Has the Beltway sent ringers to the Miss USA pageant this year? It turns out both Miss D.C. Jessica Frith and Miss Virginia Shannon McAnally originally hail from that great beauty queen training ground of Texas.
(UPDATE, Monday a.m.: Miss USA interview questions: Did the judges pick right?)
But transient is the way of things in the Washington area, and Frith — whose very first pageant experience came when she entered and won the D.C. contest in December — assures us she’s no less legit, having moved here almost two years ago after college in L.A. and grad school in London.
Why? “D.C. is the center of the world,” she says, “so of course I belong there!” (She’s kidding, of course. “If people don’t understand I’m joking, it sounds weird.”)
McAnally, 25, a Dallas native who previously hit the pageant circuit in Texas and Florida, moved to Arlington last year to open a branch of her family’s construction business. Miss Maryland Kasey Staniszewski, 22, is a UMBC student and LaPlata native with big shoes to fill: Last year’s state champ, Nana Meriwether, took first runner-up at Miss USA last year and ascended to the throne when winner Olivia Culpo became Miss Universe.
Now, this is Miss USA that’s airing Sunday night (9 p.m., NBC), aka the Donald Trump-owned pageant, the one with the slammin’ bodies, glamazon hair and no talent required (unlike ever-wholesome Miss America). But Frith, 26, has talent, with a voice that got her to the “American Idol” Hollywood round a couple years ago. Which is harder? Miss USA. “You’re judged on so many different criteria.” Not that the fitness part is stressing her out. “It’s definitely been very intense,” but nothing compared to her days training as a pole vaulter. “It’s a much more of a relaxing type workout.”
Why is she doing this? Frith works in IT consulting and aims for a degree in microbiology and immunology — not the typical Miss USA career path. “As Jessica Frith I have a voice, but as Jessica Frith Miss USA, my voice [would be] that much more powerful and have much more of an impact as I could do on my own.”