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Mid-century American Beauty Pageant Queens – weirdly wonderful wins.

Posted in Life & Love, Things We Love, and Uncategorized

Miss Peanut Queen

I fully endorse the right of any woman to don a bikini (or weird outfit that represents her country) and wander around a stage delivering one-liners about saving whales and world peace. Wouldn’t (some may say … couldn’t) have been my activity of choice for a Saturday afternoon. But, hey, the Beauty Pageant has taken a lot of girls a lot further than they ever imagined (or possibly deserved), so who am I to knock it?

In the olden days (thank you Riley), when I was a kid  – we loved the whole build-up to Miss South Africa. The provincial heats would be featured in the local newspapers and everyone would pore over the pics: taking bets on who would win. The Finalists got a double page spread in the national Sunday Times, with little biographies detailling their mostly uneventful lives. It was all so glamorous – and the winner got to tour the country attending agricultural shows and school fetes, so we got to meet someone famous. Not too many of those in SA in the olden days.

Needless to say, the contestants were not representative of our population – our first mixed race winner was in 1992. But times have changed and now any woman can throw herself at the sharp knives of public opinion. Long as she has PhD in Quantum Mechanics and can tap dance or sing opera.

Kiddie beauty competitions, on the other hand, are just nasty. But that’s not where I am headed. I saw these pictures the other day and they seem like the kind of competition my mother would have badgered me into entering: “you never know WHAT could come of it!”. She succeeded once, in Mauritius, on a family holiday. But we have all agreed never to speak of that again.

Miss Polish Job

The Muller Brothers Automotive Service Station had only one aim. And that was to fill any automotive desire a man may have. There really was no limit: you could buy your car, get new tires, lube jobs, gas, carwash, and, as the lovely lass above testifies, a magnificent polish job. She’s just lucky they didn’t sell hair-dryers.

The Sausage Queen

This saucy lady once appeared as a bathing beauty in a Three Stooges short. It was downhill from there, and in 1955 the Zion Meat Company declared Geene Courtney the Sausage Queen of their National Hot Dog Week.

National Uranium Queen

Brook Robin never went on to turn her crowning, as National Uranium Queen of 1956, into a career. It’s hard to know where a girl would go from here though – would Miss Plutonium have been considered a step up?

Miss American Vampire

Before Stephanie Meyer got all up in Edward’s fangs there was Dark Shadows: a rather odd, spooky 1960/70s soap opera. Someone in the TV station’s marketing department had a scarily great idea and the Miss American Vampire contest was birthed as a tie-in. Regional winner Christine Domaniecki of Belleville, NJ (pictured above) sadly lost out to national winner Sacheen Littlefeather. Who later came to fame as the Native American woman who refused an Oscar on behalf of Marlon Brando. 

The Potato Queen

To my nieces: never believe a man who promises that you’ll look good with his big potato in your hand. Or with any part of you in his big potatoes.

The Blueberry Queen
Same goes for a bath of blueberries, girls. Hot water filled with little floaters is never going to be an attractive proposition.
(Story found here. Images via Pintrest or in the public domain(

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  1. So many disturbing things to discuss about Miss Sausage Queen, so little time.

    November 16, 2013
  2. Darn, I was just going to comment on MM’s Artichoke Queen career kick-off, but someone got in there before me 😉

    November 16, 2013
  3. These contests were one of the ways aspiring starlets got their names in the press. In 1948 a young woman called Norma Jean Baker (later Marilyn Monre) became The 1st Artichoke Queen of Castroville in California!

    November 16, 2013

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