Thursday, July 12, 2007

MRS. UNITED STATES * Out of the Ordinary

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."
- Helen Keller

The Winner! Mrs. Michigan Stephanie Hunt

Mrs. Michigan Stephanie Hunt, the first black woman to win Mrs. United States, has a child with a rare disease, and she works tirelessly to raise funds for the RTS foundation. She also weighed over 250 pounds one year ago, having lost 100 pounds in one year. This is an amazing American woman.

The Silverton Lodge & Casino

I just want to take a moment to acknowledge the amazing women I've met this week. I have the honor of being a judge in the MRS. UNITED STATES pageant here in Las Vegas at the elegant Silverton Hotel, which reminds me of being in a grand lodge in Lake Tahoe. Check out these extraordinary creatures at: MRS. UNITED STATES

This is not an ordinary beauty pageant. These women are remarkable for the struggles they've each gone through and their committment to helping the world and their communities through volunteer work. Many have suffered enormous odds, while juggling careers and taking care of families. Some have adopted special needs children, some have struggled with abuse, abandonment, autisim and infertility — and others are taking care of spouses with PTSD. All of them are magnificent women, and all are married. Some have written books and inspire others through being good role models. One is a member of the National Guard. Two of these women are expecting their first child! The age range is 20 to 60. And what I appreciated the most is that some of these women have defied age; they are in better shape and more beautiful over 50.

I had tears in my eyes during their interviews. Not only are they GORGEOUS, but deeply compassionate and intelligent.

Thursday night were the finals and we chose one woman out of 54, representing every state in America plus Guam and the Virgin Islands. Wednesday night we had the difficult job of judging swim suit and evening gown competition. They all have great bodies, but some of them have better abs after having children!

The inimitable Chris Rafael of the Really Spectacular Company produced the event. I love the people I'm meeting. Shannon Devine is Mrs. United States 2006; she's gorgeous, hilarious and down-to-earth. Tony Newton from E-Channel, Talk Soup, VH-1 and Price is Right is the host, and the other celebrity judges are Chris McDonald (Thelma and Lousie; Happy Gilmore) Steve Kaufman, the world-famous pop artist; Lindsay Clubine from "Deal or No Deal;" Andrea Preuss, Mrs. United States 2003; Howard Jochsberger, Boyd Gaming Commission, Benson Lee, Esq.

I want to mention Mrs. Vermont, who needs to get her message out there. For the past three years she has been nursing her husband, who came back from Iraq with PTSD. She has been supporting the family while her husband suffers through night tremors and incapacitating problems. Here is her bio:

Dr. Stephanie Mills is the wife of Sgt. Bradley Mills and the mother of two beautiful daughters, Brooke (8) and Emilee (5). Her family has endured the stress and heartache of Bradley''s 13 month Iraq deployment over three years ago. Stephanie is a volunteer and spokesperson for the national Adopt-A-Platoon Organization and since her husband''s return, Stephanie has founded the Community HEART Program, promoting the importance of "Helping All Returning Troops" and raising awareness of PTSD. Please ADOPT A PLATOON!

Don't forget the Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk Show on Saturday at 9:00 AM PST. You always hear lively talk, excellent guests and your calls are taken.