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Beauty With Attitude

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    PHOTOGRAPHY BY FADIL BERISHA


    How does it feel being Miss Iowa USA 2014?

    It feels amazing and very rewarding. Winning the title of Miss Iowa USA 2014 was a huge accomplishment for me, and that day will go down as one of the best days in my life so far.  It can be tough at times being the face of such a prestigious title that many girls dream of holding—knowing that you have a lot to prove to yourself and to others who look up to you as a role model. However, each little step towards achieving my goals as Miss Iowa USA has been a reminder of how hard I am working to be the best titleholder and role modelI can be. Also, attending appearances as Miss Iowa USA makes all the hard work worth it. Having little girls come up to me with a look in their eyes of pure innocence and joy is a feeling like no other.  I am so grateful to be looked up to as a role model to these girls. This title has helped me grow as a person and become more involved in my community. It really is an opportunity of a lifetime and I am so honored to be able to call myself Miss Iowa USA 2014!


    Name three things that you value most in life and why.


    My family –they are the most important people in my life. I come from a family of seven with three brothers and one sister, each with a different personality and outlook on life. They have helped shape me into the confident person I am today. They are my support system and I don’t know what I would do with out all of their help and guidance.


    My education – I have come across many financial struggles while trying to earn my college degree. The challenges I have faced have taught me valuable lessons about hard work and determination. Knowing that I have overcome obstacles in order to better myself with education has made me value it so much more. I also think a lot of a college education has to do with learning about who you are as a person and what your beliefs and identity is.


    My health –Health is very important and as a young adult living on a college campus with a college student budget it is hard to stay on track with a healthy lifestyle. However, I have always done my best to stay both physically and mentally fit, as I know this is the best way to live a healthy lifestyle. Some of the things I do are, take multivitamins, physical activities such as cross fit or boot-camp classes, and trying out new healthy recipes.


    Tell us something about Iowa that not too many people know.

    Iowa Fun Facts:

    ·         Iowa is the only state name that starts with two vowels.

    ·         Iowa State University is the oldest land grant college in the USA.

    ·         Iowa is the only state whose east and west borders are 100% formed by water. Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.

    ·         Iowa isn’t just cornfields!! It has a number of amazing cities. Iowa City, IA is listed in the top 25 best places to live as a recent college graduate and Des Moines, IA is the #1 ranked city for business and careers by Forbes.



    What pushes your hot button?

    1. Burping. I find it extremely repulsive, and if someone I’m with does it in a public place it just makes me want to crawl under a rock and sit in child’s pose.


    2. When someone grinds their teeth on their fork when eating. It is my version of nails on a chalkboard. It brings shivers down my spine.


    The great Chinese philosopher Confucius said: "Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." Do you think that you can find beauty in everything?


    “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” – Margaret Wolfe Hungerford.


    Confucius and Margaret both have very similar views on beauty, and I agree with them both. These quotes seem to hit on the fact that people see iner beauty differently based on how a person treats them – that is, whether they are kind to them or not.Someone’s inner beauty can speak louder than their outer beauty, but I do believe it is possible to find beauty in everything.


    What qualities are you looking for in a potential husband?

    The qualities I look for most in a potential husband are loyalty and generosity. I would want someone who’s family oriented and loves the thought of having a family of their own to take care of.  Of course I would LOVE for him to also be tall, dark, and handsome, but looks really aren’t everything to me. I look for someone who is driven, passionate, spontaneous, genuinely romantic, and loves animals.  I want a husband who makes me a better person and who makes me want to be a better person in all aspects of life.



     What is your strategy for effectively dealing with the press?

    I think there are a number of ways to effectively deal with the press which is why politicians aren’t in the news as much as stars who want the press on them, whether it is good or bad. A strategy I would use is to know the difference between when it is the right time to be in the eye of the press and when it is the right time to stay out of it. If I were dealing with personal matter, I would steer clear of the press, but if I were doing something positive and wanting to share a good message with the public, such as charity work, then I would work with the press in a professional manner.


    What is the craziest or most outrageous thing you have done in your life so far?

    When I was in high school, my family and I took a trip to the islands of Hawaii. Early one morning, while visiting the island of Maui, we drove up to the top of a volcano with a group of other vacationers to watch the sun rise. The views were spectacular, unlike anything I have ever seen before. After taking in the breathtaking scenes, we road bicycles down the volcano as the sun continued to rise into the day. It was one of the scariest things I have ever done, riding a bicycle down the narrow winding roads of this volcano, but the view and the adrenaline made it worth my while and the experience created a memory I will never forget.


    Do you think that the National Security Agency's extensive surveillance program on American citizens might be necessary to protect the U.S. from terrorist attacks, and therefore may be a "necessary evil" of sorts?


    I applaud the government for going to such great lengths in order to protect American citizens. However, I believe there are alternative ways the government could go about monitoring and preventing possible terrorist attacks without taking the extreme measure of implementing an extensive surveillance program. People have the right of privacy, and our American government was founded on protecting it. The fourth amendment is a prime example - The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

     

    Why do you think some people are very critical of pageants?

    To be honest, I used to be critical about pageants. That is before my sister (Miss Illinois USA 2010) showed me the other side of pageantry. Yes, technically it is a beauty pageant, but it really is so much more than that. I think some woman and young girls think pageants are all about how they physically look, which can be very hard on them both mentally and physically when trying to prepare for a pageant. Many people think you have to be a certain size or look like Barbie in order to win a pageant, which isn’t true. I think if more people understood what the main purpose of pageantry was, it could open their eyes up the other side of pageantry. For example, the interview, and getting to know whom these women are deep down as well as what kinds of things they believe in and support.  I love being Miss Iowa USA because it has allowed me to become more involved in my community than I already have been. I currently volunteer at the Ronald McDonald house and have been involved with a number of philanthropies on campus such as Girls on the Run and Campfire USA.


    Cigarettes and liquor both hurt people. Is there a double standard in that one can be advertised, but not the other?

