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Offstage Archive
People on PNB: March 2000 - June 2000

Tennis star Pete Sampras is engaged to Hollywood actress Bridgette Wilson, it was announced on June 20, 2000. She was Miss Teen USA 1990.

Taking time out from filming the pageant movie "Miss Congeniality," actress Candice Bergen has married American businessman Marshall Rose. Her first husband, French filmmaker Louis Malle, died in 1995.

Recent PNB cover girl Maria Menounos has been hired as a Los Angeles-based anchor of Channel One. It's the position formerly held by Lisa Ling, now of "The View." Ms. Menounos will be traveling the world reporting for Channel One, which broadcasts news and features to millions of American high school students. Ms. Menounos is a film producer and Massachusetts pageant veteran who was first runner-up to Miss Massachusetts USA in 1999.

Former PNB cover girl Heidi York, now a reporter with WDTV in Bridgeport, W.Va., is covering the Miss West Virginia Pageant, set for the last weekend of June 2000. Ms. York, a former Ohio beauty queen, is working with fellow reporter Tabitha Kitchens, a former North Carolina beauty queen, to follow the progress of their station's anchor, Molly Line, who is competing for the Miss West Virginia crown. On top of that, the co-host of the pageant is April Kaull, anchor at rival station WBOY in Clarksburg, who is also a former beauty queen. Ms. York's cover appearance on PNB in 1998 focused on the rising number of pageant women getting into journalism. It certainly proved prophetic.

Anne-Marie Dixon married airline pilot Anthony "Tony" Clinton on June 10, 2000, in an outdoor ceremony in Lihue, Hawaii. The bride was Miss Illinois Teen USA 1995, and was a top 6 finalist at Miss Teen USA. In 1998, she went on to compete at Miss USA representing Oklahoma. The wedding ceremony was small, attended by close family and friends of the bride and groom, but pageant winners were among the bridesmaids. The maid of honor was Mandy Jeffreys, Miss Texas Teen USA 1995, who was the bride's roommate at Miss Teen USA. Ms. Jeffreys will be vying for the Miss Texas USA title in July, as Miss Permian Basin USA. The matron of honor was Cammie Morriseau, Miss Kansas USA 1998, who was the bride's roommate at Miss USA. Bridesmaids included Melanie Breedlove, Miss Missouri Teen USA 1993 (Photogenic winner), and Miss Missouri USA 1998 (second runner-up), and Shauna Gambill, Miss Teen USA 1994 and former representative of the United States at Miss World. Others in attendance were Amy Neely, Miss Tennessee USA 1998, and Nicole Llewellen, Miss Indiana Teen USA 1992 and Miss Indiana USA 1998. The bride remains very close to many of her USA friends, and they collectively call themselves the "USA Spice Girls." The newlyweds will reside in Arizona, and the new Mrs. Clinton is considering eventually competing in a pageant for married women.

Alison Nesemeier, who was Miss North Dakota Teen USA 1994 and Miss North Dakota USA 1998, won a new car as a contestant on the CBS game show "The Price Is Right" on June 9, 2000.

Barbara Walker Hummel, who as Barbara Walker was Miss America 1947, died on June 7, 2000, in Memphis, Tenn. She was 74. She competed in the Miss America Pageant as Miss Memphis. After her reign, she completed her college education and married Dr. John Vernon Hummel. Mrs. Hummel later became a TV broadcaster and civic leader in Memphis.

Melanie Patterson, a former Mrs. United States, has received a patent on her baby product, PIBS (the disposable paper bib on a roll). As of May 29, 2000, it reached the shelves of selected Giant Eagle grocery stores in Cleveland and Pittsburgh. The product Web site (www.pibsonaroll.com) offers details.

Rising film actress Summer LaPann, who competed in pageants as a teenager, had planned to try to break into the Miss USA system in 2000. But she has put her plans on hold after being signed as promotional girl for the Dixie Chicks' North American tour. Ms. LaPann, who had a major role in the yet-to-be-released horror film "Paranoia." will coordinate half-time entertainment at the group's shows. The tour begins in Canada in early June.

Cynthia Pensiero, Mrs. America 1996 and currently state director of the Mrs. Ohio America Pageant, has signed a three-year modeling contract with Ford Models. She will be doing primarily commercial print work.

PNB Special Correspondent Brenda Dagastino is celebrating the birth of twins in May 2000. Naturally, it is a working celebration. Mrs. Dagastino, who was Mrs. Minnesota United States 1998, and husband Scott have named their son Joshua and their daughter Julianna.

Jaclyn Nesheiwat, Miss Daytona Beach USA, has been selected to portray Princess Jasmine, of "Aladdin" fame, at Disney World in Orlando, Fla. 

