With beauty, brains and a little luck, Michele Lanette Martin could capture another crown and widen her domain.
Since she was crowned Miss Carroll County in January, the 23-year-old blonde has set her blue eyes on the Miss Maryland pageant in Hagerstown, Washington Countythis weekend.
Success there means a ticket to Atlantic City, N.J., and the MissAmerica competition in September.
The past five months have seen a change in appearance and a change in step: She has shed 18 pounds, and, at the suggestion of one local judge, put her dance en pointe.
"Talent is the key to winning Miss America," said Robin Mazzacane, one of the judges who voted for Martin at the local pageant. "Judges take ballet dancers more seriously."
Martin has concentrated much of her efforts on perfecting her dance, a lyrical ballet performed to"Sing Your Praise to the Lord."
Like the other 21 * title hopefuls, she has focused all her attention on becoming Miss Maryland 1991, honing her interview skills, building self-confidence and scouting the competition.
The 23-year-old Frederick County resident said she has put her job as a reporter and videographer for Prestige Cable TV of Carroll County on hold temporarily.
Life after competition includes a return to her job and a try at law school, said the graduate of Towson State University, Baltimore County.
No stranger to competition, this will be Martin's fifth try for the state crown, her second as Miss Carroll County.
"Competing has been a growing experiencefor me," she said. "The judges' constructive criticism has helped meimprove and build my self-confidence."
The state judges already are reviewing and rating the contestants' resumes said Rick Tedrick, executive director of the Miss Carroll County pageant.
The resumes include biographies and a "quality of life report," describing a contestant's cause. In this segment of the competition, Martin reported on her work with learning-disabled students.
"Dyslexia affects the way a person learns to read, write and communicate," said Martin, whoalso suffers from the condition. "We have to learn to compensate, develop different study skills through the use of computers."
Martinwon the $1,000 quality of life award at last year's state contest. Tedrick said she could repeat this year.
He also found her the perfect gown, a white silk full-length dress, beaded with rhinestones.
She also chose white for her dance and swimsuit costumes, which her sister Barbara, designed and sewed.
"Michele's chances are very good," said Tedrick. "Her looks and talent are outstanding, and she hasher interview skills nailed down. She has done all she can. It's up to the judges now."