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Miss America can eat, not drive: What we learned at lunch with reigning Miss A, Caressa Cameron

There comes a time at the end of every lunch when they want you to put your crown back on and pose for some photos: Miss America 2010 Caressa Cameron at Cafe Milano on Monday. (Amy Argetsinger/The Washington Post)

Hey, so this is interesting: Did you know that the entire year you're Miss America, you're not allowed to drive -- at all?

"I guess it's a liability thing," said the reigning Miss.A, Caressa Cameron. "They don't want to have Miss America crash her car."

The Spotsylvania native spent her months as Miss Virginia driving herself all over the commonwealth, 200 miles a week. Now she's forever shotgun in her travels around the nation: "If I want to go to Burger King, I have to ask someone to take me. ... If we go past a Popeye's, I'll ask my driver to stop, because I don't know the next time I'll get to go to one."

Doesn't she look tall here? Cameron at the moment of her crowning in Las Vegas, January 2010. (Eric Jamison/AP)

Don't you love when beauty queens profess to having crazy-indulgent eating habits? But Cameron, 22, might be telling the truth here: At a luncheon in her honor Monday at Cafe Milano hosted by Miss America board member Tammy Haddad and restaurateur Franco Nuchese, she politely ordered the salmon, the chicken and the cappellini pomodoro. (No, probably didn't finish them all, but good for her.) In a black pantsuit and pink top, she was shorter than you expect -- tiny, really -- and younger than she appeared on TV.

The other thing you can't do when you're Miss America: Say anything controversial or impolite. The VCU journalism major laughed warmly throughout the sometimes raucous luncheon with media types, but she did not take the bait when one lunch guest took potshots at the camouflage-accented evening gown that Miss A 2009, Katie Stam, wore at this year's pageant. Cameron leapt to her defense: Stam had a story that explained the dress but wasn't given enough airtime to tell it. "For a camo dress, it was nice," the current Miss.A said.

Cameron added mischievously: "I should warn you: When I conduct the Richmond Symphony" -- for "The Star-Spangled Banner," of course -- "I'm wearing a dress that is entirely a flag."

By The Reliable Source  |  April 20, 2010; 1:05 AM ET
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