Miss Michigan USA 2013 crowned

Port Huron — The young woman crowned Miss Michigan USA says she's "excited to represent the state of Michigan."

Jaclyn Schultz will compete in the Miss USA pageant in 2013. The Times Herald of Port Huron reports that Miss Wyandotte USA Schultz pumped her fist when learning she had won Saturday night's Miss Michigan USA pageant in Port Huron.

Miss Mason County Teen USA Ruby King was crowned Miss Michigan Teen USA.

Melissa Pitchford is executive director for Miss Michigan USA and Miss Michigan Teen USA. She says 70 women competed for Miss Michigan USA and 40 girls competed for Miss Michigan Teen USA.
Contestants competed in swimsuit and evening gown competitions and answered questions on stage.

SOURCE: The Detroit News, 9/30/2012

Left: Ruby King (Miss Michigan Teen USA 2013. Right: Jaclyn Schultz (Miss Michigan USA 2013)

Beauty pageant loser admits plot to shoot dead rival who won

A contestant in a Brazilian beauty pageant has allegedly confessed to plotting the murder of the rival who beat her in the competition.

The winner of the glamour competition in Cariacica, south-east Brazil, was to star in the music video of a well-known local band.

Dark-haired Alini Oliveira, 21, beat Adayane Matias, 20, to first place in the final round of the contest.

Dead: The winner of the glamour competition in Cariacica, south-east Brazil, Alini Oliveira (pictured), was to star in the music video of a well-known local band
Dead: The winner of the glamour competition in Cariacica, south-east Brazil, Alini Oliveira (pictured), was to star in the music video of a well-known local band

But she was shot dead in a hotel garden on September 21, just hours before the filming of the video was due to take place.

The gunman was allegedly Deivid Correa, who later turned out to be the boyfriend of Matias, the woman who came second in the competition.

Matias and her dance partner Juliermeson Baston, 20, later confessed to planning the murder, according to police chief Adroaldo Lopes.

He told Brazil’s Gazeta TV channel: 'They thought that Alini had robbed them of something that was rightfully theirs.

'Adayane became depressed and convinced her boyfriend to kill Alini to prove that he loved her.

Contestant: Adayane Matias, 20, (pictured) was beaten to first place in the final round of the competition by Oliveira
Contestant: Adayane Matias, 20, (pictured) was beaten to first place in the final round of the competition by Oliveira

'She believed that once she was out of the way she would be called up to replace her.’

Following the murder Baston is alleged to have sent a text message to Matias saying 'now you can have some ham with your breakfast' - 'ham' being Brazilian slang for 'dead body'.

'Adayane became depressed and convinced her boyfriend to kill Alini to prove that he loved her'
Adroaldo Lopes, police chief
In an interview with the Globo TV station, Baston said he and Matias, who danced together as a duo, believed that if she won a place on the music video it might lead to the break they always dreamed of.

Confessing to the murder, he said: 'It was a moment of desperation. We wanted recognition as dancers. Our attempts at making it big never came to anything. 

Partner: The gunman was allegedly Deivid Correa (pictured), who later turned out to be the boyfriend of Matias, the woman who came second in the competition
Partner: The gunman was allegedly Deivid Correa (pictured), who later turned out to be the boyfriend of Matias, the woman who came second in the competition

'So Adayane came to a consensus with her boyfriend. She told him she would be happy if he did this for her, so he did what he did.'

'It was a moment of desperation. We wanted recognition as dancers. Our attempts at making it big never came to anything'
Juliermeson Baston, dance partner of Adayane Matias
Mr Lopes said that Matias and Baston ordered the death of their rival after reading posts on Oliveira's Facebook page about the video shoot.

According to Mr Lopes, Correa implicated Matias and Baston in the crime after hearing that Matias had claimed their relationship was over.

He said: 'There were clear contradictions in the statements made by all three. 

