MOST WOMEN--ON DISPLAY--HAVE INSECURITIES ABOUT THEIR BODIES.
In my book, THE BEAUTY QUEEN, I share the inside "scoop" concerning my first beauty pageant---The Miss Pine Bluff Pageant. We all have insecurities and--for the first time-ever--
I share "two" of mine in my book.
"The summer of 1958, I became one of 12 contestants competing in the first Miss Pine Bluff Pageant. My
main concern was filling the swimsuit’s bra cups. As a summer life guard, I wore a swimsuit every day but---tucked inside were two push-up pads that, when viewed from the outside, showed youthfully small- but-rounded breasts with a hint of cleavage.
I ordered the flesh-colored pads from a mail-order catalog called Fredericks of Hollywood and paid for them with baby-sitting money. At the first pageant meeting, the director warned us not to pad our swimsuits. We were told the judges would
subtract points from any contestant who created a “false impression.” Then the shocker: Before competing in swimsuit, each of us would undergo a breast-check administered by a nurse. How could I endure some stranger’s hands
inside my swimsuit?!?! Even worse, how could I walk on stage in an unpadded swimsuit? Then, almost like a whisper, I heard the word “pretend.” I pictured the little girl in me playing beauty queen, pretending to have the perfect body,
and the solution seemed simple: Let the little girl in me model the swimsuit. After all, she had rehearsed since childhood. The little girl in me was always ready for her “next” performance.
The night of the Pageant, everyone learned-- the examining nurse called in sick. Not missing a beat, one of the Jaycee wives volunteered to be the “Chest-Checker.” With surprising confidence
the young woman put her hand down the front of each contestant’s swimsuit and did a thorough “feel-check.”
The checker-volunteer appeared to enjoy
her moment-of- importance-- as her hand moved slowly inside each contestant’s swimsuit top---in, under, and around each breast-- then lingering a few seconds on top of each breast. Maybe it was my imagination but I could swear her hand spent
more time inside my swimsuit-- than those of the other contestants. Remembering that night, I wonder what would have happened if the checker had found padding or falsies inside any contestant’s swimsuit??!?!? Think of the headlines”
“A MISS PINE BLUFF CONTESTANT was removed from the pageant because she didn’t “measure up!” -- Or -- “Contestant caught falsifying her assets and—won’t be allowed to compete in the MISS PINE BLUFF PAGEANT!”
After a full night of being judged in Evening Gown, Swimsuit, and Talent---I was crowned the first MISS PINE BLUFF, 1958. Two weeks later-- escorted by four state troopers--- I arrived
in Hot Springs, Arkansas. I would be competing for the title of Miss Arkansas 1958 and yes, there would be another breast-check. This time, the “checker” was an extremely -handsome medical student.
PS. One little-known but shocking fact: Six months after the Miss Pine Bluff Pageant--- a full-term baby was born to one of the Pageant’s twelve contestants. Counting backwards, the unwed
contestant had been three months pregnant when she competed in the Pageant. Fortunately, the baby information was not made public and a potential Bible-Belt scandal never materialized.
Considering all the many "what-ifs" surrounding that huge bit of information, my breast concerns appeared "small" in comparison."