to prepare for, but in different ways. Miss USA takes a lot of physical preparation of working out and eating right to make sure your body is swimsuit ready. Interview for Miss USA is more about your personality and doesn’t focus on questions about politics or current events in the interview. Miss America requires a lot of preparation in numerous different areas. You need to tone up for swimsuit, brush up on current events for interview, volunteer in your community to support your platform all while finding the time to practice your talent.

While both are very different experiences in competing, I’ve gained a lot of skills and life lessons through both that have helped shape me into who I am today. And, I know it’s a total pageant cliché but let me tell you that it’s true, I’ve met some of my best friends through competing in both pageant systems.