    Yes, I do feel that the legal ability to advertise alcohol but not cigarettes is indeed a double standard. However, there are many products that are proven to be harmful to our health yet they are still heavily advertised. Unfortunately, it is difficult to know the real positive and negative effects of every product, substance, drink, etc on the market, so this will be an ongoing difficult issue to make completely fair across all industries.



     Do you support the legalization of marijuana? Why or why not?

    Whether or not marijuana is legal in the United States, the realty is that it is easy to obtain, use, and abuse across the country. I believe that regardless of its legality, people have a choice as to whether or not they should participate in using it. If legalized, it is almost certain to stimulate the economy in a positive way through production and taxed sales of the product. However, legalizing the drug will indeed alter some peoples’ decisions to try and/or use it more frequently. Personally, I support the legalization of marijuana, because just as we are warned about the negative impact that cigarettes, alcohol, and even most processed foods and prescribed medications can have on our health if abused, it is up to the American people to make their own choice about using the product.


    If you were to come back as a man in the next life, what significant physical traits and personal qualities would you like to have and why?

    If I came back as a man in my next life, I would want to come back as the same person. I would have different physical traits and different interests, but I would like to be the same person mentally. It would be interesting to go through life with the same beliefs and goals as I have now, but as a male. As a student earning a degree in business finance, it is challenging to set myself apart for men in the business world. Unfortunately, there is still a huge gender gap in society. The respect and work pay that women receive continues to be secondary to that of a man, and I would like to come back as “me” and see how differently my life could play out as a male.


    What one question would you like someone to ask you and what would you respond to this question?


    Will you marry me? – I would answer yes if he had majority of the qualities listed in question #6. Oh, and of course, only if he asked my father for his permission first.


    Why do you want to be the next Miss USA?


    I want to be the next Miss USA because it is something I have a chance of actually achieving, although it was never something I ever thought I could achieve – and that’s pretty neat. I haven’t lived my life trying to change the world, I haven’t received a plethora of sports, music, or academic awards, and I don’t really know what my life has in store for me after college. Yet, that doesn’t mean I don’t constantly set and achieve personal goals for myself. I defied all odds by not only competing for the title of Miss Iowa USA, but winning it on my very first try. Being Miss USA is something I know I can excel at. I love the idea of working all over the country and world on different projects, with unique and famous people, and having an experience that very few women get. I want to be a role model to younger women the way my mom and sister have been to me. This is my opportunity to achieve and experience something really great – and all while wearing that gorgeous crown! After all, what little girl didn’t grow up wanting to be a princess?




     

    FLAG OF IOWA

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    SPECIAL THANKS TO LIBBY WATKINS, ASSISTANT STATE DIRECTOR,, FOR FACILITATING THIS INTERVIEW


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    Miss USA
    The top 10 finalists pose in their evening gowns during the 2012 Miss USA pageant, Sunday, June 3, 2012, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)


    It looks like Miss USA will be crowned in Baton Rouge this year. A number of rooms at L'Auberge Casino and Hotel have been blocked out for the pageant between May 25 and June 9, 2014, which was made apparent after a call to the hotel's reservation desk confirmed the dates.

    City and state officials are expected to announce March 13 "that Baton Rouge will host a major live entertainment event this year," according to a press release. Those officials, however, stayed mum when a comment was requested on the room reservations. 

    A "special announcement ... about the 2014 Miss USA competition" is also expected from Donald Trump, who operates the event as a co-venture with NBC Universal, and current Miss USA Erin Brady on the Today Show at 7:30 a.m. CST on March 13. 

    Neither representatives with the Lieutenant Governor's office, Visit Baton Rouge nor L'Auberge would comment, instead deferring to tomorrow's press conference. 

    "Everyone will just have to come to the press conference tomorrow morning," said Katie Guasco, a press representative with Visit Baton Rouge. 

    Baton Rouge is apparently not the first city to have been considered for the 2014 pageant. Doral, Florida, was a previous choice according to the Miami Herald, but the Doral City Council did not approve a resolution to allow that city's manager to work with pageant organizers to produce the event. 

    pageant blogger posted the room booking information on his Facebook page earlier today (March 12), theorizing that would place the pageant date on June 8, 2014.

    The Miss USA pageant would be no newcomer to Louisiana. It was previously held in Shreveport in 1997 and 1998, according to the pageant website.

    The televised coverage of Miss USA in 2013 garnered 4.6 million viewers.

    Source: Nola.com, March 12, 2014



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    PHOTOGRAPHY BY FADIL BERISHA

    How did you get involved in pageants?

    Well, it all began in 2010 when I accompanied my cousin to attend a pageant to cheer on her friend.  Little did I know that my life would change forever!  A pageant coach approached me and insisted that I compete for the title of Miss North Dakota Teen USA.  Five months later, I was crowned and eventually went on to be named the first runner-up to Miss Teen USA.  Needless to say it was the BEST decision I have ever made in my life!

    How has your pageant experience changed you as a person so far?

    My first pageant I ever competed in was when I won Miss North Dakota Teen USA in 2011. I later went on to compete at Miss Teen USA in the Bahamas. I got First Runner-Up at Miss Teen USA and my life has been forever changed since that night. The President of the Atlantis in the Bahamas actually invited me back to the resort after Miss Teen USA to be their special guest for the week. I’ve gotten to model for Sherri Hill, work for HGTV, travel the country modeling, and have gotten to make some pretty cool connections. I then competed for Miss North Dakota USA this past November and won. Although pageantry has blessed me with so many incredible opportunities, as a person, I’m still the same Audra!

    If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be and why?

    If I could change one thing about myself it would probably be my impatience. However, I do know that each and every one of us is on Earth for a reason and we should be proud that we are all uniquely different.

    Many people perceive North Dakota as a homogenous, uninteresting and boring state. Convince them that they are wrong.

    Homogenous, uninteresting, and boring state! How dare they. I’m just kidding! I would just like to say that I’ve grown up in North Dakota my entire life and wouldn’t have that any other way. But don’t take my word for it. North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the country and is the second largest oil-producing state, after Texas!


