I have always been a fan of the Miss America Pageant. And it started way before I married a Miss Mississippi or became Chairman of the Board of the Miss America Organization.
You see, growing up in my hometown of Amory, Mississippi, I always loved a good show - whether on television, the school stage, or right downtown. It connected me to the rest of the world and taught me how competition is fun and can strengthen your character.
As the head of television for the William Morris Agency, I further developed my eye for talent and the basic ingredients for creating success in others and myself. Now I have the pleasure of leading an organization that supports some of the most talented women in America. And if you don't believe me, then I dare you to get to know just one of these women. They are amazing.
The Miss America Pageant is being held at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas for the third year. For the last two weeks the contestants have been onsite preparing for the final competition on Saturday. I have been sharing the experience on Twitter and the response is amazing. That's because Miss America is the original "community organizer." Ask any pageantista...they have been organizing with and following each other since way before Twitter was invented.
But what you really need to know about the Miss America Pageant is that we fund womens' educations. I've watched lives change because of the money women win from their participation in the pageant program. The Miss America system provides up to $45 million in scholarships each year -- who else is putting women through college like that?
In addition to being the world's largest provider of scholarship assistance to young women, our Organization - at the local, state and national levels - supports some of the most important causes of our time. Every contestant is required to have a platform for her community services that they are actively promoting, and we've raised almost $4 million in the last 3 years for our national platform partner, the Children's Miracle Network.
One last thing I'd like to mention...the Miss America Pageant gets the highest ratings for TLC each year and I would like to thank my friend Mario Lopez who has come back this year to crown Miss America 2010.