Spandel, Vicki. "Creating Writers, 3rd Edition." New York: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc., 2001, pp. 114-5. Also appears in the recently released 4th Edition.
I want to be Miss America
I want to be Miss America.
For the last four years of my existence, realistic ideologies have gradually replaced visions of virtuous grandeur I once had. But a suppressed childhood fantasy has suddenly resurfaced. Maybe the resurgence of the beauty queen within results from repeatedly smashing my head against the corn-gilded cage of my ultra-conservative rural Pennsylvania home. Or maybe the little girl locked inside of me has raised her voice again and I really would like to parade around a stage, a mortal Venus, angelic blonde hair garnished with a silver tiara. I will have to dye my hair.
I want to stand center stage in Atlantic City and stun the audience with my rendition of Rossini’s “Una Pocco Voce” from Il Barbiere di Siviglia and, if only for a moment, become Rosina, the object of America’s adoration. Or perhaps I would become Lady Macbeth (although Ophelia would be apropos for this occasion), sleepwalking to the stage’s proscenium, candle in hand, watching admirers gaze upon me in awe. As long as I flash my Vaseline-greased, toothpaste-ad smile and wear a tight-fitting, flashy dress from the most exclusive designer I can afford, no one will notice that my G’s are excessively flat or that the elegance of Shakespeare’s Elizabethan tongue has been reduced to base English. Only aesthetic beauty matters anyway.
During the interview segment, I will curb my liberal political views and respond to every superficial question with strategically planned outpourings of conservative sentiment. Any feminist-inspired views will be quelled in order to maintain an untarnished “feminine” image. My voice will waver with contrived emotion as I enumerate the problems of the world and offer hollow, menial solutions with a fixed, ethereal grin. I will speak about suffering and conflict but never mention my interest in Tibetan Buddhism; that would be considered eccentric. Conformity is essential to victory.
I will use my title to change the world, flashing my All-American smile from nation to nation, making guest appearances on “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee.” I will sacrifice all of my political and philosophical beliefs to uphold a meaningless platform of neo-conservative morality, concurrent with established societal trends. People will listen to me because I am Miss America.
I can always cling to the hope that a glimmer of myself will survive.
Maybe the world will just have to settle for me without the crown.
— Jess Hemerly, 1999