Miss America for President?
Among the most famous beauty queens that transitioned into the political world is Sarah Palin. She won the second runner-up spot at the 1984 Miss Alaska pageant and went on to become the Governor of Alaska and eventually to run alongside Republican presidential nominee John McCain in 2008.
Likewise, Democrat Shelli Yoder was named second-runner up at the 1993 Miss America pageant and is currently running for U.S. Congress to represent the 9th District of Indiana.
Erika Harold, who won the 2003 Miss America pageant, went on to pursue a spot in the U.S. House of Representatives from the 13th District of Indiana in 2012. Unfortunately, she did not win the Republican Party’s approval in the primaries.
Currently, Republican Miss Hawaii 2011 Lauren Cheape is running to represent the 45th District of Hawaii in the U.S. House, and Democrat Miss Vermont 2010 Caroline Bright is hoping to be elected to the Vermont Senate.
Caroline Bright offered her explanation for the beauty-queen-turned-politician trend: “We’re trained for it. We spent all year getting ready to do this job [of Miss America], which has the same qualifications you need to run for public office.”
Does it really? The pageant was originally an apolitical, bathing-suit beauty contest, and had nothing to do with the political realm. Even this year’s winner Laura Kaeppeler declined to declare her political affiliation in the final interview portion, stating, “Miss America represents everyone.”
If the trend continues, hopefully the pageant will do more than teach its wannabe politicians to parade around in a bikini.