Current Miss Montana Won't Attend Next Competition Due To COVID-19

MO SHEA, MISS MONTANA 2019 (Credit: Mo Shea Facebook)
The Miss Montana Scholarship Organization's annual contest is set for Glendive at the end of July and it's the only state-level competition being held this year, according to the lead organizer. But it will proceed without the current titleholder, who resigned Saturday over concerns about the health risks associated with having the event.
The competition was originally scheduled for June, but pushed back because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has sickened more than 1,600 statewide and killed 28It's now set for July 23-25 at the Dawson County High School auditorium. That county reported no active COVID-19 cases Saturday and has had eight overall, but contestants and attendees are coming from around the state to participate and will stay with host families in the community.
The director of the Dawson County Health Department said earlier this week that the county Board of Health approved plans submitted by the organization at its June 26 board meeting, and the organization posted to its Facebook page the following day that the in-person competition is a "go."
But Mo Shea, of Helena, who was crowned Miss Montana in 2019, said she will not attend the competition due to health concerns.
"In light of the current public health crisis in our state and around the country, and my current understanding of the plan to move forward with this year's competition, I feel I would be putting my own health and the health of those in my life at risk by attend this year's program," Shea said in an Instagram Post. "I have accepted a job offer working in health care and it would be wrong of me to put the health of the individuals who I serve in jeopardy. As someone with plans to enter the medical field, as an aspiring physician, and as a public health advocate since the age of fifteen, I strongly believe that taking part in this year's program, as much as I may want to, must come second to my ethical duty to my patients."
Shea graduated from Helena High School in 2015 and earned a degree in cellular and molecular neuroscience from the University of Montana, where she graduated magna cum laude. She plans to enroll in medical school in the fall of 2020 and specialize in dermatology, she said when she was crowned in 2019.
Jan Holden, the executive director of the Miss Montana Scholarship Organization, said earlier this week that the the organization chose to go ahead with its event because the ball was already rolling and the organization felt events could adapt to get health department approval.
“Things were in place. To be honest, we do this for the girls. This is a scholarship program. We do this for the girls and it was what they wanted and that’s why we decided we’ll move forward until we’re stopped and we haven’t been stopped,” Holden said. "We've scaled everything way back. We will do a lot of things differently, especially during the show. We've scaled everything back so it's pretty basic."
The organization is not holding its Princess Program or its Little Sisters programs, both for girls ages 6-9. That will cut the crowd down, Holden said, as those were big crowd draws.
Other events like those held in the community or the ice cream social won't happen this year. There’s normally a big silent auction in the lobby, with vendors, which will be moved to during intermission this year. And there won’t be any food for sale, only bottled water.
“They’re little concessions. Little things we had to cut down for the girls,” Holden said.
The auditorium where the competition is held seats a thousand people, but the plan is to tape off every other row, so people will only fill half of the auditorium. Even in the competition's biggest year, it did not draw more than 500 spectators, Holden said.
There will also be signs posted at the auditorium telling people to not enter if they’re not feeling well. Tickets will be refunded for anyone who decides not to attend because they feel ill, Holden said.
“Safety-wise we’re being as safe as we can,” Holden said. People can only enter the auditorium one way and traffic flow will be limited.
The organization is not requiring anyone, either contestants or spectators, to wear face coverings.
“There’s so much controversial data on masks that I personally would not require a person to wear a mask. There’s a lot of data that those masks are not safe, and there’s too much controversial data on that to me to require someone to do that,” Holden said.
The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended the use of cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus. A handful of local governments in Montana have required their use in situations where social distancing is not possible, and on Friday the Montana Hospital Association joined other groups like the state Chamber of Commerce, in encouraging their use. However, masks have become a politically divisive issue.
There are 10 Miss Montana Outstanding Teen contestants and 13 Miss Montana candidates this year, Holden said. The preliminary part of the competition is Thursday. Friday is more preliminaries and the Miss Montana Teen is crowned, and then Miss Montana is crowned Saturday.
“As far as the contest goes, we’re doing what we’ve always done,” Holden said. “There will be extra safety precautions with the girls. Every morning we’ll have a short visit, take their temperature and talk to them if they’re feeling sick. Maybe they will have a test, but we’ll ask for a doctor’s advice if they’re not feeling well and we won’t let them participate that day.”
The organization made sure host homes were aware of the coronavirus situation, Holden said. “Every one of them said ‘We’re fine.'"
Initially, Holden said she and as many of the competitors as possible attended a Zoom meeting with the Dawson County Health Board.
“That was the first question (the board was) asking (the competitors), if anybody had concerns, if anybody didn’t want to do this,” Holden said. “They all said they didn’t.”
Any event that will have more than 50 people attend needs to submit an event request to the county board of health, said Timber Dempewolf, the director of the county health department. The plan tells the board how the event will comply with distancing measures and other safety precautions.
Source: The Independent Record, www.helenair.com, July 11, 2020


