Monday Column Reprise
Note from Dan: I’m off this week and next, so you’re being treated to oldie but goodie columns from the past. This column originally appeared June 26. The winner of the Miss Virginia pageant this year was Miss Roanoke Valley Rosemary Willis, who in 2011 competed as Miss Hampton Holly Days and in 2010 took the stage as Miss Chesapeake.
We have just started pageant week, which will culminate Saturday with the 59th crowning of Miss Virginia here in the Star City. It will be televised statewide.
One age-old controversy surrounding this institution is whether it’s a scholarship pageant of talent, brains and poise, as defenders argue, or a cheesy beauty contest that exploits women, which is what detractors say.
They’re both partly right, but each side completely overlooks another aspect. In a not-too-obvious way, the Miss Virginia Pageant embodies All-American values of hustle, ambition and perseverance. Because it takes a lot of each to land on the Roanoke Performing Arts Theatre stage.
Consider some recent history of the pageant and its scholarship queens.
We’ll start with Miss Virginia 2011, Elizabeth Crot. She’ll crown the 2012 Miss Virginia on Saturday night.
At last year’s pageant, Crot walked on stage as Miss Arlington. But that was not her first Miss Virginia pageant by a long shot.
In 2010, Crot was Miss Portsmouth Seawall. In 2009, she competed as Miss Southeastern Virginia. In the 2008 competition, she was Miss Hampton Roads.
She is by no means the first, or the last, contestant to have competed multiple times from different jurisdictions. The whole deal seems like a big game of musical tiaras.
Even Vinton’s Bootie Chewning, the pageant’s executive producer, acknowledges that it’s sometimes hard to keep the women’s familiar faces and their current titles straight.
Better hold onto your hats here because what follows is kind of head-spinning.
This year’s Miss Roanoke Valley, Rosemary Willis, was last year’s Miss Hampton Holly Days. In 2010, she wore the crown of Miss Chesapeake.
Courtney Meade is this year’s Miss Greater Hampton Roads. Last year, she was Miss Hill City.
Last year’s Miss Mountain Empire, Maggie Lawson, is this year’s Miss Hill City. “Hill City” refers to Lynchburg, of course. But Miss Lynchburg is a separate title, even though the two titles come from the same pageant. (It’s not the only local pageant with multiple crowns).
Miss Lynchburg this year is Amber Miller, and she was last year’s Miss Chesterfield. This year’s Miss Chesterfield, Delesia Watson, was last year’s Miss Alexandria. She was Miss Greater Springfield in 2010.
And the 2010 Miss Chesterfield, Victoria Maiden, is Miss Greater Richmond this year. Last year, she was Miss Hampton-Newport News. This year’s Miss Hampton-Newport News is Phyllicia Whittingham.
Are you confused yet? We’re not done.
READ THE REST OF THIS COLUMN HERE.