By Jeanne Robertson
When it comes to Miss North Carolinas, there have been many of them through the years who scored much higher in the talent competition than yours truly. I mean, really. The ukulele? In addition, there have been plenty of them who were smarter and better looking than I. No problem on my end. More power to them.
But I think I can modestly say that if you lined all of us up and did an honest assessment, I would come out way ahead of my pageant sisters in one area. Hands down, when it comes to being Miss North Carolina, no one has milked it for more. For almost 40 years I've used humorous stories from my pageant experience to enhance my career as a professional speaker.
But even with my penchant for drawling on and on in speeches about being the tallest contestant to ever lose in the Miss America Pageant, etc., I promise I don't go around telling random strangers that I was Miss North Carolina. This is mainly because it ruins my day when people look back at me and say, "I don't believe it."
But with that said, the subject did work its way into the conversation on a flight out of Raleigh in early September. I was reading a newspaper article about there being two Miss North Carolinas at the Miss America Pageant this year. In case you were in a cave somewhere at the end of the summer and missed it, a judge gave the title to one young woman while the pageant world recognized another one. It was a mess. Anyway, there I sat on the plane, reading about the situation, when the man next to me pointed toward the paper and said, "Now that thar's sumphin, idn't it?" I knew he was from North Carolina too. He sounded like I do.
"Yeah, it is sumphin," I told him. Then, and I reiterate, I don't normally say this to perfect strangers, but admit that right there I said, "It's particularly interesting to me. Thirty-nine years ago I was Miss North Carolina."
He said, "Humph. Miss North Carolina is getting to be like Santa Claus. One on every corner."
Jeanne Robertson, professional speaker and author, can be reached through
Photo by Kleeberg Studio.