Latin pop singer Jade Esteban Estrada will host the Mrs. New York United States Pageant on May 21, 2000, in Suffern, N.Y. Estrada, currently on a multi-nation tour, has performed at numerous prominent pageants. 

Darva Conger, who said she felt victimized after winning a pageant in which a millionaire husband was the prize, will appear nude in Playboy magazine. The magazine announced on May 11, 2000, that the photographs of Ms. Conger have already been shot. When they will appear was not made clear. In February 2000, Ms. Conger competed with other women on the Fox program "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire." She won and married Rick Rockwell at the conclusion of the program. Within days, she complained that she felt duped. She described herself as a shy person who had gotten in over her head. The marriage was annulled.

Dharmatma Saran, chairman and founder of the Miss India Worldwide Pageant, was honored for "promoting Indian culture worldwide through pageantry" in a glittering function organized in Bombay on May 1, 2000.

Actress and former beauty queen Halle Berry has pleaded no contest to leaving the scene of a February auto accident in Los Angeles. She was fined $13, 500 and got three years' probation. Police have described the accident as Ms. Berry's fault. She and the driver of another vehicle, Hetal Raythatha, were injured. Ms. Berry, 31, was Miss Teen All American 1985 and Miss Ohio USA 1986.

Janice McQueen Ward, Mrs. United States, will take part in the Million Mom March in Washington, D.C., on May 14, 2000. The march is in support of gun control. She also will be a guest at an informal luncheon at the White House. President Bill Clinton is a strong advocate of gun control.

Dayanara Torres, Miss Universe 1993, married internationally known Salsa singer Marc Anthony on May 9, 2000, in Las Vegas. Both are from Puerto Rico, and they plan to reside there. They have been a high-profile "item" for some time, often photographed together at entertainment-related events.

American bodybuilder Steve Reeves, who won the Mr. America, Mr. World and Mr. Universe titles and became a star in Italian costume epics, died May 1, 2000, in California at age 74. Reeves was Mr. America in 1947, Mr. Universe and Mr. World in 1948 and Mr. Universe again in 1950. In the late 1950s and early '60s, he became one of the best-known film actors in the world, playing such characters as Hercules in Italian films. He retired from acting in 1969.

The Mrs. California International Pageant will honor actor Perry King for his work with Olive Crest Homes and Services for Abused Children on May 21, 2000. The event will be aboard the Queen Mary at 2 p.m. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Olive Crest Homes.

As part of the annual DairyFest in Marshfield, Wis., the city's Chamber of Commerce is organizing the "Most Cutest Cow" contest for June 2000. Some cows may be adorned in human-style frills.

Former Miss America Vanessa L. Williams had a daughter on May 1, 2000, her first child with husband Rick Fox. Ms. Williams, who was Miss America 1984 but was forced to resign before the end of her reign, is a highly successful entertainer. Fox is a professional basketball player. They married in 1999. Both have children by previous marriages.

Miss USA 2000, Lynnette Cole, appears on the TV show "Hollywood Squares" the week of May 1-5, 2000. Check your local listings.

Jill Scott Chance, who was Mrs. America 1990, was charged with fraud on April 28, 2000, for allegedly making false statements in a 1996 bankruptcy filing. She allegedly claimed to be single and concealed the fact that she was married to wealthy Phoenix businessman C. Richard Chance. They are now divorced. In 1991, Ms. Chance, then named Jill Scott, was crowned Mrs. America, but she was later sued successfully by the pageant after it emerged that she was separated from her husband, whom she later divorced.

Addie Hampton, winner of Cobb County's Talented Miss for 1999 (a Georgia contest), has been selected as a finalist in the "Next Big Star Talent Search" conducted by Ed McMahon. Online voting can be conducted at www.nextbigstart.com under the category Kids, week 3, Music. The deadline for voting in this round is May 5.

Jodi Ann Paterson, who was Miss Oregon Teen USA 1994, has been chosen Playboy's Playmate of the Year. She was Miss October 1999 for her original nude pictorial. In the June 2000 issue of Playboy, in which Ms. Paterson's selection is announced, former child beauty queen and Hawaiian Tropic competitor Shannon Stewart of Louisiana is Playmate of the Month.

Fitness trainer Mike Fifrick arrived in Greece on April 28, 2000, to film a pilot for a television series. Fifrick has trained numerous beauty queens, models and actresses. He told PNB that by a happy coincidence, he was arriving on the weekend of Pascha (Orthodox Easter), and this would give him an opportunity to observe the traditional side of Greek culture as well as the glamorous side.

