January 6, 2006



Bye Julie! Good luck in The Big Apple!



» A Career on The Rise

Miss Florida USA 2002 Julie Donaldson Heads to New York


Congratulations to our Ms. Donaldson as she has just signed on as on-air talent as a sports reporter with Sports Net New York, it's a new network airing in the tri-state area. The new start up network will cover the baseball New York Mets and Football New York Jets. They will have three live sportscasts during the day that can best be described as a SportsCenter for New York. Best of all their studios are in the heart of Rockefeller Center! That's right, Katie Couric make room here comes our Julie! 
Ms. Donaldson has already been seen as an on court reporter for The Miami Heat basketball broadcasts and recently held the same capacity for ESPN basketball broadcasts. Last week at the Miami Arena during Ms. Donaldson’s final appearance on HEAT-TV she was honored with a farewell presentation that included a video montage of her time with The Miami Heat. At the end of the presentation it was a standing ovation for our former Miss Florida USA.


For Sports Net New York Ms. Donaldson will host several of the magazine shows and to do feature reporting on the nightly sportscasts. This is quite the opportunity and look for big things now that she has made it to New York, the Mecca of sports broadcasting. Dreams do really come true, especially when you work as hard Julie! 








» Beautiful Future Miss Teen USA Pageant 

Opens Door Of Opportunity For West Branch Teen







WEST BRANCH - She's a small town girl with state and national beauty pageant wins to her credit. But pageantry is the last thing on Catherine Laurion's mind. At 17, the West Branch senior is absorbed with maintaining her 4.08 grade point - in advanced placement classes. She's applying to universities that best suit her law-related career plans. She's breaking school swim records and competing in state meets. This spring she'll run track. Mostly, she's bent on enjoying her senior year at Ogemaw Heights High. Pageantry, for this teen queen, is a fond memory. More importantly, it's an earnings opportunity. Laurion says she entered the Miss Teen circuit in 2004 hoping to finance her real goal: attending a four-year college, then graduate school. "I'm not a pageant sort of person," Laurion explains. "I entered out of the blue, after I got a letter in the mail. ... I saw it as a means to an end - college." 


Laurion, whose mother is a nurse and whose father is a cop, entered and won a regional pageant. She went on to win Miss Michigan Teen USA 2005. So opened the road to national competition. Laurion finished first runner-up in Miss Teen USA last August. The placement got her what she wanted: modeling scout notice. The Trump Modeling Agency in New York City contacted her after the competition. "I'm a quarter-inch shy of 6 feet," Laurion says. "I wanted to use my height to pay for school. I figured a pageant might help me get noticed. I can earn a lot more money modeling than working some retail job." Likely so. The West Branch girl flies to NYC with her mother for her first appointment with Trump Modeling on Jan. 19.  "I'm only looking for summer income," she says. "I couldn't model for a career. It would never satisfy me. I need to help people, to do something more useful. I want to be able to help people." 


Pageant success, especially nationally, helped raise Laurion's sights. She says her dream is to attend graduate school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., in a law-related field. She envisions a career in foreign relations. She'd like to work, for example, for the State Department or as U.S. ambassador to a foreign country. "Four years of college isn't going to put me where I want to be," Laurion says. "I'm going to have to make a lot of money somehow. I'm hoping I can make a good chunk from Donald Trump." Laurion's first runner-up placement in the national pageant earned her a $3,000 cash prize this year, she says. But she chose to donate $2,500 of the sum to an inner-city Detroit children’s' program she'd worked for. Her Detroit outreach had been part of her pageant commitment to philanthropy as Miss Michigan. The training and traveling she did as a pageant queen showed Laurion how big a world awaits. Community service, too, as pageant winner and local youth group leader, gave her a taste for making a difference.  In the last year, for example, she has given self-esteem talks in her West Branch-Rose City Schools district. She told younger students how liking yourself makes it easier to resist drugs, alcohol and other peer pressures, she recalls. "I basically shared my own experience," she says. "If you hang on, and do the right thing, good things happen to you. You don't have to buckle to other kids to be cool, in their eyes." For now, Laurion's eyes are fixed on the prize. She's been accepted at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University and is leaning toward U-M, she says. "People look down on beauty pageants," Laurion adds. "But I'm getting what I wanted out of it. It was a really positive experience. I grew a lot. I gained confidence. And it's a ticket to school." 






» Kudos & Did You Knows:


- Kudos to former Miss New York USA and Miss Florida USA & Florida Teen USA alumni Jaclyn Nesheiwat to Scott Stapp, former lead singer of Creed. The couple became engaged late last year, the singer's publicist, Dvora Vener Englefield, told The Associated Press on Thursday. They met last January at a gala for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in New York.



Pictured with Miss USA Shandi Finnessy on the night they met! 



Stapp, 32, founded the rock band Creed and won a Grammy Award in 2000 for the song "With Arms Wide Open." Nesheiwat is the director of public affairs for the Scott Stapp Foundation, which promotes healthy parent-child relationships.





» In Memory of Skipper Chuck




It is with much sorrow that we announce the passing of good friend and former Miss Florida USA host Chuck Zink who passed away this week in Boca Raton at the age of 80. Zink, who donned a sea captain's hat and entertained South Florida kids for 22 years as host of television's The Skipper Chuck Show. A lifelong entertainer, Zink was best known as the spirited host of the Popeye Playhouse morning children's show on the old WTVJ for a nearly a quarter-century, from 1957 to 1979. At one point, the waiting list to be one of the 30 to 35 kids who got to enjoy the show live in the studio reached two years. In 1972, an estimated 49 percent of Dade, Broward and Monroe county televisions regularly tuned to his 7 a.m. broadcast.




Host Chuck Zink as he is outfitted with his IFB during the 

Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon at The Hollywood Production Center in 2002 




Zink spent 12 years as an announcer for The Jackie Gleason Show and hosted Miss Universe pageants around the globe for CBS. He also hosted 22 King Orange parades, 24 local broadcasts of Labor Day telethons, and several quiz shows and travel programs. He hosted the Miss Florida USA Pageant from 1982 – 1985 along with Miss Arkansas USA and Miss North Carolina Teen USA for Tel-Air Interests.


Zink and his wife, Clarice, never had children; a fact that Zink said gave him ``greater patience with kids than if they were my own.'' At the end of the interview with Miami-Dade TV, which was filmed when he was 72, Zink reflected on his lengthy career and broad appeal. ''Nobody could have had a better life than I did,'' Zink said, his impish grin filling the television screen. 'I get up every day and I just say `thank you, God. I don't know why, but you made me a very happy guy.' ''





» Pageant News Wanted!


Are you a titleholder or at large delegate who is making appearances or doing good things in the community? We would love to tell all of the Miss Florida USA Family your story. Send pictures and updates to telair@aol.com as we feature everything Miss Florida USA on Friday’s at Faces & Places.




» Alumni News Wanted!  


If you know of any Miss Florida USA alumni in the news please drop us an email to feature them in future articles. Email all info to info@missfloridausa.com! Until next week here to good pageantry!








This week’s featured picture has contestants preparing for a beauty pageant backstage during 

Hmong New Year celebrations Tuesday in Nong Hoi Mai village, north of Chiang Mai, Thailand. The Hmong, 

who trace their roots back to China, have large populations in Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos. 

Our hard working staff went around the world to find our picture of the week, enjoy!


wpeD.jpg (18702 bytes)




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