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For Miss D.C., It's About More Than Just a Tiara

Left to right: Miss District of Columbia Kate Marie Grinold, Miss Virginia Tara Wheeler and Miss Maryland Louise Schlegel speak at Discovery Communications HQ Jan. 8. (Courtesy of Discovery Communications)

One day until the other coronation: The 88th crowning of Miss America in Las Vegas. The 52 contestants -- including Miss D.C. Kate Marie Grinold, Miss Maryland Louise Schlegel and Miss Virginia Tara Wheeler -- spent the last eight days rehearsing for tomorrow's live broadcast on TLC; the last episode of their taped reality countdown airs tonight.

"There are people placing bets on us," Grinold, 23, told us yesterday. "It's weird." Grinold, a classical dancer with a degree in international affairs, won her first title in May -- just two weeks after graduating from George Washington University -- but can't collect the $5,000 scholarship ("I have a ton of student loans") until she finishes her reign this year.

Former Miss D.C. Shannon Schambeau Patterson, who finished in the top five at the 2006 national pageant, has been coaching Grinold for the last six months. If she wins the big title tomorrow, she'll walk away with a $50,000 prize; if not ... well, she starts job-hunting Monday: "I need an awesome, international-oriented, community-based, high-paying job."

By The Reliable Source  |  January 23, 2009; 1:02 AM ET
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Next: Dressed Up With Nowhere to Dance


DC's population is overwhelmingly black. Why is Miss DC an anorexic white woman with==can it be? an upper arm tattoo? With white Miss Virginia & white Miss Maryland? Something doesn't compute here.

Posted by: arussell91 | January 23, 2009 6:37 AM | Report abuse

Holy Cow! Don't the people who are running the Miss America Contest know that the three women from the DC area are white? How, in god's name, has this happened? I'm shocked that white women have even been allowed to compete in this contest.

Posted by: HMichaelH | January 23, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Um, no, that's the shadow of Miss Virginia's crown on her arm.

And as for the "anorexic white woman" thing -- such ignorance and misogyny. Aren't we past this yet?

Posted by: cbr1 | January 23, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Didn't you black people just get one of your own elected to President? Now you bitch about not having a black Miss DC? This is why blacks will ALWAYS be less than equal to everyone else. Your priorities are all out of line.

Posted by: DCRat | January 23, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

It does not matter what race the person is that wears the crown, what concerns me is whether or not the person is a true resident of D.C. I think that in order to compete for the title a person should have been a resident for a minimun of five years. That person should also be a taxpayer or the off-spring of a current taxpayer residing in D.C. Just because you attended school in Washington, should not qualify you to represent Washington, D.C. How can a temporary resident truely represent D.C.? My question to Miss. Grinold is what do you know about this city other than the limited reflections you have received while attending George Washington University?

Posted by: wgarrettfuraha | January 25, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Miss DC Kate Grinnold moved here when she was 13 years old. She grew up in the Eastern Market area, went to High School here and on to GW University. So, in actual fact - she IS from DC.

Posted by: kathietruitt | January 25, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

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