A former Miss Nude Belgium and two associates have been given suspended sentences in France for entrapping the husband of Monaco's Princess Stephanie in a sexual situation. Muriel Houteman, her former lover Yves Hoogewys and photographer Stephane de Lisiecki had been accused of drugging Daniel Ducruet in 1996 and maneuvering him into a situation where compromising photographs could be made. The incident led to the breakup of the royal marriage. De Lisiecki, who admitted the entrapment, and Hoogewys were also ordered to make financial restitution to Ducruet. Ms. Houteman continues to insist she was involved unwittingly and thought Ducruet's advances were spontaneous.

Nina Li, a former Miss Asia and wife of the martial arts actor Jet Li, has given birth to the couple's first child, a son. Jet Li, born in Beijing, is a fast-rising star in the United States.

Pat Southall Lawrence, who as Miss Virginia USA was first runner-up to Lu Parker at Miss USA 1994, will marry the Dallas Cowboys' Emmitt Smith on April 22, 2000. She was formerly married to comedian Martin Lawrence.

Susan Jeske, Ms. America, will sing the national anthem at the Texas Rangers' home game on April 17, 2000. She is a record-holding singer of the song. Ms. Jeske, from Littleton, Colo., has taken her crusade against youth violence to a nationwide audience since the tragic mass shooting at a high school in her hometown in 1999.

Mary-Louise Kurey, Miss Wisconsin 1999, was the featured speaker at a rally for sexual abstinence on the grounds of the Wisconsin State Capitol on April 9, 2000. More than 1,000 teenagers heard Ms. Kurey, 25, a Duquesne University graduate, discuss the importance of sexuality as something reserved for marriage. Numerous listeners signed pledge cards to postpone sexual activity until they enter "biblical marriages."

Laetitia Casta, a model who was chosen by French mayors in 1999 to be the image of "Marianne," the symbol of French nationhood, is living in London. Though she denies that she is settling down in Britain, or that she is trying to evade French taxes, her leasing of a London apartment is seen by some as an affront to French patriotism. Among other famous Frenchwomen who have provided a face for Marianne are Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve.

Film star and former beauty queen Halle Berry has pleaded innocent to a misdemeanor charge of leaving the scene of an accident in connection with a Feb. 23, 2000, road crash in Los Angeles. Ms. Berry and a woman in another vehicle were injured. Ms. Berry was Miss Ohio USA 1986, among other accomplishments in the pageant world.

Rick Rockwell and Darva Conger, who married on live television immediately after she won a contest to become his bride, have been granted an annulment in Las Vegas. The televised special, "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-millionaire?" on Fox TV, was shown Feb. 15, 2000, generating high ratings and intense controversy. Immediately after the nuptials, questions were raised about Rockwell's past and his financial status, and about the legitimacy of the event. The couple said their marriage was never consummated. Ms. Conger, who has portrayed herself as a victimized romantic, is seeking a show business career. Rockwell has returned to work as a standup comedian, and has opened a Web site to help bring successful singles together.


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Miss America 2000, Heather French, appears on the cover of the April 9, 2000, issue of Parade magazine, along with other young people involved in volunteer efforts. She works to bring attention to the plight of homeless military veterans.

Miss Universe 1999, Mpule Kwelagobe of Botswana, is featured in the April 2000 issue of Essence magazine. A brief article discusses her cosmetics contracts.

A magazine called REGIS, Uncensored, with the publication date of March 28, 2000, offers readers everything they may or may not wish to know about the ubiquitous TV personality Regis Philbin. Included are details of his former work as Miss America host, and his professional relationship with former pageant winner Kathie Lee Gifford.

More media listings below.

The Broadway dance show "Contact," debuting March 30, 2000, at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater in New York, features former Miss Georgia Stephanie Michels as the girl on the swing. Some observers believe this could be the breakthrough role for Ms. Michels, who was Miss Georgia 1992 and has been pursuing a career in acting and dance ever since.

Laurie Byers, America's Perfect Teen, is spending her spring break 2000 (the last week of March) helping people in Appalachian Tennessee improve their housing. The Indiana beauty also has appeared in a commercial for a cable company in her area.

Jamie Swenson's cookbook "Just for You" will appear in scenes of the Sandra Bulloch movie "Miss Congeniality," now in production. Ms. Swenson was Miss South Dakota USA 1997, among other titles, and is a pageant consultant.

The Journal of the American Medical Association has published a study showing that Miss Americas have gotten progressively thinner through the decades, with some winners now -- at least technically -- in the undernourished range. The study recalls reports in the 1980s that major beauty queens and the Playboy Playmate of the Year had all gotten progressively thinner over the years. Apparently, Americans have come to idealize thinness even as the country's population has steadily grown heavier.