Lupita Jones Denounces Mexican Government's Proposal To Ban Pageants In Mexico

Lupita Jones broke the silence after announcing that beauty pageants could be banned in Mexico, since the Chamber of Deputies' Committee on Gender Equality considers that they are a type of symbolic violence against women and cannot be considered entertainment.

Through her Instagram account, the former Miss Universe posted a video to express her annoyance at this possible measure and without regard expressed (translated into English):

I am MarĂ­a Guadalupe Jones Garay, National Director of Mexicana Universal and Miss Universe 1991, the first Mexican woman to win for our country on that platform of great impact worldwide. 
Since then, my life has been dedicated to generating spaces and maintaining a platform that provides Mexican women with the necessary tools that allow them to confidently, confidently and courageously face any challenge that comes their way in life, not just a contest. of beauty.
I have witnessed and actively promoted a transformation in these platforms in our country. I have always said that platforms like Miss Universe have represented the woman of every era. Over the course of 68 years, it has evolved not once, not twice, many times more to adapt to what the same woman has been demanding throughout history.
Trying to typify these platforms as Symbolic Violence seems to me completely wrong and without any support. How can training, training, training and strengthening women be considered violence against women, both internally and externally? Teach her to cultivate her self-esteem, self-confidence and security. Provide you with professional opportunities so that you can stand out in what you are passionate about. Where is the violence?
I think deputy Frida Alejandra Esparza, that it is not possible to legislate from ignorance and personal prejudice.

Then Jones praised the good things that this type of competition has for Mexican women. “I have been a witness and an active promoter of a transformation in these platforms in our country. I have always said that platforms like Miss Universe have represented the woman of every era. Over the course of 68 years, it has evolved not once, not twice, many times more to adapt to what the same woman has been demanding throughout history. Trying to typify these platforms as Symbolic Violence seems to me completely wrong and without any support. How can training, training, training and strengthening women be considered violence against women, both internally and externally? Teach her to cultivate her self-esteem, self-confidence and security. Provide you with professional opportunities so that you can stand out in what you are passionate about. Where is the violence? " Finally, Lupita reproached and condemned this measure, ensuring that more than harming women, what these kinds of skills do is empower them. "I think that deputy Frida Alejandra Esparza, that it is not possible to legislate out of ignorance and personal prejudice. #TheCourtsEmpower ." (Translated in English from the Spanish-language site El Imparcial, 7/9/2020)


Miss South Africa Organisation May Sue City Press for 'Pure Body Shaming' Article


In an unprecedented move the Miss South Africa Organisation on Sunday released a statement in which it strongly condemned an article published in a Sunday newspaper. 

According to the organisation it’s "appalled with the article that appeared in City Press" on Sunday, 14 June titled "Is She or Not?" in which the publication speculates whether reigning Miss South Africa, Sasha-Lee Olivier is pregnant or not.

The source of the speculation is based on a photo of the South African beauty that was published on Instagram showing Sasha-Lee sitting at a bar in a mustard-yellow dress. 

According to the Miss South Africa Organisation a City Press journalist contacted them on Saturday asking for comment on the "rumours" which they categorically denied. 

"The Miss South Africa Organisation replied, stating categorically that Sasha-Lee is not pregnant. It was left at that. We did not condone entering into any salacious debate about Sasha-Lee’s body given the degrading and discriminatory intentions of this article," the organisation said in a statement. 

