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Pageantry Then and Now

by Shauna Smith Duty


From Miss Your Hometown to Miss America, pageants have been a part of modern American history for generations. Rebecca Lowry coaches and supports her grandson, Steven, in pageantry. Steven has won numerous titles including Sunburst Pageants Little King 2004, Oktoberfest King 2003 and 2005, Kornfest King 2004 and 2005, and numerous other successes.

Rebecca has seen pageantry progress firsthand throughout her lifetime, and now she shares her insight with us in this exclusive interview.

RMBP: How have pageants changed over the past 30 years?

RL: I think that they are changing [to focus on] the more natural child rather than for a child that looks like a little woman. They are also becoming more about the joy that pageantry brings a child than the actual fight to the end.

I think that [focusing on] the natural child is a really good change. It takes a lot of pressure off the parents from people that don’t believe pageants are a good thing.

RMBP: How have the prizes, popularity, and prestige changed?

RL: They have gotten better than just a crown and a sash. Children are starting to receive things to establish their future, like savings bonds.

RMBP: What do you think about the Miss America Pageant no longer being televised?

RL: I think that it is horrible! I remember as a little girl watching the Miss America Pageant and wishing that one day I could have been one of those girls. It gives little girls hope for the future, that they can be smart and beautiful and be rewarded for it.

RMBP: How do you see your grandson benefiting from pageantry?

RL: Steven has become a stronger person. At 4 years old, he can stand up for what he believes in and talk to people that he doesn’t know with confidence. He is a very strong-willed child because of pageants.

RMBP: Have you noticed a change in pageant parents, past and present?

RL: I think that “pageant parents” are not as strong anymore. Parents are putting their kids in pageants for the fun of it, not for the win as much as they did in the past.

RMBP: How are judges different now?

RL: I think that they are looking more into the personality of children rather than just at the faces of the children.

Pageantry has received a bad rap over the past few years. The press, as a result of the tragic death of Jon-Benet Ramsey in 1996, publicized a negative face for pageantry, making contestants out to be forced into looking and acting like adults. Rebecca Lowry’s responses indicate that pageantry is not what the media wants the public to believe. Now, according to Rebecca, parents and judges are hosting pageants for the natural child, and looking to personality even more than beauty. As a parent, you know what makes children beautiful is not makeup and wardrobe.

It seems that now, pageantry understands this fundamental truth, too. And from then until now, pageantry has moved in a positive direction.



Thu, Apr 01, 2010 3:36pm

Those sows on tv that have 5 year olds parading around in bikinis are creepy and little girls shouldn't look up to miss america or other pageant winners because of off stage antics. I wouldn't want my daughter turning out like kari ann peniche.

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