'Involved': Matias and her dance partner Juliermeson Baston, 20, (pictured) later confessed to planning the murder, according to the police chief
'Involved': Matias and her dance partner Juliermeson Baston, 20, (pictured) later confessed to planning the murder, according to the police chief

'In a new statement, Correa told us that his girlfriend didn't only know about the murder, but also planned the crime with the help of her dance partner.'

'Correa told us that his girlfriend didn't only know about the murder, but also planned the crime with the help of her dance partner'
Adroaldo Lopes, police chief
The trio are alleged to have planned three attempts at killing the model, including opening fire on a bus she would have been travelling in to the video shoot, but Correa complained innocent people would also have died.

Before shooting her twice in the back from a motorbike in the hotel garden, Correa is believed to have tried to find Oliveira at her house and at the gym where she worked out.

Correa, Matias and Bastos have all been charged with first-degree murder.

SOURCE: The Daily Mail, UK, 9/30/2012


Miss Lebanon 2012 crowned. Twin sister places second.

Rina Chibany (left) waves to the audience after being crowned Miss Lebanon 2012. Her twin sister, Romy Chibani (right), was first runner-up. Photo by Wadih Shlink, Reuters.

Rina Chibani was crowned Miss Lebanon on Saturday, September 29, while her twin sister Romy was the first runner-up in an unusual ceremony.
Rina reserved her spot in Miss Universe pageant that will be held in Las Vegas in the U.S. On December 19.

The event, in which 16 women participated, was organized by LBC TV network and held at Platea theater in Jounieh.

Miss Lebanon 2011, Yara Khoury Mikhael handed over the crown to Rina.

Christelle Lotfi was second runner-up, Elsa Maria Stephan was third runner-up and Joanne Semaan was fourth runner-up.

The 16 participants competed to win the title as a jury composed of 9 members evaluated them.

Singer Wael Kfoury performed his hits during the ceremony.

Source: Naharnet.com, 9/28


Donald Trump’s beauty queens form a singing group

L-R: Wendy Fitzwilliam, Haley Seibert, Chelsea Cooley, Yi Na

Word on the street is that billionaire and beauty queen lover, THE Donald Trump, has given his stamp of approval on a girl group birthed out of  his many pageants!

The real estate tycoon, pageant mogul and reality television maverick has given his blessings to a Miss Universe, a Teen Queen, a Miss USA and a China Doll for the formation of the newest girl band, with literally the most beautiful women in the world – the  BQ Girls.

Short for the Beauty-Queen Girls, BQ Girls officially consists of Wendy Fitzwilliam (Miss Universe 1998), Chelsea Cooley (Miss USA 2005), Haley Seibert (1st RU Miss Teen USA 2012) and Yi Na (3rd RU Miss China Universe 2011).

What a beautiful blend of skin tones in a group, right?

Just to jog your memory, peep Wendy singing at the 1998 Miss Universe competition below (4:20 mark):

BQ Girls are expected to drop their 1st single “Runway” on iTunes next week. in the meantime you can follow them on Twitter @OfficialBQGirls for updates and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BQGirls

Donald sure knows money when he sees it! Now…..we wait for the single!

SOURCE: Jayblessed.com, 9/27/2012


2012 Miss Universe Pageant relocates to Las Vegas from Dominican Republic

The top five contestants of the Miss Universe Pageant: Miss Philippines 2010 Venus Raj, Miss Ukraine 2010 Anna Poslavska, Miss Jamaica 2010 Yendi Phillipps, Miss Australia 2010 Jesinta Campbell and Miss Mexico 2010 Jimena Navarrete at Mandalay Bay on Aug. 23, 2010.
It’s now official that the 2012 Miss Universe Pageant will be headquartered at Planet Hollywood beginning Dec. 11, and the NBC telecast is set for Dec. 19, confirming our story posted Wednesday. Less than one month will separate the Miss Universe Pageant and the rival Miss America Pageant airing Jan. 12 on ABC.
In fact, it’s such a narrow window that the Miss Universe contestants depart Dec. 20 and the Miss America hopefuls arrive Jan. 3 -- and this all happens in and around the annual PRCA National Finals Rodeo. Talk about chaos and congestion with bull riders vs. beauty queens.