     What makes a woman "ladylike?"'

    I don’t think being “ladylike” is just about having good manners and remembering to say your “P’s and Q’s.” Being ladylike is about remembering the importance of actually being a woman. Women are strong, independent, and powerful beings who deserve to be respected. It’s important that women portray themselves in a respectful way to ensure that they are granted respect back.

    What do you think about groups that are trying to remove prayer from the public arena?

    I don’t agree with groups who are trying to remove prayer from the public arena. Having our religious freedom is important to many individuals in the United States. The ability to worship any God who you believe in is your define right. It’s important to never forget that.

    North Dakota has been competing in Miss USA since the pageant began in 1952, but the state has never won and has only placed 3 times (1966, 1983, 1996). Why do you think that the state's performance has been dismal?

    I don’t think there’s necessarily a reason that can be pinpointed as to why only three representatives of North Dakota have placed at Miss USA. I’m a firm believer in that everything happens for a reason. Just because these young ladies did not place at Miss USA does not mean that they did not gain memories, friendships, and connections that they will cherish for an entire lifetime! In the end there is only one winner. Be yourself and be happy; the rest will fall into place.

    Who handles loneliness better? Men or women?

    I don’t think it’s fair to say that men or women handle loneliness better. It totally depends on the individual and the situation that they are in.


    Do you think that the media is generally biased toward the more liberal viewpoints and that it is hard for conservative views to have fair coverage by the media?

    I don’t think that it’s harder for conservative views to have their fair coverage by the media, however, I do believe that liberal individuals typically tend to voice their opinions more freely and all across all different types of media. Both parties have a fair shot when it comes to voicing their opinions. It just comes down to if they chose to do so or not.

    What is your opinion on cosmetic surgery? And do you think that pageant contestants who have had cosmetic surgery have an advantage over those who have not had one?

    I don’t think that pageant contestants who have had cosmetic surgery have an advantage over those who have not had one. Nobody can win a pageant solely based on her physical appearance. It’s so much more than that! I personally wouldn’t get cosmetic surgery unless I was in some sort of accident where my face and or body were altered in any way. I think as a role model to young women it’s important to be invested in other things besides altering our physical appearance. Being happy in your own skin, that’s the most beautiful thing.

    Have you been pleased with President Obama's performance since he took office in 2008?

    I have been pleased with President Obama’s performance since he took office in 2008. Obviously, just like every other person in the entire world, he has made mistakes and could have done things differently. But, I will also say that no matter who becomes President of the United States or who is currently the President of the United States, it’s incredibly important to respect them. Their job, to me, is the hardest one out there and the stress, critiquing, and hatred from other individuals have got to be draining. I applaud any individual who is up for the task!


     What is the one lesson you learned as a child that still affects your life today?

    The most valuable lesson my parents taught me growing up was to always be thankful. I have found that throughout my life true blessings come from people who have felt that I deserved and who honestly felt that I was thankful for my opportunities. It’s important to never ever forget how cool it is to have a state title, how much little girls all across the country look up to us, and how much other young ladies would kill to be in our shoes. It’s about loving every day and being thankful for it.

    If there were no rules in your life for one day and you could be outrageous, what would you do?

    If there were no rules for one day and I could be as outrageous as I wanted to be, I would instantly book a trip to Hawaii and leave that day. I love to travel and haven’t gone to Hawaii yet, but would LOVE to go!

    If you won the state lottery, how would you spend your winnings?

    Winning the state lottery would be incredible! I mean who wouldn’t want to win FREE MONEY! I would first give half of my winnings to STOMP out Bullying which is an incredible organization that is the leading national bullying and cyber bullying prevention organization for kids and teens! The rest of my money would be spent on a trip to go to the Philippines where my grandpa was born and raised!

    Why do you want to be the next Miss USA?

    I am a small town girl from Fargo who never dreamed, while growing up, that I would one day appear on national television competing for the title of Miss USA. I am humbled, honored, and aware of the tremendous responsibility of serving as a titleholder for the Miss Universe Organization.  I will continue to work to the best of my ability to make the state of North Dakota and the Miss USA/Miss Universe Organization proud as I aim to "give back" to my community for all that these titles have bestowed upon me, since they have truly changed my life.  If selected as the next Miss USA, I will remain the same small town girl, unchanged, that will stand as an example to the millions of young people facing bullying, showing that anything is possible, even rising above adversity, especially when pageants are involved!  


    FLAG OF NORTH DAKOTA

    FOLLOW AUDRA ON INSTAGRAM
     FOLLOW AUDRA ON TWITTER


    SPECIAL THANKS TO LIBBY WATKINS, ASSISTANT STATE DIRECTOR, FOR FACILITATING THIS INTERVIEW





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    Silvia Prochádzková, 21, of Bratislava was crowned Miss Universe SR 2014 (Miss Universe Slovenskej republiky 2014) on March 13. She will compete in Miss Universe 2014 whose date and venue are still to be confirmed. Her court includes 1st runner-up Dária Fabrici, 20 (left) and 2nd runner-up Michaela Mrázová, 18 (right).



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  • 03/16/14--18:27: Miss Ecuador 2014



  • Alejandra Argudo, 21, was crowned Miss Ecuador 2014 on March 15. She will compete in Miss Universe 2014 whose date and venue have not yet been confirmed. Argudo succeeds Constanza Baez who placed second runner-up in Miss Universe 2013 held in Moscow last November. Ecuador has never won the Miss Universe crown. Could Alejandra be the first Ecuadorian to bring it home?



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    Former Miss Malawi 2010 and renowned top model Faith Chibale died on Friday afternoon, March 14 at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre where she was admitted. The cause of her death was meningitis. She was only 24 years old.

     Chibale made her name after rising to become Malawi News Model in 2008 before making a step to be crowned the country’s beauty queen in 2010. She was not only a model but she showed the other side of her talent by featuring in a Zimbabwean movie The Gentleman.








