Crosby to compete for Miss New Hampshire
By Whitney Buckholz
Published on Friday, August 3, 2007
Dressed in a bias-cut, blue satin evening gown, Brittany Crosby '09 qualified to compete for the title of Miss New Hampshire -- scheduled for May 2008 -- by winning the crown of Miss Stratham Fair in Stratham, N.H., on July 27. Crosby said the fair, her first outdoor pageant, was "a lot of fun," though more intimidating than her past competitions because of a large crowd.
Pageants are divided into five events: talent, pre-competition and on-stage interviews, evening wear and swimsuit. Though Crosby's talent, slam poetry, is typically a big crowd pleaser, she says her favorite parts of the competition are the interviews and swimsuit.
Crosby's platform is promoting a healthy self-esteem in teens and adolescents.
"I want to encourage others to be there to support others in their communities, and to believe in them," she said.
To put her platform in action, Crosby plans to speak at middle schools and high schools across the state. She also hopes to write a poem that expresses her message, which she can perform during her talks.
Crosby said that the stereotype that beauty pageant contestants are shallow is wrong. Most of the girls on the circuit are "down to earth ... very laid back," she said, and compete in hopes of winning scholarships. Crosby also said that the girls are supportive and track each other's progress in competitions and keep in touch through Facebook.com.
To dispel their negative image, Crosby hopes pageant contestants can "diffuse knowledge" by reaching out and becoming active members in their communities to show that they're more than just "pretty faces."
Growing up in New Jersey, Crosby watched the Miss America pageant every year and at one point told her mother that she dreamed of one day winning the crown. A few years ago, her mother reminded her of her childhood dream, and Crosby decided to give pageants a try. She participated in her first pageant when she was 14 and then another when she was 16.
Crosby entered the Miss America circuit in October of last year, in part because its competitions are free and the prizes are scholarships. After placing 2nd-runner up in her first pageant, she decided to continue competing, receiving advice and "tweaking" her performance after each pageant. The Stratham Fair was her sixth competition on the circuit.
She said she still feels like she has a lot to learn, however, in part because she has decided not to hire a pageant coach. Instead, Crosby tries to learn by researching online. She also talks to contestants who have aged out of the Miss America circuit -- age limitations prohibit contestants over the age of 24 Â-- who are typically very willing to give advice, and sometimes even pass down old dresses.
Despite her busy pageant schedule, Crosby manages to lead a regular life on campus.
"I really need time-management skills," she said.
Since she considers the pageant world "a separate culture," Crosby said she doesn't talk about her competitions too often while on campus. Only her close friends receive regular updates on her achievements.
Instead of bringing her pageant life to Dartmouth, Crosby focuses on her many on-campus commitments, such as performing with the Soul Scribes and Summer Casual Thursday, serving as a member of the Nathan Smith Society for students interested in medicine and working at Lone Pine Tavern. Though she has yet to declare her academic major, Crosby plans to study English.
Since Crosby cannot compete until the Miss New Hampshire competition in May, she plans to spend her time improving her technique.
"I'm really glad there's so much time until May. Until then I plan to perfect my performance in each of the five categories," Crosby said.
She also hopes to work more on her platform and to get a chance to travel and observe pageants in different regions of the country.
Currently a resident of Colorado, Crosby also has to study her New Hampshire trivia to prepare to represent the state.
Crosby's parents are very supportive of her participation in pageants and were thrilled by her recent victory. In fact, Crosby's mother was so excited she hung up on her daughter after hearing the news so that she could call the rest of the family. Though they do not get to see many of their daughter's competitions, her parents are already making plans to come east to watch Crosby compete in May's pageant.