Jenna Edwards of the Queen for a Day foundation is now UM’s queen for a year – she was crowned Miss UM at last Saturday’s pageant.
Her platform was her organization Queen For a Day, which goes into children’s hospitals and gives cancer victims makeovers, manicures and their very own tiara donated by pageant winners throughout the country.
The contestants were judged on lifestyle and fitness, artistic expression, poise and presence as well as on an interview that took place prior to the pageant.
A fire alarm went off as the audience was streaming in, but it was all cleared and blamed on a curler in one of the dressing rooms.
Fourth runner-up and winner of the Miss Congeniality prize was senior Kiara Duran, who was sponsored by Kappa Sigma.
Third runner-up, sponsored by Zeta Tau Alpha, was graduate student Angie Perez. Second runner-up was Candice Byrd, a junior sponsored by Delta Delta Delta. The first runner-up was sophomore Diane Cabrera representing the Federation of Cuban Students.
Edwards is a junior double-majoring in Communication Studies and English. She was sponsored by Kappa Kappa Gamma.
The Mistresses of Ceremonies were Katherine Carson, Miss Florida 2002, and Erin Fowler, Miss University of Miami 2001.
Among attendees of the pageant were Miss Florida and Miss America officials. Also in attendance were area pageant winners Miss Miami, Miss South Florida Coast and Miss City Beautiful.
Miss Florida USA Carrie Mewha, a UM medical student, was in attendance, as well as Miss Florida 2001 Kelly Gaudet, a UM student who placed in the top ten at the Miss America 2001 Pageant.
Edwards has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and has been written about in People magazine for her organization.
Prizes included a $1000 scholarship, arrangements by Cookies by Design, massages by the Wellness Center and many others.
The pageant included performances by Encore Dance Company. Miss UM 2001 Erin Fowler performed the song “Mr. Melody” which won her a non-finalist talent award at the Miss Florida Pageant.
Miss Florida, Katherine Carson also performed, singing “Gimme Gimme.”
“I like the fact that the pageant included a platform portion,” sophomore Alejandro Cardenas said. “It showed that the contestants weren’t just there to present their beauty, but also their intelligence.”
Miss UM 2001 Erin Fowler said a tearful thank-you to all who had helped her throughout her reign.
“I wouldn’t be a beauty queen if I didn’t cry,” Fowler said.
The evening concluded with a coronation party at the Rathskeller.
The preparation time was significant for the participants.
“They probably had 5 or 6 rehearsals of 4 or 5 hours each,” said Steve Priepke, co-executive director of the pageant.
This year’s pageant was held a month earlier than it had been in previous years.
“I had people telling me they wanted to participate and I was like, the pageant is tomorrow,” Miss UM organizer Preipke said.
“This year’s competition was talented,” he said. “It was definitely a close competition.”