“Ben Dover,” better known as Kristin Gilmore, health promotions graduate student, and “Lady Hollyweird,” or Jamarious Wicker, sophomore theater major, were named the 2011 Mr. and Ms. ESU at PRIDE’s alternative beauty pageant last Thursday.
“Winning was great, I had so much of fun, like I said in the show I’ve come a long way – this has really boosted my confidence,” Gilmore said. “I never would’ve seen myself doing this four years ago.”
Despite some costume malfunctions throughout the show, Wicker was still very excited to win and enjoyed the fact that his dance partner, Gilmore, also won the crown. He said this was his last year for doing the show because it was so much work, but he loved the experience.
Last year’s Ms. ESU, Austin Schopper, senior secondary English education major, hosted the show under the stage name “Valerie.”
“I (was) most excited to see the new talent this year – we didn’t have anyone that competed last year compete this year,” Schopper said.
The first event was the catwalk, followed by the talent portion, then an interview with the three judges, Giovanna Follo, assistant professor of sociology, Edward Emmer, assistant professor of social sciences, and Michelle Hernandez, the adviser for PRIDE.
Schopper’s stylist for the event was Shanon Fletcher, a stylist at Salon Del5ive, who did his hair, make up and even a waxing for the show. She said she enjoyed the challenge and all the hectic activity that happened backstage.
Schopper started the event with a dance number showing off some of the skills that won him last year’s crown such as a cartwheel in high heels. Then the rest of the participants joined in the dance number.
There were poetry readings and song and dance numbers. The questions posed by the judges offered the contestants an opportunity to show how well they could stay in character.
Emmer enjoyed the whole show and the opportunity to get a new perspective since he had just been an audience member for the previous year’s show.
Richard Stephenson, junior chemistry major, while under the stage name “Mindy the Mennonite,” sang Marilyn Monroe’s “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.”
“I’m just strutting my stuff, showing off what I have, letting it be judged in the harshest competition Emporia has to offer,” Stephenson said.
PRIDE President Josh Smith said the group plans to continue the show next year and keep drawing in the crowd.