Vegas DeLuxe has learned that the Miss Universe broadcast will air the night after the top-rated “The Voice” finals, so expect great cross-promotion opportunities. Miss Universe from Planet Hollywood’s theater PH Live will be holiday themed to show Christmas around the world. It’s the first time the pageant is being held in December.

When Dominican Republic government officials notified Miss Universe officials this week that they could no longer afford the agreed $6 million in site fees to promote tourism there while providing hotels, transportation, offices and support facilities, it meant dramatic phone calls to our Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority officials and Caesars Entertainment executives.

Thanks to the close working relationship as a result of the continuing Miss USA Pageants here, it took just two phone calls at the midnight hour to lock in a last-minute deal. Still to be announced will be the hosts and celebrity judges, but I’m hearing buzz that chef Gordon Ramsay might play a role since he’s about to open his second restaurant in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace and eventually a third at Planet Hollywood.

Gorgeous Audrey Hepburn look-alike Olivia Culpo, who won the 2012 Miss USA Pageant at Planet Hollywood on June 3, will represent the USA against 84 contestants from as far away as Poland, Russia, Singapore, Lebanon, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. Olivia, a 20-year-old cellist from Rhode Island, became the first titleholder from her state to capture Miss USA.

One of five kids, she competed on a whim winning the state title in a $20 “Rent the Runway” dress that was too short and torn in the back. She wowed the judges in Las Vegas, too, and won with her poised response to a tricky Twitter question regarding transgender contestants.

Vegas DeLuxe will have coverage of all the Miss Universe Pageant news in the weeks to come.

SOURCE: Las Vegas Sun, 9/27/2012


Facebook fights for deceased beauty queen's privacy

Mother of deceased beauty queen wants access to her daughter's Facebook account to prove the death was no suicide. A judge sides with Facebook, saying U.S. privacy law stands in the way.

Facebook has successfully fought a subpoena trying to seek access to the account of a beauty queen who died after falling from the 12th floor of her ex-lover's apartment, CNET has learned.
A federal judge in California yesterday rejected a attempt from representatives of the estate of Sahar Daftary to gain access to her Facebook account.
Her mother is hoping to show a Manchester, U.K., coroner's inquest that Daftary, a onetime Face of Asia beauty contest winner, did not commit suicide when falling from the apartment of property developer Rashid Jamil in 2008.
But U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal said that a federal law called the Stored Communications Act does not require Facebook to comply with such a subpoena in a civil case. Grewal wrote:
 The case law confirms that civil subpoenas may not compel production of records from providers like Facebook.... It would be odd, to put it mildly, to grant discovery related to foreign proceedings but not those taking place in the United States. Nor is the court persuaded that Applicants' consent on Sahar's behalf distinguishes these precedents so as to justify compelling production... consent may permit production by a provider, it may not require such a production. The Applicants subpoena must be quashed.
U.K. police had arrested Jamil on suspicion of murder, but released him without charges. The coroner's inquest was told that Jamil had raped Daftary, the BBC reported in July.
Anisa Daftary, the late model's mother, says that her daughter used Facebook regularly and suspects that the Facebook account contains critical evidence showing her state of mind in the days leading up to her death.
The judge did suggest an alternate approach for Anisa Daftary to take: demonstrating that she has the authority to consent on behalf of her daughter to release Facebook posts from November and December 2008.
"Nothing prevents Facebook from concluding on its own that applicants have standing to consent on Sahar's behalf and providing the requested materials voluntarily," Grewal wrote.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment. We'll update this article if we receive a response.
The Web site SaharDaftary.org has been created to ask anyone with any information about her death to come forward. It says: "If you have witnessed anything which may have a bearing on Sahar's death, however small or insignificant you think it may be, please... pass it to our investigators or solicitors."

