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News and Events
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January 22, 2006
Miss America Pageant Judges Crown Miss Oklahoma, Jennifer Berry Their 2006 Winner


On Saturday, January 21st, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada, a new Miss America was crowned. Her name is Jennifer Berry. The other title she proudly wears? Miss Oklahoma. In Oklahoma, she beat Morgan Long, Jennifer Warren, Lindsey Miller and Stephanie Poplin. In Las Vegas, Jennifer beat over forty contestants and then fellow top-ten finalists Shannon Schambeau, Erika Grace Powell, Kristi Lauren Glakas, Monica Pang, Morgan Matlock, Eudora Mosby, Nicole Brewer, Alexa Jones and Mari Wilensky. Over the next year, Jennifer will travel approximately 20,000 miles each month in the spotlight, coast-to-coast, during her twelve months of service. She will change her location every 18 - 36 hours and reach out to support charitable and community endeavors that characterize her present-day image.

Jennifer is a twenty-two year-old University of Oklahoma student originally from Tulsa.

Berry wowed the judges on both Wednesday night in the preliminary talent competition and again on Saturday night.

The talent she demonstrated was a superb ballet en pointe performance.

Miss.America.2006.swimsuit.jpg Miss Oklahoma in The Miss America '06 Swimsuit Competition AP Photo Credit: Jae C. Hong

She also looked stunning during the swimsuit competition.

The judges responsible for crowning Jennifer this year's Miss America included:

Leeza Gibbons

Miss America 1985 Sharlene Hawkes

Actress Jane Kaczmarek

Brian McKnight

Football legend Jerry Rice: The Ultimate Receiver

Actress Brenda Strong

Robert Verdi

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Miss.America.2006.contestan.jpg Miss America Contestants with Jay Leno AP / NBC Photo Credit: Dave Djerke

In this publicity photograph released by NBC, host Jay Leno posed with the 2006 Miss America contestants after taping 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,' on Thursday, January 12th, 2006, in Burbank, California.

Miss.Utah.swimsuit.winner.jpg Miss America '06 1-of-3 Preliminary Swimsuit Winners, Miss Utah

On Tuesday night -- before Saturday's final -- the preliminary swimsuit winner was Miss Utah, Julia Marie Bachison.

The other two preliminary swimsuit winners were Kristi Lauren Glakas, Miss Virginia and Shannon Schambeau, Miss District of Columbia.

On Wednesday night, Miss "OK", Jennifer Berry was the talent winner.

The previous night, Erika Grace Powell, Miss South Carolina was the preliminary talent winner. Erika sang her way to the win.

And on Day Three, Dustin-Leigh Konzelman, Miss California (originally from Carlsbad) won the preliminary talent competition for her performance on the fiddle.

The swimsuit competition was worth 15 percent of the contestant's preliminary score. The talent portion counted for 35 percent.

Miss.Hawaii.America.2006.jpg Miss Hawaii, Malika Dudley named Miss Congeniality at the 2006 Miss America pageant. AP Photo Credit: Sam Morris

Miss Hawaii, Malika Dudley was named Miss Congeniality during the pageant. The Miss Congeniality "prize" was awarded from the first time since 1974.

The Miss Congeniality Award is the only award voted on solely by contestants, and is given to the contestant who is most liked and respected by her peers.

On the final competition night, the Top Ten contestants included (in random order):

Miss District of Columbia, Shannon Schambeau

Miss South Carolina, Erika Grace Powell

Miss Oklahoma, Jennifer Berry

Miss Virginia, Kristi Lauren Glakas

Miss Georgia, Monica Pang

Miss Texas, Morgan Matlock

Miss Arkansas, Eudora Mosby

Miss Pennsylvania, Nicole Brewer

Miss Alabama, Alexa Jones

Miss Florida, Mari Wilensky

All 10 semifinalists competed in the swimsuit and evening wear competition.

Miss America 2005 Deidre Downs, who reigned for 16 months instead of the usual 12 because of scheduling changes, said prior to Saturday night's competition:

The Miss America Organization has completely changed my life.

It paid my entire way through college and it will pay for over half of my medical school education.

I look forward to a day when everyone knows what a positive organization this is, and how it changes people's lives and helps them to achieve their dreams.

I think it's fantastic that we are working with The Philadelphia Foundation to build our scholarship fund and raise awareness for the program.

This year's pageant aired live, for the first time, on the Country Music Television (CMT).

The competition took place at The Aladdin Resort in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas was chosen after years of declining interest from its longtime base in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Even the new Miss America said she hoped to help the scholarship organization by creating interest and marketing it to a younger crowd -- 18-34.

"I hope to have sponsors knocking on our door," Berry said after winning the crown Saturday night.

Miss.America.06.There.She.I.jpg "There She Is ... Miss America" Reuters Photo Credit: Tim Shaffer

The late Bert Parks, who emceed the pageant for twenty-five years, was there in spirit on Saturday night in Las Vegas. This year, James Denton from ABC's "Desperate Housewives" was the pageant's host. However, when it came time for the newly crowned Jennifer Berry to take the customary winner's walk, the producers of the show used a recording of Bert Parks' "There She Is, Miss America."

Miss.Oklahoma.Georgia.2006.jpg Miss Georgia Embraces Miss Oklahoma AP Photo Credit: Jae C. Hong

Jennifer beat first runner up Monica Pang, Miss Georgia. Monica was the first to congratulate Jennifer on Saturday night.

Miss.America.06.Miss.Georgi.jpg The perfect soulful reaction!

