Pageant Doesn’t Mean Perfect

Contestants share some of their slip-ups.

The Miss Delaware organization works with contestants all year to prepare them for their time on stage. Most contestants say their memories from Miss Delaware are pleasant—but that doesn’t mean perfect.

On pageant night in 1997, Alison White left the stage after the opening number with mere seconds to change into a swimsuit. With the zipper of her gown jammed, it didn’t look like she’d make it back onstage in time. “Rip it,” she told the woman who was helping her. “I can’t do that,” the woman said. “You’ll need this dress for the reception afterward. Only Miss Delaware wears her gown to that.” “Well,” White said, “I guess I better win.” She did. 

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Steffi Holmes, first runner-up in 2010, drew the straw to be first interviewed in her group of 18. The night before her interview, she set her alarm clock to give her enough time to run through a few practice questions. Holmes jokes that she slept soundly, knowing she would make a good first impression on the judges.

Alison White had a close call during
the 1997 Miss Delaware Pageant.

Alison White

The next thing she knew, there was a knock on her door and a voice saying, “Time to go.” She had slept through three alarms and two phone calls. Luckily her escort made up an excuse and other contestants helped her fix her hair and makeup to get her to the interview. 

Galen Giaccone, Miss Delaware 2008, found out that respect wasn’t easily earned from young children. While visiting a second-grade class as Miss Delaware, the students asked her age. When they found out she was 20, they were shocked. “One kid even told me I was a grandma,” Giaccone says. “I thought I had a few more years before I earned a title like that.”

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