Anne North is not upset that she'll be relinquishing her Miss KU-Lawrence title next weekend.
A Kansas University senior studying communications, North said no one can take away her memories.
"What's going to be hard is giving up the chance to get out in the community to meet people," North said. "No one can take away what I've developed within myself. Giving up a crown is only giving up a title."
A new Miss KU-Lawrence will be crowned next Saturday, when 13 women will compete for the chance to go on to the Miss Kansas and Miss America pageants.
The women, all KU students, will be judged on talent, interview, swimsuit and physical fitness and evening gown and personality. They've been rehearsing weekly since October.
North said she spent quite a bit of time preparing for last year's Miss KU-Lawrence pageant. Some women take it seriously, she said.
"SOMEONE WHO is really going after Miss Kansas is going to work out every day and will always be rehearsing her talent," North explained. "And you're always thinking about the interviews."
The contestants, who are 17 to 26 years old, undergo a seven-minute interview with five judges the afternoon of the pageant. North said the questions are tough.
Tracey Noll, executive director of the pageant, said contestants are asked how they feel about current political events and controversial issues. For example, North said the interview may touch on the issue of abortion or euthanasia. Contestants must explain how they've reached their opinion on the subject, North said.
During the pageant, contestants will answer impromptu questions so the judges and audience can get a sense of the women's personalities.
Noll said she expects about 500 people, mostly family members and friends of the contestants, to attend the pageant, which starts at 7:30 p.m. next Saturday in Hoch Auditorium on the KU campus. The pre-show begins at 7 p.m.
NOLL, A former Miss Topeka, has been involved with the Miss America pageant since 1983. She said it differs greatly from other pageants because it emphasizes "the total woman."
About $5 million is awarded annually to Miss America participants. Women do not receive cash gifts but scholarships. They must be pursuing higher education.
North, who plans a career in public relations, said she doesn't believe that pageants are degrading to women.
"The Miss America program is the one that I don't think is degrading because it's a self-improvement program," North said. "It does not put a woman on stage as a body. It's not a beauty pageant; it's a scholarship pageant."
Shelli Inmon, who was first runner-up in last year's Miss KU-Lawrence pageant, said she won $250 in the 1989 pageant.
INMON IS a junior majoring in business administration and English, originally from Dallas. She competed in a pageant in Texas, but last year's KU-Miss Lawrence Pageant was her first in Kansas.
"It's something to do," Inmon said. "It's fun; it's a good way to meet people."
For the talent portion of the pageant, Inmon will demonstrate her skills in ventriloquism. She and her dummy, "Chester," a dog, will attempt to woo the audience.
Although Inmon regularly works out and hones her talent, she said she isn't obsessed with the pageant.
"My studies have to come first," she said. "But I practice my talent when I have free time, and I sing as I walk around campus."
Inmon said she believes most of the women who compete only do it for fun.
"I WOULD say 90 percent of the people have a good time at it and don't get stressed," Inmon said. "But there are people who do it every year so they can get to state and are really intense about it."
Although Inmon got involved so that she'd have an extra-curricular activity, she said the financial incentive is there.
"It's really hard to pay for college, and that's one of the main reasons I do it. Every little bit helps," she said.
It will be Heidi Faulkner's first time as a contestant in the Miss KU-Lawrence pageant. But Faulkner, an Overland Park sophomore, is no stranger to pageants. She is a former Miss Junior Kansas and contestant in Miss Junior America.
Faulkner, who plans to pursue communication studies or broadcast journalism, said she's made a lot of friends through the pageant.
"It's been a great time," said Faulkner, who will perform a musical variety. "It's always good experience."