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Miss Teen USA - From Winner to Judge

By: Sindy

I sat down with Vanessa Minnillo who is a former Miss Teen USA and now a new VJ for MTV. Vanessa is going to be a judge for the 2003 Miss Teen USA pageant on August 12, 2003. Now I know there are a lot of KW girls who have been in pageants or wanna be, so we asked Vanessa some questions about winning Miss Teen USA and about being a judge. Check it out peeps!

Sindy: Hey Vanessa, I know the girls competing in Miss Teen USA have a crazy week before the televised pageant, but do judges have a lot to do in the days before the Miss Teen USA pageant airs?

Vanessa Minnillo: We don't do anything before because there are preliminary judges who take care of narrowing the 51 girls down to 10. So, if anything, they try to keep us as far away from everything as possible and then the day of we'll get a briefing on the scoring and all that.

Sindy: Is there major responsibility and pressure that comes with being a judge?

Vanessa Minnillo: We sign a waiver saying that we don't work for the organization, we won't discriminate and we'll give everyone equal opportunity. They also give you a little pamphlet explaining to you how much you are going to affect this girl's life. They try and educate you, and give you literature on what you're doing.

Sindy: I guess you understand, better than others, about the affect winning Miss Teen USA can have on a life. Tell us how winning the pageant changed your life.

Vanessa Minnillo: Miss Teen USA has been an unbelievably positive experience. It opened so many opportunities for me. I am living the life I am right now because of that one pageant. I am in New York and I am a new VJ for MTV, we just shot 30 episodes for a summer show, The Morning After, and I'm moving to the city within the next month.

Sindy: Should girls who haven't been in pageants since they were little worry about being a rookie?

Vanessa Minnillo: Definitely not. My very first pageant was State - South Carolina. My boyfriend's dad talked me into it. I was working at a State Farm Insurance and a girl came in looking for sponsorship for a pageant and he gave her $200. I thought, wow, that's how it works. He told me to call and sign up, but it cost $900 at the time and I didn't have the money. Within 24 hours my boyfiend's dad had 10 people donate $100 so I could enter. Still, we had no idea I would win. I didn't realize that once I won, I would have to go to Nationals and represent the state. It was a good three weeks at Nationals and I was up against big hitters like Texas and Illinois - those girls are born and bred for pageants. But I thought I might as well have fun, maybe I'll win Miss Congeniality, or something. So, I had a blast and actually did win Congeniality - which was such a blessing. I was the dark horse candidate but I ended up winning it all.

Sindy: As a judge now, what do you think is the most important quality - the one you'll be looking for in Miss Teen USA 2003?

Vanessa Minnillo: A girl who knows who they are and shows it. I will support girls who go to coaches and get constructive critism but what they should take it as is something to enhance what they already have. I'm looking for someone who knows what they already have. I don't know how many times I have met very cool, down-to-earth girls but the minute they get on stage they conform to what they've been told to do, or be. You have to always remember to be yourself.

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    F1060636395453

    Most Important Teen USA Quality?

    • She's got to be original and self-confident.
    • She should smile a lot and be friendly.
    • She should be really pretty.
    • She should be very smart.

