Monday, January 14, 2013


Miss America presents itself as a "scholarship pageant," and the primary prizes for the winner and her runners-up are scholarships to the institution of her choice. The Miss America Scholarship program, along with its local and state affiliates, is the largest provider of scholarship money that is only given to young women in the United States and in the world. However, it's still a pageant and no different than the previous editions, this year's hopefuls competed in Personal Interview, Fitness and Lifestyle (Swimsuit), Talent, Onstage Question and of course my favorite; Evening Wear Competition.

This year's Top 12 sashayed in gowns of their own choice, reflecting their own style, poise and overall sophistication. It's interesting to note that there were not much sparklies here (I guess glittery dresses don't get that much scholarships?!). Well, sparkly or not, they all looked like queens in their own right.

Here's my personal insights on the top 12 and their respective evening wear presentations, some with suggestions on improving the overall look:

Washington – Mandy Schendel
Who says Miss America delegates are demure? Mandy came out confidently in a sexy black dress with a plunging neckline and accented by silver straps encircling the bodice. Her expertly curled blonde locks completed the look. What a great opening to the evening wear competition!

Maryland – Joanna Guy
She wore a white asymmetrical dress with swirly patterns traced with minimal beading. The sleeve was of sheer fabric with the same swirly patterns and beads. I wish she kept her hair off her shoulders (What's the use of leaving one shoulder bare if you'll only cover it with your hair?). Her best accessory in this look? Her smile.

Texas – DaNae Couch
She must really love pageants since she wore a distant cousin of Cynthia Lander's asymmetrical dress in Miss Universe 2002. While Cynthia went all-out on the peekaboo sex appeal by leaving one side of the dress barely hanging on skintone chiffon,Danae chose to put sheer sleeves with sparklies on that part of her gown. I'm missing that bare shoulder but still overall a successful look.

Alabama – Anna Laura Bryan
I like her idea of a scoopneck and minisleeves, I just don't get the rounded hem on the front slit which makes it prone to opening up and showing the wrong side of the fabric. The same dress, in a softer fabric of the same color and no rounded hems AND a more youthful hairstyle could've made this look better.

New York – Mallory Hagan
Mallory came out in a matte white, one shoulder column dress made of soft silk jersey which shows her curves. She looked polished and classy,like a Hollywood A-lister. It appears that everything worked on her: the dress, the updo and the accessories.

South Carolina – Ali Rogers
I like how this dress could appear demure with the high neck and cap sleeves yet sexy with the play of swirly cutouts on sheer material. Great decision to wear her hair down. Another successful look.

Indiana – MerrieBeth Cox
Hers was a two-toned sleeveless taffetta dress with a heavily beaded v-neck top that leads down to an aquamarine mermaid bottom with a train. The color was a great choice, however, the dress had fit issues and the part where the top met the mermaid skirt was bunching up. Very unflattering for a pretty lady like her.

Tennessee – Chandler Lawson
Her white sleeveless dress with a high slit was made more exciting by the turquoise beads and crystals on the edge of the low v-neck continuing to the back of the dress. Add a pair of small earrings and she's all set.

Oklahoma – Alicia Clifton
Alicia came out in a low-cut dress with crisscrossed ruching at the bodice and beautiful drapery on the hips with sexy side slit. A successful look, although I would've chosen a more youthful color for the dress.

Wyoming – Lexie Madden
Lexie came out in this sparkly black dress with a plunging neckline with sheer overlay, and a high side slit. She looked so pretty I could forego the little furballs dotting the top of her dress.

Illinois – Megan Ervin
The only adventurous woman in the group to choose a bright color, Megan wore a red strapless mermaid dress but I think she may have taken it too far with its insanely large and heavy bottom which was campy and unnecessary. Now where did the showroom mirrors go?

Iowa – Mariah Cary
Her all-black strapless gown is a play on textures. The bust part is velvet and the rest of it is satin. It is fitted at the top and then flared at the waist. She took the literal classic look by choosing the updo, showing her graceful neck. For a more youthful look, she may choose to let her hair down in a sea of curls on one side. The bottom part looks wrinkled for some reason. Maybe she sat on it at dress rehearsal. LOL.

Not to be outdone, host Brooke Burke was equally gorgeous as the delegates themselves. She wore a sleek venus-cut royal blue dress with a slim silver belt.

As expected, the ladies with most outstanding looks ended up holding hands in the final stage of the competition - New York and South Carolina. South Carolina was definitely prettier, but I guess New York's overall presentation appealed more to the judges.

Thank you for reading!I hope you had fun!

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