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  • 03/18/14--19:54: Miss Universe Japan 2014



  • Keiko Tsuji, 20, who represented the city of Nagasaki, was crowned Miss Universe Japan 2014 on March 18, 2014 at the Tokyo Chinzansou Hotel in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo. She will represent Japan at the Miss Universe 2014 pageant whose date and venue have not yet been confirmed.





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    How does it feel being Miss Alaska USA 2014?

    I feel blessed to be Miss Alaska USA 2014. I have the once in a lifetime opportunity to represent the largest, most beautiful state in the union at Miss USA. I am thrilled to be living my dream to walk on the Miss USA stage, and I’m so glad I didn’t give up.  The 3rd time WAS the charm for me!  I am excited to put Alaska back on the map this year! Who knows, next stop could be Miss Universe!

    Name three things that you value most in life and why.

    Three things I value most in life are faith, love of family and friends, and compassion because my faith feeds my soul, my family and friends give me support, and my compassion keeps me inspired.

    Describe your idea of bliss.

    My “bliss” is spending an afternoon playing dress up and having a tea party with some young girls at the hospital. I’m the director of the first chapter of the “Queen for a Day” nonprofit in Alaska and spending time with these young girls really gives me feelings of joy and a greater purpose. Watching the young girls smile and laugh as they take on their royal roles and forget all their worries for the day truly makes me happy.

    How would you promote Alaska to a visitor?

    There’s really something for everyone in our great state, and it doesn’t need to be a bucket list destination!   It really is a “Big Wild Life” here in Alaska year round!  In the summer, I would take visitors on the Alaska Railroad for a scenic trip filled with breathtaking views through mountain passages, past the tallest peaks in North America, and among some fascinating wildlife. For the more adventurous tourists, we could go salmon fishing, zip lining, river rafting down glacier fed rivers, or hiking on one of our many of the beautiful trails! However, folks should NOT avoid Alaska in the winter, especially since we have about 6 months of it! During the winter, I’d take visitors snowboarding, skiing, snowshoeing, lake ice fishing, snow machining, and even dog mushing. I would want to experience our Midnight Sun and Northern Lights, too.  There is so much to see and do in this great state, so they need to come ready for more than a few days to trek across Alaska!


    When did you first realize that you were beautiful?

    One of my mom’s mantras is “pretty is as pretty does.”  I grew up knowing that regardless of what I was wearing or how I looked, my actions and attitude determined the only beauty that counted. I was taught to measure beauty in kindness because the exterior beauty would not get me nearly as far in life as a compassionate, caring heart.  So despite the awkward stages, embarrassing haircuts and horrible makeup habits I have always felt “beautiful” on the inside when I treated others with kindness and respect.

    Would you ever appear on a reality show? Why or why not?

    Hmmm. “Being Bautista?” Nah, I wouldn’t want to be on a reality show filled with drama.  However, I wouldn’t mind appearing on one that focused on me learning “how to” do something meaningful, or maybe a reality show one highlighting the people and organizations I have been able to support as Miss Alaska or Miss USA.  For example, showing how I am a mentor for Big Brothers and Big Sisters.  I look forward to my weekly visits with my “little sister” at her elementary school, and I would welcome a reality show depicting how rewarding and easy it is to be a significant person in the life of a young person.  Just think of the potential impact we could have if a reality show was used to encourage others to get involved and give back in their area. That is a reality show worth its airtime!

    If you were to have dinner with three political leaders, who would they be and why?

    I have to admit it would be entertaining, albeit dangerous, to have some of our world leaders together for dinner, I think I’d have a better chance building alliances and address issues facing my home state of Alaska.  So, I think I’ll dine with Governor Sean Parnell, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich to brainstorm ways to bolster our state’s economy.

    What one thing you will never tolerate and why?

    I really cannot tolerate mean-spirited behavior.  Assertion is one thing, but relational aggression and bullying is quite different. I prefer to associate with positive people who bring out the best in one another.


    Do you believe that you can truly be in love with more than one person at the same time?

    I am an incurable romantic, so I believe if you are truly in love with someone your whole heart belongs to them and only them.

    Do you believe pornography, which is currently protected as "free speech" by Supreme Court rulings, is actually "free speech"?

    Although pornography is currently protected as “free speech” under our Constitution, I personally think the industry needs to exercise better responsibility in safeguarding our youth and young children from exposure before they are emotionally mature enough to handle it.  I don’t think it’s the “free speech” the framers of our Constitution quite had in mind.  I think they would probably prefer we left a lot more to the imagination!

    What is your definition of an ethical person?

    I believe an ethical person is someone who acts and speaks with honesty and integrity.

    Critics say that the Wal-Mart chain is killing our nation's mom-and-pop-shops. Would you like to see restraints on large chains to protect family-owned businesses?

    I am not really in favor of government regulations restraining big box stores from creating jobs.  Wal-Mart was actually the fulfillment of Sam Walton’s American dream.  Living in Alaska, I have always welcomed the opening of big named franchises to our state, knowing it would bring more variety of products and lower costs, as well as more jobs.  One thing Alaskans hate to hear when ordering online is the “free shipping rates ONLY apply to the United States!” Hello!  Alaska is part of the USA, and our star on the flag should count, too!!


    In your wildest dreams, what would your ideal career be?

    I think one of my wildest dreams for an ideal career would have me as part of the writing team at Saturday Night Live!!  It would enjoy the opportunity to write witty skits and see them performed by their talented cast of comedians!  Talk about a fun work place – I can only imagine how entertaining it must be to work on set with the cast members like Tina Fey, Kristin Wiig, Jimmy Fallon, Keenan Thompson, and the list goes on and on.  

    What is America’s greatest quality?

    I think the diversity of the people who have come together to make this country is one of our greatest and most beautiful qualities of our nation. No other country in the free world has so many people of different cultures and backgrounds united under one constitution that offers so much hope and opportunity for individual citizens!

    Why do you want to be the next Miss USA?