Screen snapshot of a Web site, SaharDaftary.org, set up to solicit information about Daftary's death.
(Credit: SaharDaftary.org)

SOURCE: News.cnet.com, 9/21/2012


Miss Universe India 2012 crowned

An evening of fun, frolic and fashion took place as the City hosted one of the most-awaited events of the year — the I am She Miss Universe contest. The winner Urvashi Rautela will represent India at the 61st Miss Universe pageant to be held in December, this year.

The glamour quotient was at an all-time high at the Leonia Holistic Destination & Resorts, Hyderabad, as 20 beautiful girls from across the country contested for the coveted crown of I am She Miss Universe pageant and a panel of judges including actors Mugdha Godse, Harman Baweja, boxer Mary Kom, designer Neeta Lulla, photographer Santhosh Sivan, Dario group sales director from Istituto Maringoni and Richard Hyde from the British Council judged them. 
After some gruelling rounds including swimsuit wear, evening gown and interviews, Miss India Universe 2012 and the two runners-up were selected. Urvashi Rautela, 18, from Uttaranchal was declared the winner. Shilpa Singh was adjudged the first runners up and Arlette Garo, the second runner up at the contest.
There were many memorable moments during the pageant that kept the audience on the edge of their seats. Cheering throughout for their favourite participants and enjoying the cultural extravaganza, the home crowd was seen having a gala time.
The winner of the show Urvashi had to face a question from one of the judges Harman Baweja. Not having heard the question right, she did not hesitate to ask Harman to repeat the question three times. She still managed to be in control and impressed the judges and audience alike with her confidence.
Another such moment was when Hyderabad’s very own Aneesha Chowdhary who made it to the top 5 gave a quirky answer. She was asked what came first chicken or an egg? Her answer was that she had the egg before chicken and that she liked to believe that the egg came first.
The judges too had their share of fun. Harman like a true charmer entertained the audience by asking the boxing sensation Mary Kom to dance with him and she played along by teaching him some boxing-inspired steps.
With 20 beautiful contesta­nts and more glamorous judges, the founder of I am She, Sush­mita Sen in a blue sequ­inned gown still managed to steal the show from all the others.

SOURCE: Postnoon.com, 9/22/2012

Colombia prison holds annual beauty pageant

Prison inmates participate in an annual beauty contest held during the week of festivities to celebrate La Virgen de las Mercedes (Our Lady of Mercy) at El Buen Pastor prison in Bogota 
on Friday, September 21, 2012.

In their skimpy outfits and extravagant headdresses, you could be forgiven for thinking these ladies are getting ready for a local carnival or dance show.

But these images are actually of a fiercely-contested beauty pageant - with one big difference, all the contestants are prison inmates. 

Home to drug dealers, murderers and petty criminals, El Buen Pastor women's prison in Bogota, Colombia, is one of the last places you would expect to see inmates wearing long silk gowns and carefully applied make-up.

But the prison staff have introduced an annual beauty contest as part of a rehabilitation programme.
Some of the inmates were recruited into paramilitary organisations as young as 12 and have never known a normal life.

The prison has nine cellblocks, housing between 100 and 250 women each.
Each block elects one representative to be its candidate for overall beauty queen.

The candidates will spend weeks getting in shape and training for the big day with everyone on their block giving them a helping hand. 

The contest is held every September to honour the Virgin of Mercedes, patron saint of prisons.

Secretary of the Colombian jail and the pageant's co-ordinator Virginia Camacho said: 'The fact that they made a mistake in their lives doesn't mean they aren't allowed to be a human being or feel like a woman.'

