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The evolution of MAO

There are new things we learn every year during the MAO local and state season, at Miss America as well as in just talking to others from around the country. Here are some items that are either new or seem to be evolving at the national level...

* Age limit... While the "official announcement" has yet to be made we were told it was effective immediately and to just manage while they update the contracts and other paperwork. While this may not help everyone they have altered the age range to be 18 - 25, may not be older than 25 by the national finals. This also affected the Outstanding Teen Program only in that it takes into account those young seniors with late summer birthdays. So if you're a senior and you don't turn 18 until after the OT national finals you qualify for OT. If you're a senior and you turn 18 at any point before that, you're a Miss contestant.

* Interview Attire... We saw a TON of off the shoulder and one shoulder interview options at state and national pageants this year. Typically off the shoulder would be a little bit of a no-no. Apparently not anymore. So go for it ladies, unless you're in the deep south...they still like their St. John knits down there!

* Quality of Life... We can't all be Alabama and be a QOL finalist or winner every year! But, we can work towards impressing those QOL judges. One thing we've learned is that fundraising (and lots of it) seems to be a launching board into the running for QOL. You must start thinking HUGE ladies... The runner-up to this year's QOL, our Miss America, raised nearly $80,000 for Make-A-Wish, while a non-placing finalist raised a measly $30,000 for her platform partner. So, what's your fundraising mechanism and will it bring in tens of thousands of dollars? Maybe we should go back to the drawing board.

* Interview is king. We may be going back to the days of crowning interview winners. They were clearly looking for intelligent and well-spoken to possibly underscore why Miss America is different. Either way, at least the preliminary judges didn't insult the contestants with ridiculous questions about online dating and boyfriends this year. Yes, they totally did that last year...

If you need some work on platform development and interview, let's get started. The sooner we start the better.

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