    Growing up I was incredibly shy. I was that girl that looked at her feet when she walked down the hallways at school, and went straight to my next class!  In high school I watched the Miss Universe pageant on TV for the first time and I admired the poise and confidence of the beautiful women from around the world on stage, and made it my goal right then and there to get to on that stage! Participating in pageants helped me develop my own self-confidence and I want to be that inspiration to other young girls watching on TV. As Miss USA I will challenge women across the country to be the best possible versions of themselves - shining from the inside out!  I want to be the Miss USA who inspires others to be more compassionate and caring individuals who use our abilities and talents to make our country even better.  The title is temporary, but the impact I can make while I wear it has incredible potential to bring attention to many worthy causes of the organization, nation, and world.


    FLAG OF ALASKA

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    How does it feel being Miss Michigan USA 2014?

    Being Miss Michigan USA is such an honor. Through this journey I have met so many wonderful people. I feel so blessed to be given this opportunity and the year so far has been such a great learning experience and also so much fun.

    List three adjectives that best describe yourself.

    Three adjectives to describe myself would be determined, independent and friendly. I say determined because I always give my best when striving to achieve a goal and remind myself that staying focused is one of the key components to success. Next independent, I have a good work ethic and prefer to take care of things on my own. I feel that being independent really helps a person’s maturity. Lastly I listed friendly because I can get along with just about anyone :)

    If you woke up tomorrow gained any one ability or quality. what would you want it to be?

    If I could gain one ability it would be to read and speak several languages.


    When you get up in the morning and look in the mirror, what do you see?

    I see a person who is eager to face the day's tasks and put my best foot forward.


    How do you handle peer pressure when it goes against your values?

    I think it is so important to stay true to who you are especially under pressure and be confident enough to stick to your values even if it means going against the crowd.

    Do you have any vices?

    One vice I have is snacking late at night especially with sweets!

    Do you feel that being beautiful gives you certain advantages in life that less beautiful people don't benefit from?

    I would say that inner beauty and education are the two most important advantages in life we can benefit from. 

    How far are you willing to push yourself to achieve your goals?

    Setting goals and pushing yourself to achieve them I feel is important but also not losing sight of who you are in the process is just as important. How far I am willing to push myself would depend greatly on the compromises I would have to make.


    What special charities, causes, or groups do you support any why?

    One of the charities I support is the Pink Ribbon Girls. The founder Tracie Metzger was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 30 and since her survival it has been her mission to create an organization to help women of all ages fighting the battle. Tracie not only provides education and awareness but also services for the women through all stages of their battle. Her services include meals, house cleaning, and transportation to appointments. This organization is so near and dear to me I think Tracie is doing such a wonderful job helping women and I feel honored to be a part of it.

    Why do you think that most Americans are ignorant of world geography?

    I think that in America we do not place enough emphasis and importance on world geography.

    There have been issues with budget cuts in arts education. Is this area of education necessary for personal growth?

    Absolutely, in my opinion arts education is extremely important. It is a great form of self expression and every child should have the chance to participate in art early on in life.



    What is your position on same-sex marriage?

    I believe that everyone should have the right and opportunity to marry whomever they choose.

    Do you believe that racism is still a problem today? 

    I believe our society has greatly overcome issues of racism; however, there are always improvements to make.

    What are some measures that we as a society can take to overcome the pressures that the media places on a young woman’s body today?

    I think we need to encourage the fact that women come in all shapes and sizes. There is no perfect way to look and the more we encourage this diversity the more we can take some of the pressure off of young women who strive for the ridiculous images the media place.

    Why do you want to be the next Miss USA?

    I want to be the next Miss USA because I would love to use it as a platform to make a difference in the lives of women around the world. With my major in women's studies I strive to serve as a role model and advocate for women's rights. Being a part of the prestigious Miss Universe Organization is a dream come true and gracing the stage at the Miss Universe pageant would be life changing.



    FLAG OF MICHIGAN

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    Reigning Miss Universe Gabriela Isler of Venezuela arrived in Manila, Philippines on March 27th. She will be attending and judging the Binibining Pilipinas 2014 pageant to be held on Sunday, March 30, at the Araneta Coliseum. The following photos were taken from the Press Conference held at Sofitel Hotel Manila on Thursday, March 28th. Joining Gabriela were MUO President Paula Shugart and BPCI Chairman Stella Marquez de Araneta.   
























    Photography by Jonas Yu & Deybid Natanawan

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    L-R: 2nd runner-up Hannah Ruth Sison, Bb. Pilipinas Tourism 2014 Parul Shah, Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental 2014 Kris Tiffany Janson, Miss Universe Philippines 2014 Mary Jane Lastimosa, Bb. Pilipinas International 2014 Bianca Guidotti, Miss Supranational Philippines 2014 Yvethe Santiago, and 1st runner-up Laura Lehman. Photography by RP OCAMPO

         Twenty six-year-old North Cotabato native Mary Jean Lastimosa bested 39 other Binibining Pilipinas candidates to represent the country in this year's Miss Universe.
         During the highly anticipated but dreaded question and answer portion, reigining Miss Universe Gabriela Isler asked the Davao-based entrepreneur: "What is the greatest advantage of being a woman?”
         "The greatest advantage of being a woman is being able to compose ourselves. Just like here, we’re standing in front of thousands of people not knowing if they're cheer for us. But we try to compose ourselves, we keep the emotions and show the beauty that is in us. And tonight, thousands of people are here, celebrating the beauty of a woman," she answered.
         Joining Mary Jean in the winners' circle is 24-year-old Bianca Guidotti who shall represent the Philippines in Miss International. Cebuana beauty, 24-year-old Kris Tiffany Janson, is the country's representative to the Miss Intercontinental; Yvethe Santiago is heading to Miss Supranational; while Parul Shah is competing in Miss Tourism Queen International.
         Laura Lehman and Hannah Ruth Sison are First and Second Runners-up, respectively.
         Expectations are high for this year's titlist following the country's impressive finish in the international beauty pageants last year. It can be recalled that the Philippines brought home three titles in 2013: Miss Supranational (Mutya Johanna Datul), Miss World (Megan Young), and Miss International (Bea Rose Santiago).
         