And the winner is...:Prison inmate Emma Urdinola, second left, is crowned winner

SOURCE: The Daily Mail, UK, 9/22/2012



Miss Guyana Universe 2012 crowned

Ruqayyah Boyer has been crowned Miss Guyana Universe 2012 by Leila Lopes (Miss Universe 2011) who was a special guest at the Miss Universe Guyana 2012 beauty pageant which was held at the Princess Hotel on Saturday night, September 15th. Boyer will compete in Miss Universe 2012 to be held in December in a venue that is still to be announced.


Miss Supranational 2012 is from Belarus

Katsiaryna Buraya (center),  a 23-year-old TV presenter from Minsk, Belarus, was crowned Miss Supranational 2012 in Warsaw, Poland on September 14th. Her court includes (L-R): 4th runner-up Sulay Castillo (Ecuador), 2nd runner-up Michaela Dihlova (Czech Republic), 1st runner-up Nanthawan Wannachutha (Thailand), and 3rd runner-up Elaine Moll (Philippines). Over 50 contestants competed in this year's pageant. Completing the top 20 semi-finalists were the representatives from Panama, Denmark, South Africa, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Canada, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, England, France, Honduras, Iceland, Poland, Puerto Rico, Spain, and Suriname.


Miss Rhode Island USA & Miss Rhode Island Teen USA 2013 crowned


The new Miss Rhode Island USA 2013 is Brittany Stenovitch, 19. The new Miss Rhode Island Teen USA 2013 is Elaine Collado, 17. Both women were crowned on September 9th at the Rhode Island Center for the Performing Arts. Stenovitch was crowned by predecessor, Olivia Culpo, who is the current Miss USA.

Miss Rhode Island USA 2013 - Brittany Stenovitch
1st Runner-Up - Jessica Strohm
2nd Runner-Up - Julia Scaparotti
3rd Runner-Up - Iannuccillo
4th Runner-Up - Theresa Agonia

Miss Rhode Island Teen USA 2013 - Elaine Collado
1st Runner-Up - Christina Drumm
2nd Runner-Up - Ashton Penny
3rd Runner-Up - Meagan Corse
4th Runner-Up - Kayla Giarusso


Chinese beauty contest demands perfectly spaced nipples!


Do your nipples measure up ladies?

Ladies it’s time to take out your measuring tape and start measuring the distance between your nipples cause one Chinese beauty pageant is refusing to endow you as the hottest bixch in the provence unless of course your nipples are perfectly spaced.

gawker: A beauty contest seeking to discover the ten most beautiful college students in China’s Hubei Province has come under fire for requiring applicants to prove that their nipples are a specific distance apart from each other.

The space between the two protrusions shall be no greater than 20 centimeters, the organizers specify.

20 centimeters. Can someone please tell me how that number was ordained? But then again what do I know about what makes for perfect nipples?

The contest, launched by the website Campus Model, also has very exact requirements for the applicants’ bust, waist, and hips. “We want the winners to be extremely good-looking,” one of the organizers told the Global Times. “We have based our criteria both on the traditional Chinese and more modern Western aesthetic values.”

Western values. Aha, that explains everything. Of course part of me is wondering if Chinese college students get to eat enough food so they have enough cavity space between one side of their chest and the other? I’m betting half of the entrants are probably trolling the streets with size 12 centimeter nipple distance. I know trying to be a good looking Westerner is a prodigious experiment in good taste, but someone has to do it, why not let the Chinese try it?

But of course not everyone is happy with the beauty pageant (I’m ok as long as I win). Offered one commentator:

“Check out what the brain-dead college people spend all day doing, then you’ll know why China can’t produce a Harvard, Oxford!” And then this comment as well: “When we select the most handsome boy, we’ll measure his dick length and width.”

Strangely only a few women have agreed to subject themselves to a nipple test. A shame cause there’s so much money to win (sort of, $1600) and a lot of self respect to lose…

[photo via 365JIA.cn, diagram via Beijing Cream]  

SOURCE: http://scallywagandvagabond.com/, 9/7/2012


'We compete in talent too': Miss America slams Toddlers and Tiaras for sending message that pageants are only about beauty

Miss America wants the world to know there is more to her crown than popular beauty pageant shows like Toddlers and Tiaras.

