Contestants compete for crown
by JENNY MCCALLISTER
This article originally appeared in The Tiger on October 6, 2006 | PRINT

The hot rollers are on and the makeup is carefully applied as 35 women begin to get ready hours before the Miss Homecoming Pageant on Tuesday night. Excitement and nervousness spread throughout the room as the clock is ticking and 7p.m.draws near.

Not only are the rooms filled with hanging dresses, casual wear outfits and personal belongings as women get ready, but moms and friends also stand wherever there is room in order to provide moral support and cater to the girls' every need.

Jessica Mueller, a junior History major representing Delta Zeta in the pageant, picked her mom up at the airport Tuesday morning, who flew from Virginia so she could see her daughter in the event. "She picked me up at 10 a.m. and I bought her an outfit at 11 a.m. so she would have something to wear for tonight," Mueller's mom said.

Susan Gant, a makeup artist from Greenville, was also backstage because Ashley Morris, a senior Health Science major representing Zeta Tau Alpha, explained how she would have a hard time putting on heavy makeup herself for the pageant, so Susan did it for her.

Gant does makeup for many pageant contestants because she works beside the Gregory Ellenburg formal wear where many people come to buy dresses. When women prepare for a pageant, she said that it goes farther back than the night before the event. "A lot of girls are concerned with how they look on start so they will start a diet, work out, and get a fresh haircut and color," she said.

On the night of the pageant, contestants are judged on casual wear and formal wear, each accounting for 25 percent of the total score. Although some of the women purchased a new formal dress for the occasion, many used dresses they already had from high school proms, formals or other pageants they participated in.

The men that escort the women during the formal wear portion of the night are all cabinet members on Student Government. Josh Lee, the Freshman Council Director, has participated in the Miss Homecoming Pageant for the past three years now. "I love seeing the girls being completely stressed out one moment when they are backstage, but once they go on stage they are fine," he said.

The week before the event, contestants fill out a questionnaire and have a personal interview with the judges. With interviews accounting for 25 percent of the overall score, students are asked questions that pertain to how they would improve Clemson, greatest accomplishments, inspiring people, favorite Clemson tradition, and what they have liked most about their college experience. The four judges for pageant this year were Dr. Katherine Hawkins, Rusty Guill, Levon Kirkland and Monica Warris.

Clemson involvement is also another important aspect of the competition; also accounting for 25 percent of the total score. Elizabeth Ridgeway, a senior Early Childhood Education major who represented Alpha Chi Omega in the pageant, likes how extracurricular activities account for a large portion of the judging. "Miss Homecoming needs to be a person who is well-rounded and not just a pageant girl," she said.

Tara Davis, the Activities Director for Student Government, has been working for several months to organize all aspects of the event. Prior to the pageant, Tara and her assistant, Margaret Hearon, have been busy coaching the contestants on proper walking techniques, conducting interviews, writing the script, fitting the escorts with tuxedos and much more to ensure that every detail is planned for the night of the show.

"The most difficult part of planning the event was learning to stay flexible," she said. "With any event of this magnitude, planned details are always changing and quick adaptations must be made." However, Davis also stresses that there are rewards to having this position.

"The best part of this process is the actual pageant night itself," she said. "It is so rewarding to see everything come together after several months of planning and hard work."

The top 10 women that were chosen from 35 contestants are Erin Hunter, Rebecca Hunter, Laurie Jones, Renata Jones, Maura Lawson, Liza Lucas, Elizabeth Miffleton, Elizabeth Ridgeway, Anna Rowe and Kaley Steele. Students will have the opportunity to vote on these women and Miss Homecoming 2006 will be announced at Tigerama on Oct. 20, 2006.

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