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There She Is ... and Hair, It Goes

Former Miss Virginia Tara Wheeler gets her head shaved by her mother, Alicia Wheeler, to mark the end of her campaign to raise money for a pediatric cancer charity. (Amy Argetsinger/The Washington Post)

All right, America. You finally have your bald beauty queen.

Three months after she retired her tiara, former Miss Virginia Tara Wheeler put her scalp to the razor Monday night, fulfilling a pledge she made in a fundraising bid for a children's cancer charity.

And no quiet little outpatient salon procedure for pageant royalty: Wheeler shed her glossy brown locks at a beer-fueled, media-mobbed gathering at Crystal City Sports Pub, hosted by the St. Baldrick's Foundation. The Arlington native was headliner of a five-head shave-a-thon. (D.C. United's Devon McTavish and Wheeler's brother Brandon were among those who gave up their crowning glories as opening acts.)

Yes, she cried a bit in the morning, she told us, washing her hair for the last time (until it grows back, anyway). And she cried again before the cameras and fans Monday night, talking about the young cancer survivors who'd inspired her.

Wheeler pledged last spring to shave her head if she could raise $500,000 -- a stupendously high goal, but that was the price that state and national pageant folks demanded in exchange for a bald Miss Virginia.

When it became clear she wouldn't come close to her fundraising goal -- despite a flood of national attention, Wheeler maxed out just above $30,000 -- she promised to shave as soon as she no longer wore the crown.

"Get ready to stubble!" shouted the MC. Wheeler took her seat and donned a smock. Her damp eyes glistened, but her pageant smile was huge. Her mother and two other women braided her hair into big clumps, suitable for chopping and donating to Wigs for Kids. And then, the razor. ... Let it be noted for the record that Wheeler has a perfectly shaped skull.

A fan donated a wig, but Wheeler is not planning to wear it unless absolutely necessary for her new job, as a Redskins fan reporter for Comcast SportsNet.

"If my hair is distracting as it grows out, I'm grateful for the opportunity to wear it," she told us -- but otherwise, she plans to rock it Mr. Clean style.

By The Reliable Source  |  September 22, 2009; 1:04 AM ET
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Wow - shaved, her head looks like a perfect mannequin with a beautiful face. 100% beauty queen, inside and out.

Posted by: Voter4Integrity | September 22, 2009 1:30 AM | Report abuse

What a beautiful change from the vituperative exchanges reported in current news. Three cheers for our Miss Virginia!!!

Posted by: Geezer4 | September 22, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Tara Wheeler rocks!

Posted by: cfow1 | September 22, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Way to go Tara - you got class, kid! Hope some folks see this and bump your pledges up a bit.

PS - I dig bald chicks.

Posted by: ennepe68 | September 22, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

"Imma let you finish, but my girlfriend has one of the best bald heads of all time" - Kanye West

Posted by: zsheikh1 | September 22, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

This is why Miss America still matters. Girls in the Miss America program do so much for community service and fundraising for so many great causes. Tara, you were a great Miss Virginia, and are a great person for everything you do. The word 'beautiful' does indeed mean many different things, as evidenced by sick children who battle for their lives every day, and by selfless people like you who work to raise money, spread awareness, and support this great cause. Regardless of the results in Las Vegas, you will always be my Miss America.

Posted by: MiniHaHa | September 22, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Way to go, Tara! You are true to your word. Good luck to you in your new career! You are absolutely amazing! Go St. Baldrick's!

Posted by: motherofabaldy | September 22, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm very impressed with Tara and all the others who participated in this activity. The empotion on her face while the being "trimmed" only added to my admiration, since it is obvious that she sacrificed something she held dear. Thanks for the great example.

Posted by: ManuteBogues | September 23, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

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