Laura Kaeppeler, who was crowned Miss America in January, disagrees with the hit TLC show, and says it takes a lot more than dressing up and parading around a stage to win her title.

The 24-year-old from Wisconsin told E! News: 'There’s a misconception that pageants are beauty pageants. Miss America is a scholarship provider. We compete in talent and community service, so there’s a lot more to it.'

Miss America: Laura Kaeppeler, 24, says it takes a lot more than dressing up and parading around a stage to win her title
Miss America: Laura Kaeppeler, 24, says it takes a lot more than dressing up and parading around a stage to win her title

'I don’t think it’s the child who wants to do that necessarily. I think it may come from an outside source. I think if you’re going to do something like [competing in pageants], you should do it because you want to.'
She added that Miss America is 'more about being a well-rounded, young woman.'

Miss Kaeppeler is not the only Miss America to speak out about Toddlers and Tiaras and its spin-off Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

Vanessa Williams, who won the Miss America title in 1983 said she would never let her children compete in the pageants portrayed on the TLC show.

She explained to Anderson Cooper in May: 'I think [the mothers] don’t know what they are doing. But when the child is screaming and saying, "I don’t want to do this, I don’t feel like doing it," when they are using special juice to get them hyped...'

Miss America wants the world to know there is more to her crown than popular beauty pageant shows like Toddlers and Tiaras.
Crowning glory: Miss America says there is more to her crown than beauty pageant shows like Toddlers and Tiaras, starring the famous Honey Boo Boo
Hit show: Despite aversions to the Toddlers and Tiaras, it is one of the most watched programs on American television, and ratings continue to rise
Hit show: Despite aversions to Toddlers and Tiaras, it is one of the most watched programs on American television, and ratings continue to rise

Mr Cooper, the host of daytime talk show Anderson, quickly explained that 'special juice' is a mix of Mountain Dew and 7-Up.

'Yeah, that’s not my world,' Ms Williams said, 'and I would never have my kids do that.'
Despite aversions to the show, it is one of the most watched programs on American television, and ratings continue to rise.

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, TLC's spinoff starring Toddlers and Tiaras' Alana Thompson and her family, hit a series-high last week with almost three million viewers, topping cable news and broadcast network coverage of the Republican National Convention.

SOURCE: The Daily Mail, UK, 9/6/2012


Miss Texas USA 2013 crowned

Miss North Texas USA Alexandria Nugent was crowned Miss Texas USA 2013 Sunday in Houston.
She will represent her state at the Miss USA 2013 pageant. The date and location of the pageant will be announced at a later date, but the final night of competition will be broadcast live on the NBC television network. 

(L-R): Barbara Falcon, Jordan Schulz, Alexandra Nugent, Amber Calderon & Lauren Guzman

Nugent's court includes:
  • First Runner-up: Miss Plano USA Jordan Schultz
  • Second Runner-up: Miss Lake Austin USA Amber Calderon
  • Third Runner-up: Miss Southwest Texas USA Barbara Falcon
  • Fourth Runner-up: Miss North Laredo USA Lauren Guzman

New Miss Black USA ‘ready’ for the future

Contestants for the Miss Black 2012 USA pageant share smiles along with the winner Salena Watkins (third from right) at UDC. Photo by Freddie Allen.

WASHINGTON (NNPA) –Thirty young, Black women shimmering platinum and white evening gowns, silver, sapphires and dandelion yellows, rubies lit the Theater of Performing Arts at the University of the District of Columbia. They prayed through perfect pageant smiles thinking: “Please don’t call my name.”
 It was an exciting moment that each one of them had dreamed of over and over, but no one wanted to hear their name called. Not yet. Not until the very last name was called.