    TOP 15 (In no particular order)
    Bb 11 Laura Lehmann
    Bb 1 Julian Aurine Flores
    Bb 22 Mary Anne Bianca Guidotti
    Bb 3 Joanna Romero
    Bb 25 Mary Jean Lastimosa
    Bb 8 Pia Wurtzbach
    Bb 4 Parul Shah
    Bb 23 Nichole Marie Manalo
    Bb 16 Zahara Soriano
    Bb 35 Yvethe Marie Santiago
    Bb 14 Emma Mary Tiglao
    Bb 20 Kenneth Santiago
    Bb 13 Kris Tiffany Janson
    Bb 27 Hannah Sison
    Bb 19 Mae Liezel Ramos

    Source: ph.celebrity.yahoo.com, March 30, 2014

    Left: Kris Tiffany Janson (Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental 2014). Center: Mary Jane Lastimosa (Miss Universe Philippines 2014). Right: Bianca Guidotti (Bb. Pilipinas International 2014) Photo by Francis Malasig/EPA
    Mary Jean Lastimosa.  Photo by Francis Malasig/EPA
    Photo by Francis Malasig/EPA

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  • 03/30/14--18:53: Miss South Africa 2014


  • Medical student Rolene Strauss was on Sunday crowned the new Miss South Africa 2014. The 21-year-old who hails from Volksrust in Mpumalanga but currently lives in Bloemfontein was one of the favourite contenders in the pageant.
    Ziphozakhe Zokufa from Port Elizabeth came in as first princess and Matlala Mokoko from Johannesburg second princess. The modern platinum crown named Palesa (flower in Sesotho) was designed from platinum by the Jack Friedman team as well as pageant designer Malcolm Kluk using inspiration taken from the natural beauty of indigenous South African flowers and traditional patterns.
    Strauss will compete both in Miss World and Miss Universe pageants.


    Source: Mail Guardian, South Africa, March 30, 2014



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  • 03/31/14--19:52: New Czech Queens for 2014

  • Gabriela Frankova (center), a 20-year-old student from Brno, was crowned Česká Miss 2014 (Miss Czech Republic 2014) this past weekend. She will represent her country in Miss Universe 2014 whose date and venue have not yet been confirmed. 23-year-old Tereza Skoumalova (right) was crowned Česká Miss World 2014 and will compete in Miss World 2014 in London in November. 21-year-old Nikola Bouranska (left), was crowned Česká Miss Earth 2014 and will compete in Miss Earth 2014 to be held in the Philippines sometime in December.


    Frankova was crowned by the legendary Italian actress Sofia Loren.





     PHOTO CREDITS: http://revue.idnes.cz/ 


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    NICKLAS PEDERSEN, 23, was selected by the Miss & Mister of Denmark Organization as Denmark's representative to Mr. World 2014 competition scheduled to be held at The Riviera International Conference Centre, TorbayDevonEngland on June 15. Critical Beauty is grateful to Nicklas and to his national director, Lisa Lents, for allowing this e-mail interview. 

    How does it feel to represent Denmark in Mr. World 2014?

         I would lie if I told you that it doesn’t feel absolutely amazing, because it definitely does! I’m extremely honoured and very proud to represent my country in a massive beauty pageant like this. It doesn’t get much bigger than this!! I’m so excited!

    You have been living in Australia for two years and you speak with an Australian accent? Do you feel more Aussie than Danish, or do you feel equally Aussie and Danish at the same time?

         It’s a bit funny because I actually don’t speak with an Australian accent. I have got family from New York and they used to spend summer holidays in Denmark when I was a kid. So while they were staying here, they taught me English and from there I adapted an American accent. But even now it’s not even American either. During my time in Australia I have become friends with people from all over the world and now it’s all just a big mixture of accents from around the world. It’s always a big mystery when people try to pick where I am from.

         I definitely feel Danish. I grew up in Denmark with Danish values and Danish traditions so I would say I’m still as Danish as it gets. Even though I don’t live there at the moment, Denmark will always be my number one and that’s where I want to settle down one day.

    What is the best thing you like about living in Australia? And what is the best thing about living in Denmark?

         Oh, that’s a hard one. But I reckon that the best thing about Australia would have to be the weather. I have always loved summer and being in the sun and just being able to be outdoors.

         Best thing about Denmark? It has to be the pastries. Haha! :) 

         The best thing has to be that we are the happiest people in the world. We have a lot of benefits. Education is completely free, so is the medical system and the fact that if you lose your job, the government will support you with a decent income for up to two years if you are still unemployed. And then of course our cycling culture. We love our bikes and would rather jump on the bike than use our car.


    What makes you laugh?  What makes you cry?

         I absolutely love to walk down memory lane and talk about all the silly and unforgettable things I have done with family and friends. Even though I am still young, I have traveled quite a fair bit and experienced some amazing things I wouldn’t change for a thing.  You only live once, so it’s about making the best of it. There is nothing better than catching up with people and reliving the moments that made you laugh and made you the person, you are today. That always makes me smile and truly brightens my day.

         Unfortunately life is full of ups and downs. Something that has always had a great impact on me, is when you hear of people losing a friend or a relative. Nothing hurts more than when people pass away, often too early and the thought of never seeing them again is truly devastating.

    When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

         I remember when I was a kid I always used to watch movies and admire police officers for being brave and for their heroic actions.  So I thought being a policeman and saving the world would be the coolest thing ever. When I got older and realized it wasn’t all about playing cops and robbers, I decided to go down another path.

    What are your strengths and weaknesses?

         I consider myself quite the optimist.  I am always happy and look at the bright side of life. I am a winner and won’t give up until I have reached my goal.  And combined I have managed to come a long way. I believe that if you want something bad enough, you can always find a way to succeed.

        When it comes to weaknesses, I would have to admit that I can be very lazy with some things. I attend to postpone things that don't interest me or leave things until the last minute. I am possibly the most indecisive person in the world. I could walk into Blockbuster to rent a movie but come out empty handed because there would be too many good ones to choose.    


