Thursday, June 04, 2009

Only Sort of Sports-ish: Meeting Lu Parker

Does a state-level Miss USA pageant count as sports? During my junior year of college, I I interned for a semester at the Sun News in Myrtle Beach, S.C. As a make-up for the paper not sending me to cover some non-conference college basketball tournament in Charlotte, they let me cover the Miss South Carolina USA pageant (not to be confused with Miss South Carolina of the Miss America system), which was being held in Myrtle Beach that year.

I was given "exclusive" (meaning: no other outlets were either interested or available) access during the entire day leading up to the competition -- me, the lonely single nebbishy Jewish 20-year-old, and like 35 South Carolina pageant contestants between the ages of 18 and probably 25, all representing our nation's finest example of shiksa.

When I got to the pageant registration area in the morning, I ended up sitting next to this one woman who seemed incredibly decent and likeable. She was nice to me, in a sincere way (although me being from the newspaper probably didn't hurt). I marked her down in my program as someone with the looks, talent, charm and philanthropic angle (she came promoting an education charity she had founded) to win the whole thing. She became a big part of the piece that I filed to the paper.

She did one better. Lu Parker not only won Miss South Carolina USA, but she went on to win Miss USA outright. She is now a newscaster in LA, but better-known for shtupping the Mayor of LA on the side. But I knew her when...

-- D.S.

PS: At the time, I totally felt qualified to be a pageant judge -- apparently, it's a little enclave you can join and then they call you to all sorts of random states to judge local competitions -- and I await my chance one day to make good on that.

PPS: Banner day for filling in my mid-90s work history, no?

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