Harold Grace, who is blind, was a judge of the Miss Alberta and Miss Teen Alberta Pageant in Edmonton on March 19, 2000. He pointed out that the pageant is not primarily a beauty competition, and he said his skill in evaluating interviews was an asset. He said he had learned that his scores were not wildly different from those of the other judges.

John and Patsy Ramsey have settled their lawsuit against the Star, a supermarket tabloid, for suggesting that their son Burke was a suspect in the 1996 slaying of their daughter, 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet. The terms were not disclosed. The Star had retracted the story previously, but said it stood by its other reportage in the case. Authorities determined early on that Burke, who was 9 at the time of the crime, had no involvement or knowledge. But officials' statements that the parents are under suspicion has led to a 3-year war of words over the case. The Ramseys vehemently deny any role in the killing.

The man who lost his marriage to Monaco's Princess Stephanie after being photographed with a nude beauty queen says he may have been drugged. Daniel Ducruet has told a French court he was lured into the situation and was not romancing Fili Houteman of his own initiative. Ms. Houteman and two other people are on trial in France for allegedly entrapping Ducruet, but she denies any scheme and says the advances seemed real. Photographs of Ducruet and Ms. Houteman caused the princess to obtain a quick divorce. Ms. Houteman was Miss Nude Belgium at the time.

Laura Flinn Baechtel, the reigning Ms. Internet World (over 30), is featured on the Tropi-ties 2000 bikini calendar (http//www.tropi-ties.com/calendar).

Miss America 2000, Heather Renee French, has been chosen to receive the American Legion Auxiliary's Public Spirit Award. She will receive the honor in Washington on March 27, 2000. Ms. French, the daughter of a disabled Vietnam veteran, has made the plight of homeless veterans her cause as Miss America.

Candice Little, who was Miss Georgia 1997, is moving to Columbus, Ga., to take a position with WRBL-TV. She will be a reporter and eventually an anchor at the station. Columbus, coincidentally, is the site of the Miss Georgia Pageant.

Andrea Krahn Martin, who was Miss Georgia 1994 and a finalist at Miss America, will have a lead role in "Grease" at the Springer Opera House in Columbus, Ga., from March 16 to April 8, 2000.

Lori Sikorszky, Ph.D., a psychologist, medical administrator, pageant winner and pageant director, has been named as the National "Outstanding Woman in America 2000." This title was bestowed upon Dr. Sikorszky in recognition of her lifetime achievements in academics, career, leadership and service.

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US News & World Report (issue dated March 13, 2000) discusses the often troubled city of Gary, Indiana, the new venue for the Miss USA Pageant. The magazine doesn't seem impressed. 

The National Enquirer (March 14) takes a critical look at Darva Conger, the dissatisfied winner of the "Multimillionaire" TV pageant. 

The Star (March 14) reports on the new book by JonBenet's parents and on Halle Berry's controversial smashup.

The March 2000 issue of Talk Magazine (with Jennifer Lopez on the cover) includes a picture of MTV's Carson Daly and Miss USA 1999, Kim Pressler, surrounded by several Miss USA contestants. The photo was taken at the New York gala before the February 2000 pageant in Branson, Mo.

The Star and the National Enquirer, in their issues dated March 7, 2000, both examine the "Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire?" fiasco. The Enquirer also features an interview with a former acquaintance of Patsy Ramsey. The man alleges that she had a "wild" life many years before her marriage.

Alicia Machado, Miss Universe 1996, is featured in a four-page spread in the March issue of People en Espanol magazine. She shares beauty tips and notes her favorite clothes and accessories with readers.

The February 2000 issue of Cosmo Girl magazine includes Miss New Hampshire Teen USA 1994, Keri Lyn Pratt, in its style section. She is an actress who appeared in the feature film "Drive Me Crazy."

The Globe (issue on sale through Feb. 29, 2000) contains a feature on Miss USA, Lynnette Cole, focusing on the fact that she is adopted.

Miss Universe, Mpule Kwelagobe, is featured on the style pages of the National Enquirer (on sale through Feb. 29, 2000) wearing a Fendi pants outfit.

Former Miss USA Kenya Moore is the cover girl of the February-March 2000 issue of Today's Black Woman magazine. Inside, she is interviewed about her controversial new film "Trois."

The February/March 2000 issue of George magazine has a feature about the presidential ambitions of Miss Universe co-owner Donald Trump.

The March 2000 issue of Muscular Development magazine contains an interview with Miss USA 1999, Kimberly Pressler. She talks about fitness and her current beau.

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