 The name of fourth runner-up, Miss Black Michigan, was called. Next, the third runner-up, Miss Black Minnesota. Then, the second runner-up, Miss Black North Carolina.

 “It’s getting warm up here, right?” chuckled pageant co-host Brian Christopher. A rambunctious audience member quickly corrected him. “No, it’s hot!”

 The hopes of Miss Black Oklahoma, the first runner-up, were dashed when her name was announced. Audience members applauded, wild with anticipation, some still waving signs bearing the name of their favorite contestant.

 The time had arrived when the remaining contestants finally wanted to hear their name. They would hear it now or not at all. It got even hotter in the room.

 “And the winner of Miss Black 2012 USA…Scholarship…Pageant…Competition…is…” Stacey McKenzie, fashion model and pageant co-host, stumbled over the hand-written card, which only added to the mounting suspense. Co-host Christopher beat out a drum roll on the podium… “Miss New York! Miss Black New York!”

 That would be Salena Watkins. At first, Watkins said, she didn’t even hear them call her state. Then, everyone started staring at her.

 “I knew this was the perfect opportunity for me,” said Watkins. “[Miss Black USA] is about celebrating women of color. I’m dark-skinned and I have curly hair and I can be myself and still be a Black queen.”
 In a sense, Watkins’ win was a victory for other women who look like her.

 And that was exactly what Karen Arrington had in mind when she created the contest 25 years ago.
 Arrington grew up during a period when “blonde hair and blue eyes” were still the accepted standards of beauty in America, ruling out gorgeous and graceful and Black women who didn’t fit that European mold.
 “They weren’t women that looked like me in magazines and there were very few images of Black women in mainstream media,” Arrington recalled. “Anytime you are a part of a subculture, it’s important for you to define your own standard of beauty and it’s important for you to celebrate who you are.”

Karen Arrington founded the Miss Black USA Pageant to celebrate the talent, beauty and intellect of young women who were often overlooked by mainstream pageants. Twenty-one contestants from across the nation competed in the first Miss Black USA Pageant on June 6, 1987 at the J.W. Marriott hotel ballroom in Washington, D.C., and that night, Miss Black Maryland Tamiko Gibson captured the crown. 

And Monday, April 13, 2012 was Salena Watkins’ night. Watkins cited the importance of parental involvement and teacher accountability to improve education during the question-and-answer segment, flexed her guns during the fitness portion, showcased her talent and electrified the audience with a fusion dance number to Nina Simone’s “See-line Woman,” and floored the judges in a white and gold strapless, mermaid-fit floor-length gown.

Dawn Moss, one of the judges from the pageant, said that she was looking for that “it factor” in each contestant and Watkins brought “it” each time she glided onto the stage. Moss held the Miss Black USA crown in 1996 and produced the pageant from 2007-2011. “That title and that crown are so powerful,” said Moss. “The sky is the limit. Whatever her dreams are she can make it happen.” Watkins has dreamed of dancing her entire life, following her big sister into a free community ballet class at age 4. In 2011, Watkins graduated from Rutgers with a bachelor’s in fine arts in dance and journalism.

According to Arrington, 80 percent of the contestants in the Miss Black USA Pageant this year were enrolled in professional or graduate schools, up from 60 percent last year. Miss Black Georgia is a practicing attorney. Miss Black Nevada is a physical therapist. “They see it as a vehicle by attaching themselves to this organization,” said Arrington “[The pageant] creates opportunities that wouldn’t be available to them before.”

 And year’s winner is ready to take advantage of opportunities that lie ahead. “I’m ready for the work,” Watkins said.” I know that it’s not going to be easy, but I’m ready.”

The Miss Black USA Pageant is partnering this year with The Heart Truth campaign to raise awareness about heart disease and how it affects Black women. The Heart Truth is a national awareness campaign for women about heart disease funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), a division of the National Institutes of Health.

