“Ability is the art of getting credit for all the home runs somebody else hits”
“Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers”
Alfred Lord Tennyson
Franklin D. Roosevelt
James Russell Lowell
–Tass, the Soviet press agency, on pageant moms
“For Colombians, the beauty pageants replace the violence we live with every day. Especially Miss Columbia is a sacred event; no one dares to criticize.”
–Adriana La Rotta, Columbian TV reporter, quoted in the Miami Herald
In 1958, two finalists flabbergasted Bert Parks by tattling on live television that they’d discovered backstage that they shared a common bond-a two-timing military cadet boyfriend. Miss Iowa pronounced judgment on the philandering cadet: “I think he has two very lovely ex-girlfriends.” “She said it very well,” seconded Miss California.
Upon being crowned “Little Miss Cherub,” a three-year-old girl waved an envelope containing her scholarship at her mother watching from the audience and yelled, “Mommy, I got mail!”
– Press of Atlantic City.
Columnist David J. Spatz on the press’ view in the swimsuit competition: “You get to see too much watching the show in the hall, especially from a runway seat where it’s difficult to ignore epidermal imperfections like tiny pockets of cellulite, fading stretch marks and dimples. But television cameras have a habit of filtering out unsightly blemishes; every woman looks perfect.”
—Press of Atlantic City
“Isn’t it a little ironic here? We pick politicians by how they look on TV and Miss America on where she stands on the issues. Isn’t that a little backwards?”
Twelve Miss USA contestants were dining at a New York City restaurant to promote the upcoming pageant when they were asked to pose for photos. One of the chaperones, a fiftyish grandmother, joined them in the picture. “That,” quipped an onlooking diner, “must be Miss New York.”
–New York Times
By the end of the 1930s a disgruntled talent scout at the Miss America Pageant complained to Holiday magazine, “I’m telling you, culture and respectability have ruined the Miss America Pageant!”
Carole Gist, Miss USA 1990, on being the first black woman ever to win the Miss USA title: “Nelson Mandela had been freed and I had a feeling in my heart from God that a black would win.”
—To Cindy Adams
“Hey, I can’t be Miss America!” —Patricia Gorrasi, mother of five, upon being crowned Miss Garlic at Kentucky’s Garlic Fest II.
“At that moment, it’s kind of like dying. You’re ALONE. There’s nobody that can do it for you.”
–Terry Meeuwsen, Miss America 1973, on winning
Tom Snyder once asked Albert Marks, then boss of the Miss America pageant, if he had a favorite winner. “No,” he answered, “to me they all look like a plate of yesterday’s mashed potatoes.” Ooops. Wrong analogy. Later, at a gathering of former titleholders, one winner called him to the podium for an “award” and smashed him in the face with a plate of cold mashed potatoes. “The sameness was what I meant,” he lamely tried to clarify.
–The Miss America Cookbook