An Inside Look at…Southern Pageant Culture

Hey Y’all,

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve made my last post. Thankfully due to lots of people using Google for SEC trash talk, my site stats have done pretty well from people stumbling here while this blog has been on auto-pilot. Y’all will have to forgive me. I have spent the last two weeks on some paid writing projects, both the editing and writing kind, and I interviewed for a job in North Carolina. So, now that I have had a few days to catch up, I got my cartoons done and I finally get to publish a post contributed by my friend and special guest.

My friend Cat, who’s also known as the Budget Blonde, got me into blogging a few months ago. She was nice enough to let me contribute a guest post on her site a few weeks ago. In return, I asked for her assistance in writing the post on Southern Pageants, which was the contest winner, during the poll I had to pick the next South Will Blog Again topic. My experience with pageants has been quite limited so I needed someone who’s been immersed (she’s been a pageant winner) in that culture to report on things that I could then in turn satirize and cartoon. And now here we are 😉

I look pretty good in a (cartoon) tux

As I said earlier, my experience with pageants has been rather limited. I did however have the good fortune to attend the Univeristy of Mississippi. Ole Miss has produced three Miss America winners, and countless Miss Mississippis. If you spend five minutes on campus and look around you can see why. In any event, when I was an undergrad, a Miss Mississippi from the year before lived in my apartment complex. It’s the kind of thing that you hear about and make a point of not forgetting. After hours of daydreaming about my first encounter one day I ran into her at the mailboxes….literally. I remembered she chuckled and smiled and said something charming in that wonderful accent, and 20 year old me, just stammered and said something stupid.

I’ve told this story a lot and can just hear my friend Cat reminding me that she’s heard me tell it about a million times. But since most of you are strangers  in cyberspace,  you get to hear all my “old” stories quite “new”. It’s one of the beauties of having a blog. Well, Cat and I are good friends from graduate school, and her husband and I are also good friends that share SEC war (football) stories despite his having attended LSU. They live overseas now, so this guest post, was sort of done “interview” style over Skype, Facebook, and email. I hope y’all enjoy!

-Southern Blogger

Some people have heard all these stories before

What is something about pageants that someone from the outside would never know?

“With recent shows like Toddlers & Tiaras, pageant girls are getting a bad rap. I loved competing in pageants for several years growing up. It actually requires quite rigorous preparation, from reading the news every morning to practicing interview questions and talent performances every day. Still, there have been some really funny moments I’ve experienced in pageants. I’ll never forget the first time I learned about butt spray. You have to have it. Otherwise, your bathing suit will ride up and your rear end is visible to hundreds of people. Ironically, football players use a similar product to make winning catches. See, pageants can be a lot like football :)”

Butt-Spray...what can't it do?

Do you have a funny story from your pageant days that you would like to share?

“One of my fondest memories was travelling to Washington, D.C. with several other pageant queens. All of us wore our crowns and sashes to the airport, representing our communities. Looking back, this scene must have been absolutely hilarious. We got to the security point and the first pageant queen just froze. All of us had about a hundred bobby pins and a bottle of hairspray in our hair keeping our crowns on. I think the first queen must have batted her eyelashes because all of us got to keep our crowns on as we walked through security, and sure enough, the metal detectors went off every time. Well all made it in one piece, crowns on our heads. I’m sure each of us had a raging headache after an entire plane ride to D.C. with crowns on, but a pageant girl never complains. My mom always said you have to suffer to be beautiful. :)”

Miss Crawfish Festival...standing up against TSA tyranny since 2007

Is there a lot of griping and backstabbing between the girls backstage?

“The vast majority of pageant girls and pageant moms were great fun to hang out with. We road tripped all over the state and I am still friends with many of them to this day. Of course there is always one, or in this case a mother/daughter combo that makes things difficult and isn’t very nice. Once, the girl offered to “loan me her brain” for an interview. But her mom takes the cake. The most bizarre thing her mom did was buy a convertible (for the use in Mardi Gras parades of course) and put signs on the car “Miss Teen So & So” to use every single day. So, when most of us rented a car for parades and put our magnetic signs on the car for just that, this girl rode around in a convertible all the time with stickers on the car of her title. Every day that convertible would pull into school and I just shook my head in amazement, hoping no one thought all pageant girls were that way!”

In every sub-culture, there's always a few nuts

I’ve noticed on Facebook that you treat pageants like your husband and I treat college football. What are your traditions?

Yeah, I like to watch Miss America on tv and text and call my mom, grandma, cousin, and pageant friends with comments. Last year I wasn’t too thrilled with my mom because she fell asleep on me, scratch that from the record. 😉 lol

This is some people's idea of the Super Bowl

Thanks Cat,

Unfortunately pageants do get a bad rap these days. While its doubtless that beauty is (and should) be part of the competition, the girls that compete and who are successful also show an inner beauty. If there is one thing I’ve noticed about Southern pageant girls; it’s that they grow up to be successful Southern women. And there’s nothing wrong with a lady that can run a family, manage a career, achieve an education, and still know how to put on the charm, with that “magnolia” in her voice. That’s what makes Southern women special…and why they should always win any contest hands down. Of course, I could be a bit biased…

-Southern Blogger



4 Comments on “An Inside Look at…Southern Pageant Culture”

  1. Cat Alford says:

    Thank you for having me Mark! This came out really funny!!! You have a real gift with the cartoons. I liked Julep jumping in the background of the Skype convo lol.

    • Thanks for the wonderful stories. Couldn’t have done it without them. And mind you this was the most popular post ever, and it beat the LSU/Alabama football post. That’s saying a lot. I hope your cartoon portrait turned out to your liking…it wasn’t “pageant you” 😉 but I think it an accurate rendering of you in MS Paint.

  2. Dr. Juris says:

    I once had to perform the Heimlich Maneuver on a fellow queen at a pageant luncheon. At a hospital. And she threw up all over the floor. The male nurse that got there after the fact gave me a knuckle bump.

    True story.

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