Judging Miss Seattle — NOT easy!
They said it’d be tough! And they were right. My goodness! The 12 contestants for the title of Miss Seattle were a fabulous bunch, and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all of them. For judges — 3 local, two flown in from out of town — we had a great experience and worked together very well. I appreciated meeting the other judges, and pulled on their previous experiences as judges in the Miss America program to make sure I was doing okay.
8 am came early! We started our day early Saturday morning — interviewing each contestant about a variety of topics. Every imaginable question came up, and even some I didn’t expect. Certainly, they were all things a potential Miss Washington needs to know. Plus, it’s a great chance to see how the young women think on their feet. Not all the questions were curveballs — some (like mine) were predictable, but gave the women a chance to catch their breath and compose their thoughts. (I’ve been on the other side of the judges panel a million years ago, and yes, it can be a little intimidating no matter how well prepared you think you are).
On to dinner. Of course, the minute I left my house for Renton (where the pageant was taking place), it started to seriously pour rain, and the drive was awful. I made it to the restaurant, where all the judges gathered to get to know each other a little better. A very diverse, but knowledgable group — and we all really hit it off!
Then the pageant. I haven’t been to a pageant in years, since I judged when I lived in California, but it was fun! The Miss Seattle pageant is quite the production, and Cheryl Siegfried and her crew outdid themselves. The swimsuit competition shows the women’s fitness (and level of comfort wearing a 2-piece in front of a crowd). Talent was great — from piano, to singing to the zither (a Chinese harp) to even sewing onstage. Some tough onstage questions, but most handled them with grace. But my favorite was the evening gown competition. What I wouldn’t give to look like that in those dresses!!! All the contestants sparkled, and winners need to have that undefinable presence that makes them stand out.
And the winner is ….. Lauren Kuhn, Miss Seattle 2011. Lauren was that standout, all the way through competition. Believe me, the runners up are right there, too, but Lauren was consistent all the way through. My congratulations to her, and I know she will be a top representative of Seattle as she goes on to promote Seattle throughout the year, and represent us at the Miss Washington pageant next year! Congrats to all the contestants! You did a terrific job, and I’m excited to have met you.