Heart disease kills more women than any other disease in the United States, and it’s more common among Black women than White women. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 37 percent of Black women suffer with high blood pressure and 80 percent of African-American women are overweight. The organization also partnered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

 “We know that when our children are reported missing they’re treated differently by the media,” Arrington said. She plans to use the crown and sash of the Miss Black USA to shine a spotlight on the issue to increase awareness. Every day, 2,000 children are abducted. Forty-two percent are Black. “So we’re empowering our own communities to learn how to keep our children safe,” Arrington explained.

Empowering young Black women, by extension, empowers the Black community. “The pageant isn’t just a pageant it’s a movement,” said Watkins echoing the mantra of the Miss Black USA Pageant. “We’re not just being prepared for the night of the competition; we’re being prepared for a lifetime and to compete in a global society.”

That’s why Arrington wants to take the pageant international: to showcase the gems of the Black community on a global stage. In 2007, Arrington and Moss flew contestants to the The Gambia, West Africa for the only international-edition of the show giving the young women an opportunity to connect to their ancestral home. Arrington wants to host the pageant in another African country or in the Caribbean in 2013. Yet in the era that a Black family occupies the White House, Arrington remains steadfast in her desire to raise the profile of young, gifted in Black women on American screens and magazines.

“We have young African-American women in their 20s who are practicing attorneys who are practicing physicians who are holding master’s degree. How come I don’t see that in mainstream media? How come I don’t see them when I turn on the television? How come these beautiful, young Black women aren’t the images that I see when I open up magazines?”

Although those images may be absent, but that night they sparkled brilliantly and Arrington hopes that the display gave audience members a greater sense of pride in the community.

The pageant founder said that seeing a Black president and first lady in the White House gives her hope that the Black aesthetic will one day be embraced by mainstream society. Arrington hopes that the Black community continues to be inspired by the beauty, talent and intellect personified in the 2012 Miss Black USA crown holder Salena Watkins and the young women that represent their states this year. “Mainstream America was surprised when they saw Michelle Obama,” Arrington said. “She’s a smart and gorgeous Black woman and every year I have 30 to 50 Michelle Obamas.”

SOURCE: District Chronicles, Washington D.C., 9/3/2012


She hates pit bulls: Miss Universe Canada joins call for pit bull ban in British Columbia

Sahar Biniaz celebrates as she wins the Miss Universe Canada competition in Toronto, May 19, 2012. She has added her name to the fight for a pit bull ban in B.C., and plans to make the effort a major part of her reign. Photograph by: Mark Blinch , REUTERS

Miss Universe Canada has joined the fight for a pit bull ban in B.C., and plans to make the effort a major part of her reign.

Sahar Biniaz, 26, was crowned Miss Universe Canada on May 19, and thinks the provincial government should adopt either a pit bull ban or at least require that pit bulls must be leashed and muzzled at all times.

The Richmond resident was a victim of a pit bull attack herself at the age of 14, a year after her family adopted a five-month-old pit bull from a breeder.

The pit bull "came from a really nice environment," she said, but "then I ended up getting 16 stitches." Biniaz still bears the scars on her chest to this day.

"I was just sitting down and it just kept staring at me, and I don't know what aggravated it," she said. "It just all of sudden ... went off."

Biniaz said her parents ended up getting rid of the pit bull as opposed to putting it down, but every time she hears of a pit bull attack she remembers that day.

"This is something you hear all the time, over and over again," she said, noting that with her Miss Universe Canada title she now has "a voice ... to bring more awareness to this [issue]."

Biniaz said recent pit bull attacks — like the one on Emma-Leigh Cranford, 4, on Aug. 23 in White Rock — spurred her to act.

Cranford survived with 40 stitches across her jaw, but not before a two-hour surgery at B.C. Children's Hospital.

Biniaz said she has already spoken with White Rock Coun. Alan Campbell, who said he would bring up the possibility of a ban when council reconvenes Sept. 17.

SOURCE: The Vancouver Sun, 9/2/2012

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