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Will Miss Houston Become Miss Texas?

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Candice Bennatt, Miss Houston

If so, gay men will have contributed to her win.

by Donalevan Maines

Every single contestant has to attest to the fact that behind every beautiful woman is a slew of gay men.”

Albert Luiz is talking about the 75th anniversary Miss Texas Scholarship Pageant this month in Arlington, where his boutique is outfitting Miss Houston Candice Bennatt and other top contenders. These are college girls competing for scholarships as well as the opportunity to vie for the grand title of Miss America in Atlantic City. They aren’t Donald Trump’s Miss USA girls who pose on all fours on a mattress in a Las Vegas motel room.

Although Luiz is the official hairdresser for Trump’s Miss USA Pageant, his store, Wardrobe–The Boutique, which opened last August at 16069 City Walk in Sugar Land, has swept to the front of the pack for Miss Texas contestants. “The Miss America system has looked to Miss USA talent to take contestants in a much more progressive direction,” says Luiz.

Store director Ephraim Danforth counts as clients 20 percent of the contestants in the joint Miss Texas and Miss Teen Texas Pageant that will be held at the University of Texas at Arlington June 29–July 2. “There is no formal training and no specific professional or life experience that can fully prepare you for this job,” says Danforth. “It takes an extreme passion for pageantry, and there has to be an understanding of what each pageant system is looking for, because they are all different. I attend a lot of pageants. I’m observant. I’m genuinely inquisitive,” he says. “Additionally, I’ve been really, really blessed to have tremendous mentors.

“All of my girls are my favorite,” he says. “We help each client find her perfect dress, so that she is magically in love with it.” The boutique also boasts competition swimsuits by Jayme Shaw and shoes by Alisha Hill and Helen’s Heart.

Preliminary competitions in swimsuit, talent, evening gown, and onstage question-and-answer will be held June 28–30 at Texas Hall on the campus of the University of Texas at Arlington. On July 1, all former contestants and volunteers will be honored at an afternoon reception, followed by a black-tie gala that evening. At 9 a.m. on July 2, there will be a brunch and autograph session with former Miss Texas titleholders, and remarks by Phyllis George and Shirley Cothran, two former Miss Americas who represented Texas in Atlantic City back in the ’70s. (A total of three Miss Texas winners have gone on to win the Miss America Pageant.) At 6 p.m., a number of former Miss Texas winners will perform. Then at 7 p.m., this year’s Top 10 finalists will compete for the title of Miss Texas 2010.

At press time, it was still up in the air as to whether the Miss Texas Pageant would be telecast or live-streamed on the Internet.

Donalevan Maines also writes about the Tony Awards in this issue of OutSmart magazine.

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Don Maines

Donalevan Maines is a regular contributor to OutSmart Magazine.

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