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An Operatic Miss D.C.

Jennifer Corey, Miss District of Columbia 2009
Gown from The Crowning Touch
(photo by Sonya Gavankar, Miss D.C. 1997)
Beauty pageants are not part of our normal beat, but the summer slowdown of cultural news put this story on our radar. This year's Miss District of Columbia, who was crowned on Sunday afternoon, sang an opera aria (or something) in the talent competition -- as it turns, she was only one of four contestants this year who listed their talent as "Opera Vocal." Jennifer Corey, a 22-year-old graduate of the music program at American University, took top honors in that competition, as well as in the ones for bathing suit and evening gown (watch this YouTube video for a taste of the competition).

Corey's other local operatic connection is that she has been spending her time working as the Education Intern at Washington National Opera, helping with outreach and school programs. WNO's Manager of Media Relations, Michelle Pendoley, told Ionarts by e-mail that the company "offers its sincerest congratulations to our city’s new Miss D.C.," adding that "we’re very fortunate to have such a wonderful role model working directly on our outreach and education programs." Pendoley also said that the midnight blue gown worn by Corey when she sang in the talent competition was loaned by WNO’s Costume Studio. "It’s the least we can do for an intern who is dedicated to public service, the arts and education!" Pendoley remarked. "WNO wishes Jen all the best as she begins preparations for the Miss America Pageant, and we stand ready to provide all the advice, support and operatic expertise that we’re able!”

Corey, whose platform issue was recycling awareness ("Let's Talk Trash"), wins a $5,000 scholarship and the opportunity to represent the District of Columbia in the Miss America pageant. On a side note, it is a little strange for those of us who actually make our permanent home in the District of Columbia -- that is, if we think about the Miss D.C. pageant at all -- that many of the contestants are not young women with any long-term roots in the city: they are often students at local universities and, this year particularly, Capitol Hill staffers. One supposes that this could happen in any of the 50 states, but it is surely more of an issue because of the unusual nature of this city.


Kate Michael said...

The Miss District of Columbia pageant is a franchise of the Miss America pageant system. The winner is not an employee of the state/local government in any state due to her "Miss" title. The rules stipulate that contestants must live, wortk or go to school in an area for six months in order to be eligible to compete. This makes DC's contestants no different from young ladies in any other state who choose who compete for the title and crown.

2girl$andaguy said...

Miss DC will be at the WNO's simulcast on Sept. 12! The Washington National Opera and the Washington Nationals will be hosting a simulcast of The Barber of Seville for FREE at Nationals' Stadium on September 12th! Gates open at 5:30pm, with the opportunity to meet Miss DC until the show starts at 7! go to: for more information!