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BGSU women compete for Miss Ohio title

Most young girls find themselves at one point or another imagining that they would be crowned one of the highest honors in a pageant, waving at the applauding crowd while cradling a bouquet of flowers in their arms.

For three current and former Bowling Green students, among others, this dream has come true.

Lauren Hogan, a senior majoring in Interpersonal Communications, was recently crowned Miss All-American City. She is a member of the campus organization Bacchus Gamma, and is also a peer educator.

Dance Performance and Exercise Specialist major Kristen Haas currently holds the title of Miss Maumee Valley 2007. She began competing when she was 18 years old, and has won $3,700 in scholarship money so far.

Both young women won their crowns at the Miss America Scholarship that was held on Saturday, Nov.. 4 in Maumee.

With Hogan and Haas’ preliminary titles under their belts, they will be competing in the Miss Ohio pageant this summer.

Abby Bollenbacher, former Miss Maumee Valley, is a 2006 alumni that made it to the top ten round in the Miss Ohio pageant this year. She serves as an example to BG women that they can make it far as well, which should help with pre-pagent jitters that are rather common.

“People see us on stage and think that it’s all glitz and glamour, but they don’t see us backstage getting ready and spending countless hours preparing for our interviews or our different appearances that we make,” Hogan said.

Sometimes television shows and movies, such as ‘Miss Congeniality’ and ‘Tiara Girls’, emphasize, stereotype and make fun of pageant life.

“I guess one of the biggest stereotypes is that pageant girls are nothing but princesses, or we’re all cheerleaders and homecoming queens,” Bollenbacher said. “I was neither of those things. There’s nothing wrong with being the homecoming queen or a cheerleader – I just never fit that mold.”

Haas tends to feel the same way. “People always say when I go on stage for my question do I answer, ‘world peace’, but that’s probably the worst answer you could give,” Haas said.

“I am an educated woman, and I know a lot about what’s going on with the world. The women I compete with are some of the most educated people that you will ever come across. They’ve learned more in their lives of just 20 years than people will accomplish in their whole entire lives.”

However, there is a difference between a beauty pageant and a scholarship pageant that the general public may not realize.

The Miss America circuit, whose four crowning points stand for style, success, scholarship and service, is a non-profit scholarship program that provides funds to further education for young women.

Other pageants are typically profitable programs, and they focus more on the whole beauty queen aspect.

Miss America is also based on three tiers: local, state and national levels. In order to reach the ultimate national goal, the local level must be achieved first.

In order to compete in a preliminary pageant, a personal platform must be designated for each contestant.

Bollenbacher’s platform dealt with being a campus Springboard coach, because she wanted to give back to the school in return for the help she received while conquering various obstacles throughout her own college career.

Hogan’s platform, titled “Risky Business”, is a program aimed at preventing high risk behavior in today’s youth.

She is focusing on high school aged students, and hopes that her title will help her advocate the program at different schools.

Heart disease is the issue for Haas’ platform. She wants to educate women about the disease while encouraging them to live healthier lifestyles.

So what is it like to earn a pageant title while living the life of a college student?

Hogan feels as if the crown displays her hard work. “I feel like I’m one of those people that understand that I need to get certain things done,” she said.

“I’m not going to go out and party and all of those other things they say real college students do. I want to represent myself well, and especially the organizations that I’m in.”

Note: Bowling Green student Becky Minger won Miss Northwestern Ohio last Saturday, and will be competing in Miss Ohio alongside Hogan and Haas.

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