Lights flashed, cameras snapped and hair swung as 33 young women were featured in the 42nd Annual Miss Calendar Girl Scholarship Pageant. Girls from all over the world introduced themselves in hopes of becoming one of the lucky ladies to grace the cover and possibly snatch a month for the 2010- 2011 school calendar. Through their talents and platforms, nine participants competed to gain the title of Miss Cover Girl. ” I wouldn’t compare this to anything. This is Grambling’s Miss America pageant,” said first time attendant Dr. Frank Pogue, interim president. Even though the pageant did not start on time, the audience didn’t seem to be bothered as one could see the parade of signs being held up to show who they were cheering for. As the lights dimmed the music began and the opening spectacular and parade of contestants begin to fill the stage. The opening number was complete with red cocktail dresses as they sashayed around a Parisian themed background allowing each contestant to stand out in her splendor.
Described by Leon Thomas, “Paris is a place where fashion, art and style is at its best.” Then, joining the participants toward the end of the song, Miss Cover Girl 2009-2010 Krystle Cravens took the stage. The theme for the event was of Parisian inspiration. After the opening Mekayel Luke, president of the Favrot Student Union board, welcomed everyone on behalf of the union and wished all of the contestants luck. The mistress and master of ceremony for the pageant were senior mass communication major Jalissa Meredith and Grambling alumus Leon Thomas. Cravens later gave a brief history of the pageant and past Cover Girls who were in attendance.
Special entertainment for the first half of the evening was by the Orchesis Dance Company, who performed to Sam Sparro’s “Black and Gold.”
Following the parade of daywear was special entertainment by First Runner Up Miss Cover Girl 2009-2010 Qwanelia Williams singing a spiritual and enriching song “When You Believe”.
Next, the vying contestants were able to showcase their entertaining side, wearing bathing suits during the swimwear portion. Each of the young ladies expressed their own sense of style in their swimwear, but it was contestant Breanna Haile who wowed the crowd, putting an insightful spin on her attire, turning it into a sailor outfit.
After the swimwear portion following a brief intermission, the announcers for the evening introduced the judges panel to the audience. The arbitrators for the pageant were Dr. Ruby Higgins, Hazel Hunter, David Aubrey, Gloria J. George and Dr. Albert Tezeno, new university financial aid director.
Following the intermission was the talent portion. Outgoing Miss Cover Girl Cravens opened the segment dancing to Britney Spears’ “Womanizer.” While the objective on the contestants mind was to secure the crown, it seemed as if the competitors placed their vibrant zest in their talent. The Talent portion was exquisitely diverse this year leaving the audience spellbound.
Winner Brittney Brown preformed a dance number to One Republic and Timberland’s hit “Apologize”, contestant Jasmine Bryant also preformed a wonderful dance number to Maxwell’s single “Pretty Wings.” Cover Girl contestant Chelsea Goins performed on saxophone Stevie Wonder’s “Ribbon in the Sky” and a standout spoken word performance was given by St. Lucian native Julietta Gonzague.
The audience was swayed and captivated as Salea Hayes belted out “Perfect Man” by Jenifer Hudson. “The talent portion was my favoriate I enjoyed the versatility of the students it displayed and added excited” said junior Damien Blythers. It was Ariel Hunter’s rendition of Whitney Houston’s” I have nothing” that would award her with Ms. Talent. Noteworthy performances also came in the form of a Gymnastics performance by Courtney Mackey a spoken word peace entitled “What if I am a Black Woman” from Laquiesha Norwood and Brittany Rhodes performance of spoken artistry telling the audience to trust in God.
The final event for the night was the parade of eveningwear in which the young ladies showcased their formal gowns and were afforded the opportunity to self-express themselves. Cravens did her farewell walk as the time had come for her to pass the Cover Girl torch to someone else.
After Cravens’ walk, it was then time to announce the winners and while everyone was impatiently waiting to hear the results, both the Master and Mistress of Ceremonies teased and toyed with the crowd for a while, until the winners of the Calendar Girl Pageant were announced:
Miss August- Courtney Nance, Miss September and Best Sense of Style- Hollye Williams, Miss October- Shay Synigal, Miss November- Chasity Williams, Miss December- Myeisha Casmire, Miss January- Mambo Ndingwan, Miss February- Shanee’ Kearns, Miss March- Cressida Montgomery, Miss April- Lauren Rock, Miss May- Terion Glenn, Miss June- Tiffanie Wiley, and Miss July- Toniesha Mack.
Following the announcement of the Calendar Girl winners was the crowning of Miss Cover Girl 2010-2011. Second runner-up and winner of Best Interview and Best Swimwear was Courtney MacKey, First runner up and winner of Miss Academic & Miss Congeniality was Julie Gonzague. Chelsea Goins won the award for Most Patrons and Best Ad and Ariel Hunter received recognition for Best Talent. The crown for Miss Cover Girl went to Illinois native Brittney Brown who responded in stunned silence toward her success.