City press wrote: "If it’s true that there is a bun in the oven, it would be the first big scandal to hit South Africa’s most popular pageant. She would have gone against the pageant rules, which are quite clear that you cannot be pregnant when you enter – or even after – you are crowned."
The publication also published comments from "former Miss SA coordinator Thobile Sithole" echoing the statement that it would go "against international standard rules".

According to the Miss South Africa organisation it has "no knowledge of any such person and can state that no-one of that name has worked on the pageant since 2013. To this end, the Miss South Africa Organisation is further appalled by the lack of vetting utilised when asking for official comment and representation from the organisation itself."


The organisation added: "In a week in which President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks out against Gender Based Violence, the Miss South Africa Organisation is horrified about the story and would like to put the following on record: Sasha-Lee Olivier is not pregnant. City Press was told this in no uncertain terms.

"The article is pure body shaming, implying that if Sasha-Lee is not pregnant then she is fat. Let us put it on the record that Sasha-Lee Olivier is a real person and is deeply hurt by what appeared.

"As part of the 2019 campaign, Sasha Lee stood as an advocate for fuller figure women and expanded on the organisation’s prior representations of beauty. We as an organisation stand strong with Sasha Lee with this understanding of beauty and do not take lightly to any form of body shaming and discrimination which is intended to disempower and humiliate her.

"The Miss South Africa Organisation will be taking legal advice and action."

Sasha-Lee personally responded to the article in a live broadcast on her Instagram on Sunday night. "I know I’m not pregnant. I know who I am. I am comfortable in my skin," she said.

Adding: "I’m speaking up not for myself but for every single person I represent on this platform. It’s not even about weight. It’s about every girl that hasn’t felt comfortable or like she does not fit in. You don’t have to fit in. Just be yourself. That’s all and that’s enough.

"I’m so disappointed in the fact that we’re supposed to be building each another up but we choose to break each other down. I hope this is a teachable moment for every single one of you. You have a responsibility to use your platform to build and lift each other up. Let’s focus on what’s important."

Channel24 reached out to City Press for comment. The publication declined to immediately respond to the statement from the Miss South Africa Organisation.

Source: News24.com, June 14, 2020


Ex-Miss Universe Malaysia Slammed For ControversialComments on 'Black People'

Samantha Katie James, who won the title in 2017, caused a furore by saying African-Americans "chose to be born as a coloured person in America".

The Miss Universe Malaysia Organization (MUMO) issued a statement late Monday (Jun 1) on Instagram to distance themselves from recent remarks made by former Miss Universe Malaysia winner Samantha Katie James.

MUMO said that James’ views were her own and not affiliated with the organisation. They added: “MUMO stands for a non-racial society and strongly condemns all acts of racism and prejudice anywhere in the world.”

The statement comes after James caused a furore online with her comments on the Black Lives Matter protests in the US, following the death of George Floyd.

James, who won the title in 2017, posted her thoughts on her Instagram Stories on Monday afternoon, reported the Malay Mail. She wrote: “I don’t live in America, it has nothing to do with me, but to me, it seems like the ‘whites’ won.”

“If you’re angry, you respond in rage and anguish and that means it has power over you. They have power over you,” she added. “Foolish humans.”

She later posted again on her Stories, saying: “To the black people, relax, take it as a challenge, makes you stronger. You chose to be born as a ‘coloured’ person in America for a reason. To learn a certain lesson. Accept it as it is, till now hunger and poverty still exists. It is what it is. It’s inevitable. Best you can do is remain calm, protect heart, don’t allow it to crumble. That’s your responsibility.”

Understandably, social media users were incensed with her remarks, with one user questioning her assertion that black people “chose” to be born so.

James posted her reply to the DM on her Stories, in which she explained: “Like our souls chose this life, this country, this race, this human form specifically for a reason. I always wondered why I was born in Malaysia as a white girl with a Chinese mum and Indian grandparents and a Brazilian dad. But I chose this all for a reason, as a soul.”

Many users are still calling her out for her comments, with one person saying, “Imagine telling black people to ‘just relax’ as if this isn't something they've been dealing with for YEARS. you should've just sat there and ate your food.”

Another user commented on James’ recent post: “No one CHOSE to be born a certain color. Black people have been protesting for YEARS and yet they still get racially profiled and killed because white privilege allows it. Perhaps don’t comment on things you don't have any clue of?"

