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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mormon World Records 6: Pageants

by Seattle Jon (bio)

Paul Skousen might not be the best known of the Skousens, but he did pen The Skousen Book of Mormon World Records. This is my tribute series to his good work. Previous Mormon World Records here.

QWho was the first member of the church to win the Miss Universe pageant?
A: The first member of the church to win the Miss Universe pageant was Linda Bement, Parley's 1st Ward, Parley's Stake, Salt Lake City, in 1960. Months after graduating from high school, Sister Bement won the Miss Utah and Miss USA contests and was crowned Miss Universe that same year. Bement tells of the counsel she received from President David O. McKay shortly after returning home from the pageant in Florida: "We met in his office one day, and he was so happy about me winning," she said. "He looked me in the eye and said, 'Don't forget you represent the youth of America.' I was so impressed that he wanted me to be a good example to more than Mormon youth ... he was thinking of America's youth."

Q: Can you give me two examples of future Miss Universes?
A: Christy Ann Cheney, 2, of the Yucaipa 2nd Ward, San Bernardino, California, East Stake, won the Miss Gorgeous Eyes 1983 context. Previously she had won the Miss Dream Girl California contest. Brittany Lynn Harper, 13 months old, of the Las Vegas 23rd Ward, won the 1988 National Pee Wee Miss of America contest. She received a fur coat, scepter, satin monogrammed sash, a U.S. savings bond, and a wardrobe.

QHas an LDS man ever won the Mr. Clean look-alike contest?
A: The only LDS man to win the distinction of resembling Mr. Clean is Wayne O'Dell, Mesa, Arizona. His shining bald head, prominent ear lobes and glistening smile helped him wipe away the competition in the 1985 Southwest Regional of the Mr. Clean look-alike contest.

Q: Has mormon modesty ever interfered with pageant rules?
A: For a long time, Utah was the only state that didn't hold a swimsuit competition for its Miss Utah/America contest. The broken rule was excused by Miss America pageant officials in Atlantic City in 1979 only because of "strong objections" in Utah, but there is no such exemption when Miss Utah arrives for the Atlantic City pageant.

QSpeaking of swimsuits, what's up with the swimsuits BYU used to issue to coeds?
A: The BYU-issued swimsuit for women was, for two decades, a baggy, shapeless, ugliness worn and abhorred by nearly every coed who dared wear one to swim in the indoor pools. The suit prompted one single BYU male to boldly declare: "If I ever see a coed who looks good in one of those suits, I'm going to marry her." But by 1988 a more stylish suit was approved, much to the relief of males and females alike.

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