Good news on the beauty pageant front: This year’s Miss America contestants didn’t hesitate about critiquing Donald Trump.
During the tricky question-and-answer portion of the competition Sunday in Atlantic City, Jordin Sparks asked Miss Missouri Jennifer Davis if she thought the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, and she answered innocent until proven guilty, but advocated an investigation “to its fullest extent.”
When Tara Lipinski asked Miss New Jersey Kaitlyn Schoeffel about what should happen to confederate statues, she answered, “We need to honor our history of America because it truly makes us who we are as Americans. So they should be moved to museums.”
Jess Cagle asked Miss Texas Margana Wood to reflect on Trump’s comments about the violence at demonstrations against white supremacists in Charlottesville last month, and her popular response was, “It was very obvious that it was a terrorist attack. And I think that Trump should have made a statement earlier addressing the fact, and making sure all American feel safe in this country.”
Maria Menounos asked Miss North Dakota Cara Mund — who went on to become Miss America, the first winner from her state — about Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris agreement to reduce man-made climate change.
She said, “There is evidence that climate change is existing, so whether you believe it or not, we need to be at that table. And I think it’s just a bad decision on behalf of the United States.”
For those keeping track, Trump has no connection to Miss America, but he used to own the Miss Universe Organization. He sold it in 2015.
LOCAL LIT HONORS
While the 2017 James Jones First Novel Fellowship, a $10,000 prize presented by Wilkes University in Pennsylvania, has gone to Erin Kate Ryan of Minnesota, the $1,000-winning first runner-up is Glori Simmons of Oakland, for “Restell,” based on the life of British immigrant Ann Lohman (aka Madame Restell), who turns to midwifery in 19th century New York to make a living; and second runner-up was Chia-Chia Lin of San Bruno, for “The Unpassing,” an immigrant family saga set in Alaska in the mid-1980s.
Producer Jo Schuman Silver is holding open auditions for Steve Silver’s “Beach Blanket Babylon,” The City’s riotous pop-culture skewering revue, on Sept. 13 from 1 to 5 p.m. at Club Fugazi; to schedule, email a resume and head shot to DarrenDoutt@beachblanketbabylon.com.
Singer Kelsea Ballerini is 24. … Actress Emmy Rossum is 31. … Actress Alfie Allen is 31. … Singer-actress Jennifer Hudson is 36. … Basketball player Yao Ming is 37. … Singer Ruben Studdard is 39. …Rapper 2 Chainz is 40. … Guitarist Larry LaLonde of Primus is 49. … Comedian Louis C.K. is 50. … Singer Ben Folds is 51. … Composer Hans Zimmer is 60. … Singer-guitarist Gerry Beckley of America is 65. … Singer Maria Muldaur is 75.
— Staff, wire reports