July 28, 2006





» North Miami may boast next Miss USA

Miami Herald Staff Report

The next Miss USA may come from North Miami. Jenna Edwards, who won the North Miami crown in April, recently earned the right to compete for the Miss USA title when she won the Miss Florida 2007 pageant last weekend at Broward Community College.

According to the city, it's the first time in more than 40 years of pageant history that someone from North Miami has competed for Miss USA. Edwards, 24, will represent the state in the Miss USA pageant next spring. She was crowned Miss North Miami on April 1 at the city pageant sponsored by the Greater North Miami Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the annual Miss North Miami competition with support from the city and many local businesses.



Edwards is the founder of the nonprofit organization Queen for A Day, which offers young girls fighting cancer and other illnesses the chance to be pampered and crowned queen for that day, complete with a tiara. Information is online at www.qfad.org.

''We congratulate Jenna and wish her well as she competes for the national title early next year,'' read a city statement. ``We also congratulate the Greater North Miami Chamber of Commerce for the work that they put into the pageant coordination each year, as well as all of the businesses that support the pageant annually.'' For information on the Miss North Miami USA pageant, call the chamber at 305-891-7811.





» Miss Daytona Beach 2nd runner-up to Miss Florida USA

Daytona Beach News Journal

Miss Daytona Beach Ashley Panaggio spent more than 80 hours last month practicing her walk, her stance, her makeup application and her interviewing skills. And it was her polished interview that helped the marketing major, who's on full scholarship at Stetson University, win second runner-up in the Miss Florida USA pageant, pageant spokeswoman Carmen Merlino said.

Panaggio was one of five women representing Volusia and Flagler counties at the competition on Saturday night in Hollywood, near Miami. A taping of the show will air at 5 p.m. today on WRDQ Channel 27. Among the winners was Port Orange native Miss Gold Coast USA Kendra Waller, who represented West Palm Beach and made it into the top 15. But it is Jenna Edwards, a 24-year-old from Miami, who will move on to the Miss USA pageant. The national winner will have a chance to vie for Miss Universe.

Panaggio said she's probably going to compete for the state title again next year. "This is probably the best experience I've ever had in my life, and the girls that compete here are really the leaders of tomorrow," the 20-year-old said Friday. 


Ashley Panaggio & Alexandra Palmer


She said the competition might come with an average $2,000 price tag when adding up clothing, tanning, rehearsal and travel expenses. But it's worth it, she said, and the positive side of pageantry should be stressed, such as how most of the women are pursuing college degrees.

While Volusia County women have competed in the pageant before, this is the first year anyone has represented Flagler County. Katie Edmonson of Bunnell, who grew up with the Miss Flagler County pageants, has balanced college classes, rodeo competitions and a new job as a bank teller this summer, while learning how to apply stage makeup and dress her hair.

The 20-year-old business major at the University of Central Florida had hoped to make it into the top 15 Saturday, she said during an interview last month. And there's more to winning a beauty pageant than meets the eye, said Kim Antos, the pageant executive director for Volusia. Contestants have been living on five hours of sleep a day, while memorizing dance routines, answering interview questions and learning about team-building.

"Definitely it increases self-confidence, self-esteem, goal-setting and communication skills," Antos said. "It's nice to stand on stage and have people clap (for) you. If you can get on stage in a skimpy swimsuit, you can do anything. I really feel that every young woman, in some point in her life, should compete in some pageant." 


Katie Edmonson, Amanda Zitzman & Miranda Webber. 


Miss Volusia County Amanda Zitzman, 19, came to that point in her life last year, when she went from winning Miss Gainesville USA to coming in first runner-up for Miss Florida USA, the first pageant experiences of her life. She lives outside of DeLand now and, partly as a response to almost winning the crown last year, has spent some time finding out what she wants to be in life -- a journalist for a fashion magazine.

She had some friendly competition from home. Joining her were Miss Port Orange Fararla Alvarez, 20; and Miss Ormond Beach Alexandra Palmer, 18. Representing Orlando, Miss City Beautiful Miranda Webber is from Daytona Beach; and Miss Miami Meg Perkins was last year's Miss Daytona Beach.

Zitzman said she might take a year off from the state pageant, which allows women to compete from ages 18 to 26. Partly as a response to almost winning the crown last year, she said she took a public speaking course and focused on building her self-confidence. "Think about what you've accomplished from 18 to 26," she said. "If you didn't place as well as you thought, come back in a couple of years."




» Kudos & Did You Knows






- Kudos to Brandi Wines, Miss Melbourne Teen USA 2007 on her recent involvement with the Melbourne/Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce. First she was a special guest at the Melbourne 4th of July Parade. She is also the official red ribbon cutter at major business openings in her area. Way to get those great business contacts Brandi! 



- Kudos to Kristen Berset, Miss Florida USA 2004 who Co-Host’s of the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series on The Florida Sports Network. The PTTS is the largest and richest fishing tournament in the country and is seen nationwide in almost 47 Million homes. For you fishing fans in Florida catch her on Florida Sports Network (AKA Sun Sports Network) every week on Thursday at Noon. Friday at 5:30 PM; Saturday at 12:30 PM and Sunday at 10 PM. Surf to http://www.tarponanglersclub.com/ for more information. Great job Kristen!












» Amy Diaz Goes Swimming With The Dolphins!

Our Miss Homestead/Florida Keys 2007 Amy Diaz enjoyed the July 4th weekend holiday with an amazing life experience. She visited our friends at The Miami Seaquarium for a once in a lifetime experience. It will now go from my words to hers…


"I joined the Miami Seaquarium Marine Mammal Training Staff for the exciting two-hour "Swim With Our Dolphin" program. We learned many interesting facts about these extraordinary animals, then slipped into a wetsuits and went to Flipper Lagoon (original set of "Flipper"!) with the trainers. My interaction included: going on rides, feeding, touching and dolphin training sessions! Additionally, as part of the program I took a tour of the Miami Seaquarium and enjoyed the Killer Whale, Flipper, and Sea Lion shows!!! It was a BLAST!!! I kissed Ripley and fed Indigo (he starred in "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" as Snowflake, the Miami Dolphin's mascot!). This was SO exciting!"







» 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 we took it up a notch from our state championship to the world championship. We want to congratulate our friends from the great island of Puerto Rico as their delegate captured the most prestigious title in the world! Think Miss Puerto Rico Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza is excited after being crowned Miss Universe 2006 in Los Angeles? Imagine her joy at hearing she has been selected as the recipient of our Picture of The Week!




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