Source: CNA Lifestyle, 6/2/2020


Afghanistan In Pageantry

Watch CB Director Rafa Delfin's latest vlog on the status of Afghanistan in pageantry. Click the banner to take you to the link.


Former Miss America Phyllis George Passes Away At 70

Phyllis George of Denton, Texas, the 21-year-old newly crowned Miss America, waves against backdrop of the beach and ocean at Atlantic City, N.J., Sept. 13, 1970. (Associated Press)

Phyllis George, the former Miss America who became a female sportscasting pioneer on CBS's “The NFL Today” and served as the first lady of Kentucky, has died. She was 70.

A family spokeswoman said George died Thursday at a Lexington, Kentucky, hospital after a long fight with a blood disorder. Her children, Lincoln Tyler George Brown and CNN White House correspondent Pamela Ashley Brown, released a joint statement, saying:
“For many, Mom was known by her incredible accomplishments as the pioneering female sportscaster, 50th Miss America and first lady. But this was all before we were born and never how we viewed Mom. To us, she was the most incredible mother we could ever ask for, and it is all of the defining qualities the public never saw, especially against the winds of adversity, that symbolize how extraordinary she is more than anything else. The beauty so many recognized on the outside was a mere fraction of her internal beauty, only to be outdone by an unwavering spirit that allowed her to persevere against all the odds.”
Miss America in 1971, George joined Brent Musburger and Irv Cross in 1975 on “The NFL Today.” Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder later was added to the cast.
“Phyllis George was special. Her smile lit up millions of homes for the NFL Today," Musburger tweeted. “Phyllis didn't receive nearly enough credit for opening the sports broadcasting door for the dozens of talented women who took her lead and soared.”
George spent three seasons on the live pregame show, returned in 1980 and left in 1983, winning plaudits for her warmth of her interviews with star athletes. She also covered horse racing, hosted the entertainment show “People” and co-anchored the “CBS Morning News.”
George was briefly married to Hollywood producer Robert Evans in the mid-1970s and to John Y. Brown Jr. from 1979-98. Brown owned Kentucky Fried Chicken and the NBA’s Boston Celtics and served as the governor of Kentucky.

“Phyllis was a great asset to Kentucky,” Brown told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “We had a great partnership. I think we enjoyed every single day.”
From Denton, Texas, George attended the University of North Texas for three years, then went to Texas Christian University after earning a scholarship as Miss Texas in 1970. In her 2002 memoir, George wrote that a male friend told her sportscasting wouldn’t work because it was a man’s job. George even acknowledged knowing nothing about the industry and having no experience nor another female mentor to follow.
None of it stopped her.
George was a friend of minister Norman Vincent Peale and a devout believer in his best-selling philosophy of positive thinking, George credits that approach for launching a defining career she didn’t expect — one that saw her range into an astonishing variety of ventures and roles, in media, the film industry, food and beauty products, and as the glamorous first lady of the bluegrass state.
At a Super Bowl pregame taping, Phyllis George is seen with, from left, former NFL players Paul Horning and Joe Namath, and "All in the Family" star Carroll O'Connor, in Beverly Hills, Calif., Jan. 21, 1980. (Associated Press)
“Saying yes to yourself opens up opportunities that can take you anywhere,” George wrote. “Having a mentor in your life who says yes to you is also key. Appreciate your mentors when you’re starting out. And later, always give credit to the people who were there with you at the beginning.”
She entered a highly competitive pageant and emerged as Miss America,” Pitino wrote. “She became the first national female sports broadcaster. She flourished in the limelight as First Lady in the state of Kentucky. She’s been successful in business. And she is a respected humanitarian. Each step along the way, she embraced the mission at hand.”
Source: Fox News, 5/16/2020


