Miss Ohio takes on beauty queens in reality show

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 Messenger photo by Dedra Cordle
 Roberta Camp and her 10-year-old sister Faye Williams, goof off after the Miss Ohio send off reception on Jan 5. The event took place at the Grove City Church of the Nazarene. Each year the Miss Ohio Scholarship Board and Committee members throw a party for the winner close to, or in, their hometown.

To spice up something that has been around for decades, you have to add new ingredients into the pot to keep it fresh.

With the decline of viewership for the Miss America Pageant, it was up in the air whether this year’s pageant would even be around, let alone be aired for the people to see.

Then the Learning Channel (TLC) stepped in and said they would put the program on their channel, but they wanted to do something different.

"This is the first time there has been a reality show for Miss America," said Steven Oliveri, Board President of the Miss Ohio Scholarship Program. "There have been one hour long shows for in-depth information, but nothing like this."

Each Friday leading up to the Jan. 26 pageant event, TLC airs the "Miss America Reality Check" program, which pits the 52 women vying for the crown up against each other. Its debut was on Jan. 4.

"When I was crowned, I had no idea what to expect but the unexpected," said Roberta Camp, a 2002 graduate of Grove City High School.

In June of 2007, Camp won the title of Miss Ohio and on Jan. 17, she will be hopping a plane bound for Las Vegas where Miss America will take place.

"I’m not nervous, but I am very anxious," she said. "I’m so excited because this is a once in a lifetime experience that I will remember for the rest of my life."

So is being on a reality television show.

"I wouldn’t do another reality show," Camp exclaimed. "The cameras were there when you went to bed, and they were there when you woke up."

The show, TLC designed, put all the 52 contestants in one house for 10 days. All those beauty queens with only seven bathrooms.

"My group had the best room," Camp said. "We had our own shower in our suite so we would work out a schedule between the 12 of us."

Oliveri explained that if they were expecting catfights, they picked the wrong pageant to cover.

"The girls are more like a family. Miss America is really a different system than the other ones. What sets Miss America apart is all the women are involved in community service and community activities. That is what sets it apart."

To set the show apart from the Miss America of past years, TLC is encouraging viewers to go online at their Web site www.tlc.com/missamerica/ and vote for their favorite state representative.

"For the first time in 87 years, viewers will be allowed to vote for the 16th finalist," said Camp.

Even with all of Grove City, and possibly Ohio for that matter, voting for her, Camp still wonders what the outcome will be.

"For the past year, my motto has been ‘with positive thinking comes a positive outlook,’" she said. "When I’m there, I’m just going to stay focused on myself and the goals that I set."

You can watch and cheer on Camp when the Miss America Pageant airs on Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. You could also add a dash of state pride and vote for Miss Ohio online to ensure her a spot in the top 16.

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