    If you were to come back as an animal in the next life, what would you be and why?

         If I had to choose one I would probably say as a dolphin. It is a beautiful animal that likes to play and when interacting with humans, they come across very friendly. I love to swim and have always loved the ocean.

    True or False: People who are attractive tend to be more successful.

         I wouldn’t say it is true but not false either. In today’s world being attractive can make things easier for some people. With that being said, if you don’t have the personality and brains to back you up, you are not better/more successful than the not-so-attractive person. There are obviously some industries, which are purely based on looks like modelling, but most of the industries in today’s world rely on skills and talent.

    Many times we hear older generations comment on how younger generations lack motivation, passion, drive or respect.  Do you think there is any truth to this or is it all nostalgia?

         That is so true. I think we have all heard our grand parents telling stories from when they were young and acknowledges that things were very different back then. My mom works at a school and often talks about how disrespectful kids are these days. Especially the language has changed with smaller kids using the F word daily. If that happened 40 years ago, you would have been sent home, but these days people barely even notice. 


    Describe three things that you would never do to someone you love.

         One thing is for sure. I would never commit infidelity. It’s unacceptable and shouldn’t occur at all. 

         I would never let money become a conflict or issue with someone I love.

         Honesty is very important. I am a terrible liar and people can usually see when I am trying to lie. I can’t hold a straight face and usually start laughing.   

    If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be and why?

         I would say that I wish I didn’t bite my nails. It’s the worst habit and it doesn’t look nice. I have actually decided that after my crowning as Mr. World Denmark 2014, I will stop! So hopefully I will be able to quit completely.

    If Playgirl offered you a million dollars to pose totally nude, would you do it?

         No, I wouldn’t pose totally nude. I can imagine how hard it would be to turn down a million dollars if you got the offer, but money isn’t everything for me, so posing nude would be taking it too far for my personal opinion.

    Would you date an individual that you did not think was attractive?

         I think I would. I have met women before whom I didn’t find physically attractive, but when I got to know them and witnessed how amazing their personalities were and suddenly everything about them became beautiful.

    If you could change one thing about your past, what would it be?

         I probably wanted to change the fact that I was quite stubborn when I was a kid. I was very difficult and never did as I was told. I didn’t want to go to bed at night and didn’t want to wear any other clothes than gym wear. I was very picky about food and didn’t want to eat anything. I literally lived on Nutella on toast. When thinking back I must have been a nightmare.

    How would you describe your ideal vacation? 

         I love to travel and have a lot of things and places to see on my bucket list. From trekking in South America to living it up in Vegas. But the most ideal one would be with friends and family in an amazing luxury resort in the Maldives. I have always wanted to lie in a hammock on the beach between two palms, just like you see in the movies.

    What are your plans for the future?

         I would like to remain in Australia if possible. I enjoy living here and I have built a life here now. But with that being said you never know what’s going to happen. I am extremely excited about representing Denmark at Mr.World 2014 and to see if that could open any doors for me. I don’t expect anything and I’m just going to do my best and see how it goes. Otherwise I still dream about travelling in South America and the U.S.



    How are you preparing yourself for Mr. World 2014?

         After being crowned as Mr. World Denmark 2014, I have started a healthy diet and serious training. I have been looking at the previous Mr.World competitions and discovered that fitness and physical obstacles are a big part of it. I am doing my best to obtain the best shape so I can bring Denmark to the top.

    Why do you want to be Mr. World 2014?

         To win Mr. World 2014 would be a massive achievement. Not just for me but for Denmark as well. Male beauty pageants are not common in Denmark so winning a title like this on the world stage and being able to put Denmark on the world map would mean the world to me! I love to travel and experience different cultures. So being able to do that, as Mr. World 2014 along with doing great things around the world would be the greatest experience. To volunteer, help people and make a difference in the world is something that would make any human being proud.




    Nicklas's Favorites:

    Singer/Musician –  Justin Timberlake
    Actor –  Leonardo Dicarprio
    Actress –  Scarlett Johansson
    Color –  Blue
    Fashion Designer –  Ralph Lauren
    Cologne –  Chanel
    Sport - Soccer
    Flower –  Red rose
    Writer –  Hans Christian Andersen
    Book –  “The Brothers Lionheart” by Astrid Lindgren
    Reality Show – “Geordie Shore”
    Movie – “Troy”
    Proverb – The world is your oyster 

    PHOTO CREDITS: MISS & MISTER DENMARK ORGANIZATION


    You're very welcome, Nicklas! Good luck at Mr. World 2014!



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  • 04/04/14--08:54: Miss Senegal 2014

  •  

    The new Miss Sénégal 2014 Anna Diouf of Thiès  who was crowned March 29th  at an outdoor event at the Lamantin Beach Hôtel in Saly. The first runner-up is Seynabou Thiam of Dakar (right) and the second runner-up is Aïda Gomez of Fatick (left).  Diouf's victory was slightly marred by a rumor that some of the contestants had received sexual propositions from men. Diouf denounced the rumor which she said is unfounded. One of the contestants finally confessed that she started the rumor out of spite for not placing.
     (Photo: au-senegal.com)

     
     

     

    

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    How did you get involved in pageants?

    Growing up my mom kept me extremely active.  I was that kid that went from karate lessons, to gymnastics, to dance class, then piano lessons.  I tried everything! Then one day I got an invitation in the mail to compete in a pageant, and I ended up LOVING it! 

    How did you get your unusual name?

    My mom served in the peace corp in Africa before I was born, and that's where she met my father who is 100% Somalian.  She speaks fluent Swahili, and fell in love with the name Bishara which means congratulations in Swahili.

    How would a good friend describe you?

    A good friend would describe me as encouraging, supportive, and loyal! I'm an only child, so I really value all of my good friends. 

    How would you promote Wisconsin to a visitor?

    In one word CHEESE!!! You will experience the best cheese curds of your life!  I love Wisconsin!  It's a great state that no matter what the weather throws in it's direction Wisconsinites can always find a sport or outdoor activity to enjoy.  It's fun all year round.  

