SWAPPING GIGS: Sterling learns the secrets to beauty pageant suc - WDRB 41 Louisville News

SWAPPING GIGS: Sterling learns the secrets to beauty pageant success

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Louisville, KY (WDRB) -- Most little girls dream of one day becoming Miss America.

Sterling Riggs spent the afternoon with Miss America 2000 to learn a few tricks of the trade.  He found out it takes much more than a pretty face to win the crown.

It's been 12 years since Louisville native Heather French Henry was crowned Miss America.
She now spends most of her time as a successful fashion designer and stays very active with the Miss America organization.

"I look back at all the county fair pageants that I've won and lost. I've been in the Ms. Sardis pageant where there were only 3 people in the pageant.  I look back and think wow! It's been quite a journey. But it's not over. It extends into the rest of your life," said Henry.

To make it to the big show, she says it takes years of practice and three basic skills.

The walk, the wave and the interview.  It may sound simple, but it's not.

"You just have to have a very smooth walk. Not too fast and then a little bit of a head turn. It's all about grace under pressure" said Henry.

When it comes to the wave, she says don't do the hula wave.  It must be personal and genuine.

Finally, she says the interview process is scary because any topic can and will be put on the table.

"During a radio interview, I had a journalist talk to me about the bikini I wore during Miss America.  They love putting you on the spot where they think they can make fun of you," said Henry
   
Only 91 women have walked away with the golden crown laced with rubies.  Henry only put the crown on five times during her year as Miss America.

"I wanted people to be able to touch the crown and feel it.  To be able to hold it in their hand and realize that it's an accomplishment rather than the sign of a beauty queen," said Henry.

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