Miss America Postpones Annual Broadcast And Competition To 2021

May 8, 2020
Miss America Postpones Annual Broadcast and Competitions to 2021 
NEW YORK, NY (May 8, 2020) –  The Miss America Organization announced Friday that the Miss America 2021 Competition, previously scheduled for December, is being delayed to next year due to the nation-wide impact of COVID-19. 
For the safety, health and welfare of the enormous community necessary to make the Miss America competition possible, including participants, volunteers, organizers, and fans, the Miss America Board of Directors has unanimously voted in favor of postponing the Miss America 2021 Competition and has advised the 51 qualifying competitions across the country to do so as well.
“As we all know, this moment in our history is one that will change the course of many programs, businesses, and institutions, and the Miss America Organization is not alone in navigating these challenges,” said Shantel Krebs, Board Chair. ”At this time, as an organization, our greatest concern is to make sure the thousands of people who are involved in or volunteer for our program are safe. This coming year will be our 100th anniversary for this iconic American institution, and we want to make sure that we take the time to ensure our annual broadcast and the surrounding experiences reflect our time-honored tradition.”
Miss America 2020 Camille Schrier was crowned live on NBC from Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut in December of 2019. An honors graduate of Virginia Tech with dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Biochemistry and Systems Biology, Schrier is now pursuing a Doctor of Pharmacy at Virginia Commonwealth University. 
As Miss America 2020, a large part of my message is that science really is all around us,” said Schrier. “It is imperative that science and safety are at the forefront of our concern during this pandemic year, and it is with that in mind that I applaud the Miss America Organization’s decision to move this year’s competition to 2021.”
As a participant in the Miss America Organization, Schrier has earned over $77,000 in scholarship assistance to further her education. Camille will continue to serve in her role as Miss America 2020 until she passes the torch to her successor in 2021. 
“While I am sad that I am unable to promote my social impact initiative, Mind Your Meds, at events in person, I am grateful for the innovative ways we are broadening the conversation around prescription drug safety at home, such as the four-part webinar series on opioid addiction with Advanced Recovery Systems that launched this week. I remain hopeful that it will be safe to share my message in person soon. In the meantime, I will continue promoting the mission of Miss America while creating lasting change with my social impact initiative.” 
The Miss America Organization is working with the state qualifying organizations to amend rules and eligibility for the 2020 and 2021 competition years. For updates on the Miss America 100th Anniversary, please visit MissAmerica.org. 
Source: Miss America Organization


Miss Philippines Earth 2020 Readies Virtual Presentation Due To Coronavirus


It’s all systems go for the Miss Philippines-Earth 2020 beauty pageant as it prepares for a virtual presentation tentatively on May 24.

With no cheering live fans and less spectacle, the environment-driven beauty contest will be aired on ABS-CBN and on the social media platform of the pageant.

“We are now preparing for a virtual presentation of MPE 2020 that will be aired on ABS CBN and in our social media account. Our tentative date is May 24, 2020,” said Lorraine Schuck, Executive Vice President, Carousel Productions, organizer of the annual pageant, during an exclusive interview on Sunday.
Reigning Miss Philippines Earth television host Janelle Lazo Tee will crown her successor at the end of the show. Other details of the pageant’s virtual presentation will be revealed in the coming days, she said.
Should MPE pushes its pageant plans next month, this would be the first time that a national beauty pageant would be presented on virtual reality.
Schuck admitted that the MPE preparations for this year have been greatly affected by the pandemic, considering that they have prepared early for the pageant. As early as December 2019, MPE already announced the staging of 2020 pageant. Later, organizers opened the screening of its official candidates.
“COVID19 prevented our preparations for below the line events and a pageantry, an elaborate presentation for the coronation night the normal way, but it did not stop Miss Earth from promoting its main cause — awareness on environmental issues,” she said.
Schuck also thanked the media for helping the MPE promote environmental causes.
The former beauty queen believed that it would still be very difficult to stage public shows until next year due to worldwide health crisis.
“I agree we cannot do pageants this year or maybe even next year because we may not be allowed to congregate until we all get the vaccine,” Schuck said.
The winner of the 20th MPE 2020 will represent the Philippines in the international edition of the competition.
Schuck, whose group also organizes the annual Miss Earth contest, said that they have not yet discussed plans for the Miss Earth contest, one of five prestigious pageants in the world.
She also said that the MPE is holding a series of Facebook forum featuring MPE winners and candidates on environmental issues and their uses to fight COVID-19.

Source: Manila Bulletin, April 27, 2020


CB Director Rafa Delfin: My Top 15 Favorites For Binibining Pilipinas 2020

Watch CB Director's latest vlog where he reveals his top 15 favorites for the Binibining Pilipinas 2020 competition. Click the banner to go the link.