FORT WORTH The Miss Texas Scholarship Pageant is in a state of transition.
This will be the second year the event will be shown live on the Web, having previously been broadcast statewide. For the past few years, the competition has dealt with declining viewership, according to Jean Magness, chairwoman of the board and executive director of the Miss Texas Organization.
Nevertheless, the pageant’s intent remains the same — to provide women with scholarships and a chance to improve themselves in more ways than one.
This year, 40 competitors will vie for Miss Texas and 38 for Miss Teen Texas during the three-day preliminary rounds, which begin Tuesday. Winners will be crowned at 7 p.m. Saturday at Will Rogers Memorial Center Auditorium.
“In any competition, you learn so much about yourself because you have to learn to prepare for competition, budget your time and your energy,” Magness said.
Much of the preparation for the pageant includes perfecting public speaking skills and finding a worthy platform, cause or organization to promote.
Miss Southlake Ashley Melnick advocates for The Voice for Autism. She said she was drawn to it because her older brother is autistic.
“One person started interning with an autism organization after I talked to her class,” said Melnick, who attends Belmont University in Nashville. “It’s just cool that I affected someone and made someone want to help.”
Last year, The Miss America Organization signed a multiyear deal with cable network TLC to broadcast the pageant live. The package came with a reality show, Miss America: Reality Check, which attempted to revitalize the event by updating the image and perceptions of the pageant.
Magness said the reality show will be filmed again in September.
“There are people who have absolutely loved it and people who have absolutely hated it,” Magness said of the series. “It’s individual taste.”
Last year’s show was hosted by Michael Urie of Ugly Betty fame and included appearances by Clinton Kelly and Stacy London of What Not to Wear. According to TLC, more than 19 million people watched the pageant. Opinions of the reality show differed, but some saw it as a necessary step to ensure the future of the event.
Miss Fort Worth Kristen Blair said it provides viewers with a closer look at the contestants.
“These are all college students, all educated,” said Blair, who attends the University of North Texas. “They’re extremely smart.”