Miss Appalachian Highlands.
Miss Apple Festival.
Miss Tennessee Waltz.
These title-holders will join such easier-to-place competitors as Miss Nashville, Miss Kingsport and Miss Bluff City Fair as 30 young women from across the Volunteer State gather in Memphis at the end of this month for the 82nd edition of what is now officially known as the Miss Tennessee Scholarship Competition.
“They’ve been very careful to brand this as a ‘competition’ because ‘pageant’ has a lot of stereotypes,” said Miss Tennessee executive director Colene Trent, 36, a five-time Miss Alabama contender and Union University associate professor who has a Ph.D in economics to go along with her beauty queen titles.
“We would rather the girls be intelligent and talented and not just a pretty face,” she added.
The “they” in Trent’s “they’ve been” statement refers to officials with Miss America, the nonprofit organization that licenses the state competitions that preface the iconic former “beauty pageant,” one-time TV ratings blockbuster and sometimes touchstone for controversy, that this year celebrates its 100th birthday.
The Miss Tennessee representatives are slated to arrive June 27 in Memphis for several days of rehearsals and public appearances that end with three evenings of public competition at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts, culminating in the crowning of Miss Tennessee 2021 on July 3. The winner will go on to compete in December in the nationally televised Miss America…