Pageants offer scholarships, teach interview skills to women

Laura Lucas

Laura Lucas

This year’s Miss SDSU and Miss Brookings pageant will offer two more reasons for the girls participating.

“We now have four titles: Miss SDSU, Miss Brookings, Miss East Central and Miss Eastern Plains,” said Alexandra Hoffman, Miss SDSU/Miss South Dakota. “The new titles are for more people to represent this side of the state.”

This year, ten girls will compete for the four titles. In order to qualify, each girl must be between the ages of 17 and 24, unmarried, a resident of South Dakota and raise $100 for the Children’s Miracle Network.

Sophomore English education major and second-time pageant contestant Kimberly Graff said the pageant is not just about a pretty face or good looks.

“I did Miss S.D. USA, and they did not have a talent portion. It was all looks,” Graff said.

According to Hoffman, these pageants are about great scholarship opportunities, not looks.

Elly Gouin, Miss Brookings 2008, said the scholarships given out are some of the best in the state.

Each title has its own scholarship worth $1000. Hoffman said the Miss SDSU scholarship is through the university, while the other three are from money raised through community service and fundraising.

“One fundraiser we have this year is the Miss S.D. pheasant hunt,” said Hoffman.

Another benefit of doing the pageant, Gouin said, is networking.

“You meet a lot of people and community members. I had gathered 300 sponsors for the Children’s Miracle Network in Brookings alone,” she said.

Gouin also said the pageant has great entertainment opportunities. Because her talent is singing, Gouin has sung the national anthem at a lot of games, performed for the Children’s Miracle Network State-a-thon and been in the Hobo Day parade.

Besides talent, the pageant has four other portions the girls will be judged on. The five parts include, in order of importance: the interview, talent, evening gown, swimsuit and on-stage questions.

“The most important is how a girl presents herself during the interview,” Hoffman said.

The girls are interviewed prior to the pageant, Hoffman said. Each girl is interviewed twice with five judges.

“This helps the judges get to know the girl,” said Hoffman. “The judges are looking for the total package. They want someone who is intelligent, comfortable with herself and portrays her true self.”

The Miss SDSU and Miss Brookings judges include Katie Larson, Sally Isburg, Mitch Krebs, Dan Landes and Lee Schoenbeck. The Miss East Central and Miss Eastern Plains judges include Chris Daugaard, Daryl Isburg, Brooke Sydow, Kim McKay and Buffy Johnson.

To prepare for the judges, the contestants have been “getting into pageant mode.” Graff said she has been practicing her song, working out and tanning.

Rose Heeb, a senior consumer affairs major and Miss Brookings 2007, said she has been preparing for the pageant by working out, practicing her talent and doing mock interviews.

After the pageant is done, what the girls do with the title is up to them, said Hoffman.

“There are no requirements of the winners besides representing the community and being in the Hobo Day parade,” she said.

Anna Winter, a sophomore theatre major and second-year contender, said she would want to be a good representative of the Children’s Miracle Network.

“Since my platform is ‘Keeping fine arts in communities and public schools,’ I would want to go and talk with schools about how the arts are an important part of education,” said Graff. “I also want to teach students about self-respect and that they are worth something.”

First-time contender and freshman mass communication major Megan Pavlow said that if she won, she would expand her platform and be a good representative for the Miss SDSU/Miss America organization.

“My advice for these girls is ‘Be yourself’. You can do anything and gain a lot of experience, especially from the interview skills,” Gouin said.

The Miss SDSU and Miss Brookings pageant will be March 22 at 1:30 p.m. in Doner Auditiorium. The Miss East Central and Miss Eastern Plains will be at 5 p.m. in Doner Auditorium, as well.

Tickets cost $4 for adults and $3 for students.

“This is going to be a good show with a good mix of talents,” said Graff.

#1.881779:1843916083.jpg:Alex_Hoffman_Singin.1.jpg:Current Miss SDSU, Alexandra Hoffman, sings the National Anthem prior to the Feb. 12 men’s basketball game. :Ethan Swanson