Style

This beauty queen must be fit, feminine — and a good shot

Swimsuit? Check. Evening gown? Check. Gun — huh?

At first glance, the Miss Liberty America pageant looks like any other scholarship pageant going out there. However, its odd requirements — like needing to be CPR-certified, proficient with firearms and able to converse about historic American documents — make it sound more like a program for young Sarah Palins-in-training or Mama Grizzlies-to-be.

And that’s something its founder, Alicia Hayes-Roberts, is perfectly OK with. “It is absolutely a beauty pageant,” she told TODAYshow.com, “filled with elite, feminine patriots.”

Of firearms and fitness
Hayes-Roberts, a Toledo, Ohio-based artist who has worked as a radio personality and also as a makeup artist on “Larry King Live,” started the event, slated to debut in Las Vegas during July 4 weekend 2012, because she was outraged over how the media covers other pageants — particularly their focus on the stands contestants take during interview segments. 

“People should not be judged on their opinions, but how they answer the questions,” Hayes-Roberts said. “We all have different opinions — that’s what makes us America.”

Alicia Hayes-Roberts

And Hayes-Roberts has a rationale for every one of her pageant’s offbeat requirements.

Regarding knowledge of the founding American documents, “All young Americans should know these documents. It’s not left-wing or right-wing: All Americans should know, love, read, respect, learn and defend the Constitution.”

And the requirement that contestants be proficient with firearms is simple: “It’s in the Second Amendment,” she said.

As for one of the more traditional competition categories — swimsuit — Hayes-Roberts explained it is to assess physical fitness. “Physical fitness is all-important, but I’m not trying to cram it down someone’s throat,” she said.

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    Image: Miss USA and Miss World 2010 Alexandria Mills, first runner-up Miss Botswana Emma Wareus and runner-up Miss Venezuela Adriana Vasini celebrate at the end of the 60th Miss World pageant in Sanya

    Miss World 2010

    Beauty queens from around the globe competed at the 60th annual Miss World pageant, held on Saturday, Oct. 30 in Sanya, China. Miss United States, Alexandria Mills, beat out 114 contenders to take the crown.

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    And the winner is...

    Beauty queens from around the globe competed at the 60th annual Miss World pageant, held on Saturday, Oct. 30 in Sanya, China. Miss United States, Alexandria Mills, beat out 114 contenders to take the crown, shedding tears as she waves to the crowd.

    Mills, who hails from Kentucky, said that the other contestants nicknamed her "KFC" for Kentucky Fried Chicken, which is "Ironic", she said, "because I’m a vegetarian."

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    Winners embrace

    Alexandria Mills, Miss United States, is congratulated by 2009 Miss World Kaiane Aldorino from Gibraltar, who is wearing a white Galiano gown.

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    Crowning moment

    Former Miss World, Kaiane Aldorino of Gibraltar, crowns winner Miss United States Alexandria Mills. "I believe that this past month has made such and impact on my life, I can only imagine what the next year will bring … I want to help everyone that I possible can," Mills said in her 30-second spotlight speech before being chosen as Miss World.

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  • Image: Miss USA and Miss World 2010 Alexandria Mills, first runner-up Miss Botswana Emma Wareus and runner-up Miss Venezuela Adriana Vasini celebrate at the end of the 60th Miss World pageant in Sanya

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    Celebrate good times

    The top three -- runner-up Miss Botswana Emma Wareus, left, Miss United States Alexandria Mills, and Miss Venezuela Adriana Vasini, who placed third, celebrate at the end of the 60th Miss World pageant.

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    Moment of truth

    Miss United States Alexandria Mills, right, Miss Ireland Emma Waldron, center and Miss China Tang Xiao, left, hold hands while waiting for the announcement of the winner of the 2010 Miss World pageant contest.

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    Hi-five

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    Pop of color

    Miss Venezuela Adriana Vasini struts in her bright, flowing gown. She placed third in the competition.

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    Kind words

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    Beach babe

    Miss Puerto Rico Yara Santiago won the title of Beach Beauty before the finals, fast-tracking her to the top 25, but she didn't place in the top seven.

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    Big ambitions

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    Black beauty

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    Three times a lady

    Miss Mexico Anabel Sosa stands between Miss Mauritius Dalysha Soorga, left, and Miss Moldova Daria Zaiteva, right. None of them placed in the final rounds for Miss World.

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    Feathered frock

    Decked out in a bright red feathery number, Miss Poland Agata Szewiola, 21, dazzles the crowd.

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    Colors of the world

    Contestants show off their colorful gowns at the Miss World pageant. Many of them also performed dances from their native countries, wearing traditional grab, during the "Dances of the World" segment.

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    Beat it

    The Li dancers start off the show, performing with drums and sticks.

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    Cultural pride

    The dancers and drummers are Li, and ethnic minority group in China who live mainly on the southern Hainan island.

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Winners of this contest for patriots will be judged by an ethnically diverse panel, Hayes-Roberts promises: There will be “three black judges, three white judges, three Hispanic judges and three Asian judges,” she told TODAYshow.com. She added that “there will also be a chance for the American popular vote,” a la “American Idol” or “Dancing With the Stars.”

Not a Tea Party pageant
The fortunate winner of the pageant, Hayes-Roberts promises, will receive a raft of prizes, including a handgun or rifle of her choosing; lifetime membership in the National Rifle Association; complete dental care; a mink coat, and more.

But Miss Liberty America has responsibilities, too: She is required to “raise money for military organizations, register citizens to vote in rural areas and entertain our military at home and abroad.”

Still, make no mistake about it, Hayes-Roberts stresses: This is not a Tea Party beauty pageant. “We embrace a liberal point of view, a midstream point of view, and a conservative point of view — we put Americans first,” she told TODAYshow.com. “When did the Tea Partiers hijack the founding documents?”

Yet it’s hard to avoid the impression that there is a conservative political thrust to Miss Liberty America. One indication: The chief financial officer of the pageant organization is Hayes-Roberts’ brother Rutherford B. Hayes, a businessman who is no relation to the 19th president of the United States but has declared himself a 2012 candidate for president. If elected, he promises he’ll eliminate the IRS, withdraw the U.S. from the United Nations, and reestablish the gold standard.

“He wants to get back to the basics of how a country is run,” Hayes-Roberts said. “He’s not a Tea Partier, but I do think we’ve been taxed enough.”

Still, political or not, Hayes-Roberts is keeping a canny eye on the election calendar for her pageant’s launch in July 2012: “It is a presidential year, and this will help get people pumped up.”

 

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