Miss America hopefuls are ready to strut

September 17, 1992|By Pam Belluck | Pam Belluck,Knight-Ridder News Service

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- It's that time of year again.

You know, when women say their hobbies are "laughing" or "mushroom hunting," or "trampoline space ball," and boast they were once featured on a postcard of Shipshewana, Ind.!

When common household remedies -- duct tape, Vaseline and tennis grip -- perform live on national television, augmenting cleavage, making lips slide back from pearly white teeth, and holding bouncing bottoms into body-basting bathing suits.

You guessed it, it's time for the "Miss America Pageant!"

The new Miss America will be crowned Saturday night. Here is a look at this year's lineup:

By now, you may know that Miss Mississippi, Kandace Williams, claims to be a second cousin of country singer Kenny Rogers, even though Mr. Rogers doesn't seem to have heard of her. She also says she's a descendant of Julius Caesar.

But did you know that Miss North Dakota has a "cousin who is a booking agent in Nashville for [pop singer] Amy Grant?" Did you know that Miss Wisconsin's brother Fred is a comedian who "just performed two benefit shows for the homeless with Jay Leno?" Did you know that Miss Maryland's "great uncle designed the Cadillac emblem in 1932?"

The pageant doesn't attempt to verify these claims.

Actually, this year's contestants (they all call themselves girls, but nobody else is supposed to) have some admirable and inspiring stories. And some of them say, frankly, the main reason they want to wear that rhinestone tiara is for the $35,000 scholarship that will help them get through college or graduate school. (Nobody mentioned the $200,000 in endorsements and appearance fees the reigning Miss America racks up during her year.)

Miss Michigan, 24-year-old Terri Sue Liford, a pageanteer since she was 19, was diagnosed with Hodgkins disease of the lymph nodes just a year ago. She was still getting radiation treatment for the cancer during the state competition in June, she said, but went into remission in July.

Miss Tennessee, Leah L. Hulan, a 24-year-old blue-eyed blond, is, her resume notes, a "U.S. Army Intelligence and Tactical Intelligence Electronic Warfare Officer." This means she has a top-secret clearance and works undercover in the anti-drug effort in Central America. She was in the Army during the Panama invasion and Desert Storm and she has received an "Army Overseas Ribbon for serving hazardous duty."

Miss South Carolina, 26-year-old Carrie Lee Davis, is finishing her medical internship and residency and one of her life goals is "to become the first doctor to be Miss America."

Miss Texas "lost 75 pounds on her own and has kept it off for over four years."

Miss California is majoring in aeronautical engineering and flies Cessnas for fun.

Miss Massachusetts is a "certified bungee-jumper" in New Zealand.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.