Here are yet more photos of me with some of the Miss Americas I interviewed for my book, Pretty Smart: Lessons from our Miss Americas.  These women, as beautiful as they are on the outside are even more so on the inside. 
When I met them, I found them uniformly warm and gracious and generous with their time.  In person they shatter the “it’s only a beauty contest” perception with their intelligence, thoughtfulness, poise and eloquence.  As Frand Deford, the award-winning Sports Illustrated writer and four-time Miss America judge, says in his book, There She Is: The Life and Times of Miss America, “No matter how many times it happens, the press finds itself surprised every time a beauty pageant winner is something other than a classic dumb blond.”
When I interviewed Lee Meriwether, Miss America 1955, for Pretty Smart, we sat in the lobby of a theater in Los Angeles where she was rehearsing for a children’s play. 
Me & Lee Meriwether, Miss America 1955

Me & Lee Meriwether, Miss America 1955

Heather French, Miss America 2000
Here’s me with Heather French, Miss America 2000 (photo on right). Heather was the first to say yes to my request for an interview.  I flew down to Louisville, KY to chow down and chat with her.
  

I met with Donna Axum, Miss America 1964 (photo below) at her home in Santa Fe where we sat on a patio overlooking the mountains and talked for hours about people who limited their dreams because of “small box” thinking.

Donna Axum, Miss America 1964

Advertisements