    Dear Dish-It In The Forums

    KayKayZ
    KayKayZ posted in Friends:
    Hmm, okay, well I'll try to give you the best advice that I can, Error. So you say you don't like your friend for a number of reasons: Liar, bad influence, uses swear words, too blunt, etc. I feel like some of these could be over-looked, such as the swearing and the 'bad influence' part. Really, all you have to do is just not copy her actions, and they won't be influential at all. If you disagree, it shouldn't be hard to just refuse to follow in her steps. However, lying isn't the best quality I would look for in a friend.  She doesn't seem like an enjoyable person to be around in general, which is why you are making this post, obviously. But I'm gonna ask you something here. Don't you think that, in a way, you're lying too? You're pretending to be her friend solely for purposes of monetary value because, I assume, your family cannot pay for or get you to gymnastic class themselves. If this is true, that's kind of bad, isn't it? It sounds like, to me, that your friendship isn't exactly a healthy relationship at all. But I'm gonna sympathize with you, since I know gymnastics must be important to you, and you wouldn't be doing this if you didn't have a good reason. So, what should you do about it? Well, personally I think there are a few things you could do. You could stop being her friend, therefore no longer having to deal with her; but in the process lose access to your gymnastics class and have to look for it in another way. On the flip side, you could continue to put up with her, which would probably not be in your best interests, but you'd still get to attend your class. Or, you could try talking to her about it. Ask her what she really thinks of your friendship, if she actually values you as her friend. Maybe you two can talk about problems that you're having with each other and work on fixing them. This option could have negative effects, since she might want to stop being your friend or things could become very awkward after that. But it's probably your best bet to be honest with her, as you'd hope she would be with you. How about if you tried being really nice to her? Kindness is contagious, and perhaps if you treat her well enough, she'll start doing the same to you. I feel like maybe if you complimented her, told her things that you really like about her, maybe even got her gifts or made her food once in a while, that she would come to appreciate you and all that you do for her. And in turn, she might start to respect you more herself, and become a good friend. That's about all I can say. If you're close enough with her mom, maybe you could even try asking her about her daughter and see if she can give you any advice. Hopefully that helped in some way, but if it didn't, maybe it at least made you think? I hope your problem gets resolved, Error, and you can be content with the outcome of it. :-)
    reply about 21 hours
    Error101
    Error101 posted in Friends:
    Okay so I have this friend and I don't like the type of person she is and I wouldn't be friends with her but her mom takes me to gymnastics every week.  I  had her over to spend the night and she lied about everything to me.  She kept telling me that she used to think I was weird and she didn't like me and it kind of hurt my feelings...  I would never tell someone that even if it was true.  She cusses and is a bad influence and she lies a ton.  There are a ton of bad qualities about her, and very few good ones.  I can't be mean to her because she is how I get to gymnastics but I don't really want to be her friend.  What should I do?  :(
    reply 1 day
    Wonderfulcalico
    My parents have always been aggressive and abusive and I only just noticed it a couple months ago. Over time they've gotten worse (specifically my mother). Whenever she gets mad she'll yell at us and if she gets mad enough she'll hit and push us around. Whoever we get into arguments it's always one- sided and she always wins, even if she knows she is wrong. An argument we had not to long ago was about me not taking care of myself. She looked at my hair and started to touch it and told me "Your hair isn't soft why is it so dry, it's probably because you aren't taking care of your hair." Then she goes on to tell me that she's going to cut it and all of this other stuff when she knows I'm conscious about me looking like a boy ( Used to get called a boy for having short hair). As the argument goes on, I start to tell her things that she knows she is wrong about. She proceeds to yell at me then grabs me by the face and say "If you don't lower your tone and listen to what I'm saying I'm going to knock you in the head." Then she goes on to tell me she remembers nothing I was saying and that it's a lie. She also hit me when I didn't clean the laundry room correctly and whenever she gets fed up. I'm constantly having to watch what I say and do, because I'm scared that I'm going to end up hurt. She also likes to degrade me and tell how bad I'm doing. She's said plenty of thing like when I didn't have my bed covers tucked in she yelled at me and hit me and I said "Do you expect me to just stand here and take this", and she replied saying "That's what you are supposed to do you are the child and I am the adult, you take whatever I do until I'm done." Another time is when I had my band concert and I had to pick out the right attire. When we went shopping to get the clothing I chose slacks when she liked a skirt better, we went on to fight in the store and she bought the slacks. When we got home she said to me that real girls wear skirts and dresses and boys wear slacks and pants. This hurt me because she knows I have a past with people telling me I look like a boy etc. Another time I started to sleep on the floor, because I was practicing a minimalist life. When I left my pillows on the floor she found it and questioned me on why they were there. I told her it fell of my bed when really I left it there. Later when I told my dad, he told her and she got mad because I was getting cat hair on my pillows. She then proceeded to ask why I lied and I told her sometimes lying is better then the truth (I knew she would get mad that I was sleeping on the floor so I lied) then she told me that I was never going to have a relationship, a job, or friends ( This hurt me because I don't have friends now). She's also said that I don't take care of my body because I ate two sweets in one day which lead her to banning me from Doritos and now I have to ask to get chips and any other snack. She's told me I don't take care of my teeth because I have yellow spots from using whitening toothpaste with braces on. She's told me I don't take care of my hair so I can't wash it or do any hair style or then a bun. She had lead me to starving myself (Unless she makes me eat) and cutting myself. I've just stopped caring, because what ever I do is always wrong. I never get a choice in my activities, she controls my life in fact she me just in a different body. But what is even worse is that she's turning my dad into her. Now I have a scheduled time to eat breakfast and lunch, and to go onto my electronics. I feel like I'm in a prison with my parents constantly watching over me, in fact yesterday when I was pouring my milk my mom got out a measuring cup and poured my milk into the measuring cup and said "Why isn't this a full cup" and I replied saying "Because I don't measure my milk." Then she got angry at me. There's so much I could say about her, but I'll stop. Anyways my father is always sarcastic and he doesn't realize how much it hurts me. Today I was cleaning out my bag for next school year and my dad came in and said, "Wow, you aren't even dress yet and I had to come up here to tell you how sad." Just little things like that hurt me. My little sister got mad at me last week for sitting in a certain area and she said " Why are you sitting there," and I didn't reply because I didn't want to speak to her and she then said, "Probably because you are too stupid to answer." I wanted to break down crying then and there, but I kept it in. I've limited my talking to her, because all she does is break me down. Like when there was a Proactive commercial and she said, "Ha, you need that." That hurt me because just the other my mom was telling me how I don't take care of my face and that's why I have acne. My older sister and I barely talk, because whenever I try to talk to her she's mad for what ever reason and when my parents were talking about hitting my sister she was in the corner laughing. My cat Preston is very young and I got hi,abo a year ago. I get very sad and often cry, because I've seen him turn out scared and aggressive just like me because he's been through what I have. One time he pooped in a clothes basket (It's right next to his litter box) my mom grabbed him by the neck and hit him while she smothered his face in his poop, all while yelling at him. I was going to call the Animal Protective Services, but I got too scared and I realized how lonely I would be. Please help me I'm not sure what to do anymore. Also sorry for the very long post!
    reply 4 days
    Error101
    Error101 posted in Family Issues:
    Dear Kkmr324, I hope you get to feeling better as time goes on.  It does get better but like you said you can't actually get over it.  Losing someone to cancer is awful and I have never lost a friend and I hope I never will and I am so sorry that you did, but I have lost family to cancer and it is horrible.  I hope your okay. :(
    reply 6 days
    Kkrmr324
    Kkrmr324 posted in Family Issues:
    A few months ago,my friend Kendall died of cancer. It was really hard to "get over it"; because really you dont just get over it. One thing i did was find a bunch of pictures of me and Kendall and remembered all the fun we had together. And it helped! I still miss her, but good friends and family helped with that.
    reply 8 days