If there was ever any doubt that beauty queens were vacuous, former Miss California USA Carrie Prejean wiped it away Friday when she appeared before the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit in DC. The beauty queen has earned quite a following since she told Perez Hilton at the Miss USA pageant earlier this year that she believed marriage should be between a man and a woman. (The nude photos probably helped, too.)
At the Values Voter Summit, Prejean appeared tan and shimmery, semi-clad in a sleeveless white blouse. She stood in stark contrast to Maggie Gallagher, the frumpy head of the National Organization for Marriage who introduced her. Prejean could have said just about anything and the crowd would have gone gaga. (One speaker called her a “modern day Esther.”) There was reportely a near-riot when volunteers were needed to escort her to her car after her speech. But if attendees were hoping to hear a tirade against gay marriage, Prejean disappointed them. She came here to talk about one thing: herself. She started her story like this: “I was just a strong woman starting off in a pageant.”
Prejean talked about how proud she was to have been both a “jock” and a beauty queen, a phenomenon she called “rare.” “Young women don’t usually do both,” she said seriously. Prejean described how she ended up getting into the pageant biz in high school that led to her crowning as Miss California:
“I became so successful with it, and anything I put my mind to, I did it. I came to be so successful with pageants. Not because I thought I was this beautiful person, but because I always thought of pageants as doing better for the world. I always thought of Miss America as people who were going out there to save the world. I looked up to that.”
This love of pageantry is what made losing the Miss USA crown just so crushing. But Prejean, welling up with tears in a speech that she must have given dozens of times before, told a rapt crowd that, “Even though I didn’t win the crown that night, I know that the lord has a much bigger crown waiting for me.”
Prejean made passing references about how God brought her to this moment, how important it is to stick to your values, and she lamented how girls usually have to choose between being a cheerleader and an athlete in high school. She threw in a few jabs at the media for harassing her family. In a surprise move, though, after calling for tolerance for differing viewpoints, Prejean managed to shame the crowd a little, bringing a hush to the room when the “22-year-old college student” said, “We conservatives need to be the example. We have not seen it from the left. We need to be the example of how to be civil. Can we do that?”
Are you listening Joe Wilson?