Jennifer's reaction was priceless. And Monica's was genuinely gracious.

While Monica did not win the grand prize, she won our award for "most rugged elegant attire" during her talent competition.

We loved her black pants, dress and belt. Gorgeous!

Tell me where I can buy the same -- from head-to-toe.

Miss Georgia, Monica Pang
AP Photo Credit: Sam Morris

About Miss America 2006

Jennifer Berry is the daughter of Tom and Kay Berry. She has one sister, Kim and a brother-in-law Josiah.

After she was crowned, Jennifer's father was invited to the stage to congratulate his daughter.


Jenks High School

University of Oklahoma-undergraduate, Elementary Education

Scholastic Ambition:

To obtain a Masters Degree in Education

Miss.America.06.ballerina.jpg Ballerina Jennifer Berry Reuters Photo Credit: Tim Shaffer

Talent: Ballet en Pointe

Scholastic Honors:

President's Honor Roll -- University of Oklahoma; Dean's Honor Roll; DECA State Marketing Competition Award

Career Ambition: To become an Elementary School Teacher

Local Competition Sponsor:

Miss Grand Lake Scholarship Pageant

State Competition Sponsor:

Miss Oklahoma Scholarship Pageant

Jennifer's Miss America title includes a $30,000 scholarship to continue her education.

She has also earned a year-long speaking tour.

While every woman had a platform for giving back to society, Jennifer's was and is Building Intolerance to Drunk Driving and Underage Drinking.

Berry pledged to advocate the prevention of drunken driving, a cause she chose because a childhood friend died in an alcohol-related crash at the young age of 16.

"I realized she did not have to die," Berry said. "She died from a decision, not a disease."

For a more comprehensive bio on Jennifer and her passions, please go to:

First & Second Runner-Up

The first runner-up of the Miss America 2006 pageant is Miss Georgia, of Atlanta, Georgia. She earned a $20,000 scholarship after a piano performance of Chopin's "Polonaise in G Sharp Minor."

Monica Pang holds a B.A. in Consumer Journalism from the University of Georgia and hopes to become a producer in the music industry.

Second runner-up honors and a $15,000 award went to Miss Alabama Alexa Jones of Andalusia, Alabama.

Miss Virginia Kristi Lauren Glakas took home a $10,000 award as third runner-up.

Miss District of Columbia Shannon Schambeau earned an $8,000 scholarship as fourth runner-up.

About Country Music Television

Over the past two years, CMT has experienced record growth with 2005 poised to surpass last year as CMT's most-watched year ever. Known for its dedication to music, CMT is America's most popular country music network reaching more than 77 million households.

In addition to world premiere videos, live concerts and events by established country music artists and new cutting-edge acts, CMT also produces original entertainment programming and specials.

CMT is owned and operated by MTV Networks.

CMT will retain Miss America telecast rights through 2007, with options through 2011.

On Saturday night, CMT's Katie Cook reported from backstage.

"'Miss America' very much appeals to the heartland of America and is a logical extension for CMT, which beyond just the music, specializes in honest, authentic storytelling," said Brian Philips, executive vice president and general manager, CMT. "We are passionate about taking this iconic brand and making it a signature event for CMT."

To explore country music's website at:

On CMT's site, a poll is currently being conducted which asks their audience what is their favorite element of the Miss America pageant.

At the time of publication, the current standing is as follows:

Crowning Moment - 21%
Parade of Stars - 9%
Evening Gown Competition - 45%
Swimsuit Competition - 12%
Host James Denton - 12%
Talent Competition - 6%

My answer? The crowning moment!


About The Miss America Organization

The Miss America Organization began in 1921.

By the year 2000, the organization celebrated its 80th Anniversary.

And in 2004, Miss America celebrated 50 years on television.

Today, the Miss America Organization is one of the nation's leading achievement programs and the world's largest provider of scholarship assistance for young women.

Last year, the Miss America Organization and its state and local organizations made available more than $45 million in cash and tuition scholarship assistance.

For more information, go to:


Meghan Miller as seen in Supermodels Unlimited

Last August, Beaumont, Texas blossom Meghan Miller, who aspires to be a lawyer some day, was crowned the 1st Miss America's Outstanding Teen. Through an official partnership with the U.S. Dream Academy, the seventeen year-old ventriloquist will spend the coming year improving the outlook of America's young people by increasing literacy through creative mentoring.

As a little girl growing up in Northern California I remember watching every Miss America and Miss USA pageant.

In college, my adopted sorority daughter, Shelley Marks, became Miss Colorado and was in the Miss USA pageant.

However, on Saturday night, since we don't get cable or satellite upstairs, our family -- including our seven and ten year-old daughters -- chose to put a fire in the fireplace and watch Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me.

With obesity running rampant in America, it was quite a dichotomy to wake up at 4:30am this morning and learn that a talented ballerina -- who has probably never eaten at McDonald's -- is one of this year's role models for young women.

Ironically, shortly after Jennifer won the competition, the first thing in her mouth was a basket of French fries dipped in Ranch dressing.

In response to a question from host James Denton during the show, Jennifer said she could not wait to eat the fries.

Congratulations, Jennifer!

As a mother of two young girls, thank you for the message you plan to carry across the country regarding drinking and driving.

Inspire & Be Inspired.

Here's to healthy, adventuresome, soulful, "en pointe role model" living!

~ Jennifer Carolyn King, Rugged Elegance, LLC

Posted by jck at January 22, 2006 8:13 PM

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