Small Talk

Mrs. Hawaii America 2010

July 27th, 2010

For someone who's long intersected with the pageant world, I have never been involved in it. I got my first chance this month, when asked to judge a pageant.

Most of my association is with the queens. Many intern in newsrooms, and some go on to work in them. We cover pageants on TV, so queens make morning show guest appearances, or reporters go out to cover a big pageant. I covered the Miss Universe when it was in the Hawaii Convention Center.

Miss Universe badge

KHNL News8 televised the Miss Hawaii America pageant for years, and my co-anchor Howard Dashefsky was always the emcee. I then, for years and years, would be the one to report the pageant recap the next day. I was very aware of who was Miss Hawaii for that reason.

2010 contestants and judges

2010 contestants and judges

Oddly, while in news, I was never asked to judge a pageant. Not that I minded. It never crossed my mind. It only occurred to me when I was asked to judge Mrs. Hawaii this year. Now that I think about it, the only pageant I've ever really wanted to judge or attend was Miss Universal ShowQueen, but I never went because the hours conflicted with my work.

There were five judges this year, and five contestants. I'm told there are usually double, but the economy affected turnout. We had two nights: the preliminary, and the final.

During the preliminary, we only did the interview phase. Each judge met with each contestant individually, for a five minute interview. We read their bio and then asked them questions based on that.

I'm not supposed to reveal too much about the judging process, but I think it's OK to say that I myself was surprisingly nervous when the event started. Why? I think I was picking up the vibe from all the contestants, and then I got nervous for them.

3 Ms. Hawaii contestants on left; 5 Mrs. Hawaii contestants on right

3 Ms. Hawaii contestants on left; 5 Mrs. Hawaii contestants on right

I think everyone did very well under pressure, though it does become clear within seconds who is comfortable with and/or experienced at this form of public speaking/formal interviewing, and who isn't. It's probably like the way news directors can pop in a resume tape and tell within ten seconds which reporter candidate has "it" and who doesn't. This phase was pretty fast; just an hour.

On the second night, for the finals, the organizers put on a show. This night was not an hour. It was about four hours (prep + the event itself). It was pretty much as you envision any pageant: music, singing, dancing, and the swimsuit/ ballgown phases.

Judges with 2010 Mrs. Hawaii America Alicia Jones

Judges with 2010 Mrs. Hawaii America Alicia Jones

My friend Cindy insisted I should run in next year's pageant. As flattering as that is, I'm just not sure I'm cut out for the stage stuff; specifically, feeling comfortable walking in heels and a swim suit down a catwalk. I totally give those ladies props!

Though, it's a tempting idea, because I looooove the sparkly crown. I'm like a bird. I like shiny stuff.

I modeled in a wedding dress show once and I tripped on the stage (at the seam where the stage is pieced together) and that was totally embarrassing. I can't imagine if I was getting judged on that, on top of being looked at by hundreds of people. Gack!

To that end, congratulations to all the contestants who put so much time and energy into training for the event. I tip my hat to you ladies!

My experience as a judge gave me greater appreciation for the poise and grace these women need to have. They have to speak well, look good, walk elegantly (in heels!!), and project confidence and charisma. A lot of people don't realize how hard it is to own ALL those skills; it's probably because the ones that make it to the stage make it look easy.

And big congratulations to Alicia Jones, who won this year's contest. She'll represent Hawaii well in the Mrs. Hawaii America contest this summer in Tuscon, Arizona. It's August 31st through September 7th.

I enjoyed meeting the other judges, too. It's a nice way to get to know people I otherwise wouldn't have met. And it was a very interesting look into the world of beauty pageants!

What's your experience with pageants? Have you run? Has your friend or family run? What do you think of it?


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8 Responses to “Mrs. Hawaii America 2010”

  1. Sam Urai:

    Run.............Make Olivia proud!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. RedZone:

    I agree. Run................

  3. theDman:

    Miss Universal ShowQueen?????

  4. Ken Conklin:

    I came in 3rd in the beard contest at the Dahlonega Gold Rush days held in Dahlonega Georgia in 1971 when I was a professor at Emory University. Hoo -- you should have seen the mountain man who came in first, with a beard down past his waist, long hair, and suspenders like Larry King.

  5. Alicia Jones:

    Diane, thank you so much for sharing. It really does make me feel better knowing that judges are just as nervous as contestants are. I often wondered if this were true. Now that you have experienced the judging side of competition, you should definitely try the other side! Being a contestant is very fulfilling especially when setting goals that may seem so out of reach.
    Again, thank you for helping to make this a wonderful experience for me!

  6. Diane Ako:

    Dear Alicia, How lovely to hear from you! Congratulations again. I enjoyed meeting you and I'm sure our paths will cross again 🙂 Good luck in Arizona. Warmly, Diane

  7. Diane Ako:

    Ken Conklin- What did you choose for your formal wear? 🙂 LOL

    Dman, Yes, Miss Universal ShowQueen. Those ladies are so fabulous!

  8. Diane Ako:

    A post script: Yes, there was a Ms. Hawaii pageant that night with a total of 3 candidates. Treena Piper bested the other 2 contestants to take that title. The reason I did not mention it in my blog was that I had NOTHING to do with it.

    The Mrs. and the Ms. judges sat at separate tables, didn't formally meet each other (unless we happened to mingle in the small "backstage" area), and didn't meet each other's contestants. In other words, the MRS judges did not meet the MS contestants. The first time I saw the MS women was on final night. I still never met them after the crowning.

    All the nice things I said about the MRS contestants apply to women running in any other pageant, and the congratulations I offered to Alicia apply to any other pageant winner. It's wonderful for Ms. Piper to have won her crown. I hope it's a wonderful experience for her.

    I suspect the reason the MS and MRS contests are held on the same night in the same room on the same stage has to do with economics, and that the same person owns/runs both "systems." If you're booking the room, might as well have it all at once, right?

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