Source: Sherman Publications

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May competes for Ms. Senior Michigan title

by Andrew Moser

July 27, 2011

Marie May, of Addison, sings during the Ms. Senior Michigan Pageant last week. Photo provided.
When most people think of pageants, they either think of little girls dressing up and performing on stage to the delight of their parents or women competing for the title of Miss America or Miss Universe.

Addison Township resident Marie May bucked those preconceived notions when she competed in the 2011 Ms. Senior Michigan Pageant on Tuesday, July 19.

The event was hosted by the Older Persons' Commission, located in Rochester, MI.

"It was one of the nicest things that I have ever done," May said. "It was so exciting and the women were so wonderful."

According to Nicole Messina, President of the Ms. Senior Michigan Pageant, "the pageant is a wonderful display of beauty from the outside and the inside...the ladies exemplify the true meaning of our pageant, exhibiting inner beauty, dignity and grace."

May competed against 10 other finalists from Southeast Michigan. The finalists were judged in four areas interview (30 percent of judges score), talent (30 percent), philosophy of life (20 percent) and poise (20 percent).

According to May, judges were looking for answers to questions such as "What would each contestant do if they do if they were selected Ms. Senior Michigan?" and "How would they influence the younger generation?" during the interview.

She said the advice she would give the younger generation would be to follow their heart and figure out and follow their life's passion.

"If you could figure out what your passion is and do that, you never really have to work because you are doing your passion," she told the judges.

During the evening's talent portion, May sang her rendition of Skeeter Davis' "The End of the World."

She chose to sing instead of doing other acts because it was something "she loves to do."

She said that it wasn't until 15 years ago she discovered she could sing and since then she usually would sing karaoke in her basement and if she and her husband went out somewhere.

May recently sang in a couple of weddings after people found out she could sing.

Following the talent section of the pageant, each contestant had to give a statement conveying her philosophy of life. May told the judges "it is better to give than to receive because you get paid back 10 times over, out of love, when you give out of your heart."

"It's like a boomerang. It comes right back to you 10 times over," May said.

A contestant's poise rounded out the judging criteria.

"It is the philosophy of the pageant that clothes do not make the woman, but rather it is the woman who makes the clothes. During this event the judges will seek that contestant whose manner, composure and grace display a genuine beauty," the pageant brochure said.

May noted she had to bring a couple of changes of clothes with her.

"First you had to go in for your interview, so you had to wear an outfit like you were going for an interview...then we had to go back and change from our interview outfit to our talent outfit and come back out there and do our talent. After that, there was 15 minutes where we changed into our evening gowns," she said.

During the time each contestant was changing, participants from the 2010 pageant would come out and entertain the crowd.

May heard about the Ms. Senior Michigan Pageant 10 years ago, but she was not eligible to participate because she did not meet the minimum age requirement of 60.

When she became eligible, she filled out the application, paid the entrance fee and waited to hear if she would be invited to participate.

She didn't believe she would get selected at first because she thought she sent the application in past the deadline.

"I thought I couldn't be a finalist because I had missed the deadline, but they called me back and said I didn't," May said.

She added she was surprised how much the pageant was run just like the ones she watches on television.

May said she would definitely participate in the pageant next year.

"At the time I was saying no because I was tired, but before I got home I was trying to pick out my dress for next year because it is just so exciting," she said.