    How has your pageant experience changed you as a person?

    Through pageantry I have learned exactly who I am and what I want in life, because it forces you to know who you are and what you want.  I used to be extremely shy, but now I can talk and relate to anyone! Pageants have improved my interviewing and public speaking skill tremendously, and helped me to choose my career path of broadcast journalism. 



    How do you respond to a homeless person on the street asking you for money?

    If I have it I give it, and what they ultimately do with the money is between them and God.   

    Tell us about a movie that you have seen recently.

    I recently saw "American Hustle". I thought it was extremely good and well executed!  I won't give it away in case you haven't seen it yet, but I love the twist at the end.  

    Would you vote for a politician whose policies on certain issues have been shaped by his or her religious beliefs? Why or why not?

    Absolutely! Religion can shape one's views the same way gender, race, and upbringing can.  I focus on the words and deeds of the politician and how they align with my won.



    How can we teach kids healthy eating habits and get them moving?

    Positive adult role models in their everyday life demonstrating healthy eating habits and keeping kids active through fun sports or hobbies they enjoy.  Healthy eating is a learned behavior, and should be practiced at home first!

    What would constitute a "perfect" evening for you?

    In the summer a perfect evening for me would be going to a Milwaukee Brewers game with the roof open at Miller Park, and seats behind the dugout!  

    What do we need to do to change the way welfare is being handled in the United States?

     America is a land of opportunity, but in my opinion opportunity is earned not subsidized.  The way welfare is handled now doesn't create an opportunity to thrive it only creates an opportunity to receive an incentive for not thriving.  I was always taught, give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, but teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime. As a nation we need to teach more people how to fish through job training programs, improving public education, and things that will enrich lives of the impoverished.   

    Is it appropriate for gays to serve in the military?

    Yes, I believe it is acceptable for any man or woman to serve in the military and fight for our country regardless of their sexuality.  Anyone who would serve to protect this country is a hero to me regardless of their sexuality.



    What does femininity mean to you?

    Femininity describes womanhood, and the adjectives that come to mind are effervescent, independent, and loving.

    What advice would you give to a girl who has low self-esteem?

    I struggled with low self-esteem, and the lesson I learned in the end is that the key was self acceptance. Therefore, I would first tell her to stop comparing herself to others, and be her own judge.  I would encourage her to start replacing any negative thoughts she has with positive ones, and even go as far as writing down a list of all her positive qualities.  I would tell her to get proactive, and take advantage of workshops, and books regarding self-esteem because whatever material you allow to dominate your mind will eventually change your behavior.  The book that helped me was "The Confident Woman," by Joyce Meyer, and I would highly recommend it!

    Why do you want to be the next Miss USA? 

    I’m ready for the job of Miss USA! I respect and admire the MUO brand, and it’s not only something I have dreamed about but it’s something I have been working tirelessly toward.  I’m relatable, confident, driven, and my life experiences and career path of broadcast journlism have prepared me for this job. I am not only ready to be Miss USA, but also Miss Universe.





    FLAG OF WISCONSIN


    FOLLOW BISHARA ON INSTAGRAM

     FOLLOW BISHARA ON TWITTER


    SPECIAL THANKS TO LIBBY WATKINS, ASSISTANT STATE DIRECTOR, FOR FACILITATING THIS INTERVIEW



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  • 04/06/14--07:03: Miss India 2014


  • Koyal Rana of won the coveted Miss India 2014 crown at the 51st edition of the pageant, on Saturday, April 5. She was crowned winner among 24 gorgeous contestants from across the country. Jhataleka Malhotra (left), was crowned first runner-up and Gail Nicole Da Silva (right) was crowned second runner-up. Koyal Rana hails from Jaipur, Jhataleka from Mumbai, and Gail from Goa. She will represent India at the Miss World 2014 beauty pageant this year.


    Miss India 2013 Navneet Kaur Dhillion and Miss World 2013 Megan Young congratulated
    Rana with the crown at the beauty pageant.

    Source: Deccan Chronicle, April 6, 2014


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  • 04/07/14--06:42: Miss Tunisia 2014


  • The new Miss Tunisia 2014 is Wahiba Arres, 20, who was crowned at the Palais des Congrès in Tunis on April 5. She will compete in Miss World 2014 to be held in London in November.
    Tunisia's best placement in Miss World was in 1958 when
    Jacqueline Tapia placed 3rd runner-up. 





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    MONICA PALACIOS


    According to CB correspondent Hector Joaquin, who is covering the Top Model of the World 2014 contest in El Gouna, Red Sea, Egypt, the outgoing titleholder (2013) Monica Palacios of Colombia has been dethroned a few hours ago by the pageant organizer Detlef Tursies - just one day before crowning her successor on April 12th. Tursies stated that Palacios broke an important clause in her contract that forbids her to defame and malign the pageant. It appears that since Palacios arrived in Egypt over two weeks ago, she had been badmouthing Tursies, the staff, the contestants, the judges, and even Hector Joaquin. 

    Palacios was also supposed to judge and relinquish her crown to her successor, but this task has now been assigned to the 2010 winner, Loredana Solanta of Romania.


    FROM MONICA PALACIOS' INSTAGRAM











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    The new Top Model of the World 2014 is Tania Valencia Cuero, 23, of Colombia who was crowned April 11 in El Gouna, Red Sea in Egypt. The 1st runner-up is Jailenne Rivera, 19, of Puerto Rico (left), an the 2nd runner-up is Anronet Roebfsz, 19, of South Africa (right). Completing the top 5 are Giulia Campesi, 17, of Italy and Niler Bernard Mruma, 21, of Tanzania.

    This is the second time Colombia has won the contest, the first being in 2010. Last year's winner, Monica Palacios, came from Colombia but wore the sash of "Miss Caribbean." A day before the 2014 finals, Palacios was dethroned for breaking an important clause in her contract with the pageant organizers.

    This year also marks the first time that Puerto Rico has made the top 5.


    Tania Valencia Cuero



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