Q&A with C.J.: Gretchen Carlson comes home to address Miss Minnesota event

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 8, 2013 - 8:10 PM

Fox television anchor and former Miss America, Gretchen Carlson, on a previous trip home to be inducted in the Anoka High School Hall of Fame were inducted. She took a picture with fans Renee Doud,8, sister Rebecca,6, sister Rachel,10.

Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune

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Gretchen Carlson is coming home.

The “Fox & Friends” anchor and Miss America 1989 is going to be the keynote speaker Friday at the Crowns and Gowns Gala at Radisson Blu Hotel in Mall of America, where she will talk about the pageant’s relevance. The Crowns and Gowns Gala takes place the day before the crowning of Miss Minnesota 2013, the title Carlson won in 1988 on her way to the national pageant. Tickets are available at www.MissMinnesota.org.

Vicki Plaster Kueppers, gala chair and Miss Minnesota 1983, tells me that Dorothy Benham, Miss America 1977, and BeBe Shopp, Miss America 1948, will also be at the gala. “This is the first time in over 20 years that Minnesota’s three Miss Americas have appeared together within our state,” said Kueppers.

Carlson did a Q & A with me via e-mail, and she did not rule out running for office some day.


Q Where do you keep your crown?

A In my closet in the original travel carrying case I received when I won Miss America. It still has the same bobby pins in the elastic band that stretches across the width of the crown (you needed the band to be able to keep it on!) For a while I kept the crown somewhere at my mom’s house (the problem was I wasn’t really sure exactly where it was), which was horrifying news to a woman in Texas who had asked me to come and speak many years ago and bring the crown. When I told her I had to find it first she almost fainted! LOL.


Q Diamonds from 1989 must be worth a lot, so what do you have your crown insured for in your insurance rider?

A I always said if the crown was made of real diamonds I would have absconded with it years ago! The Miss America crown is unique in the sense that its shape and style is one of a kind, but the stones are not real. Last year on “Fox and Friends” I brought it in as a “treasured item” to see what an expert pawn broker would tell me it was worth and to my surprise she said one had never been auctioned off but she would value it at $25,000.


Q Did the experience you received as Miss America contribute to where you are today?

A Becoming Miss America was a part of my life experience and has helped shape who I am. From the guts it takes for any woman to compete on stage, to the interview skills I honed, to the wonderful people I met along the way, being Miss America was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. (And I was always proud to say I was first Miss Minnesota.)


Q What is the continued value of beauty pageants?

A Miss America is a scholarship pageant; the largest scholarship program in the world for women. It’s the pageant with the talent category; the two reasons I even decided to enter. Saying Miss America isn’t relevant is a cop-out. Especially compared to some of the garbage on TV these days. Would parents rather have their kids emulating the 4.0 [grade-point average] Miss America contestants or Honey Boo Boo?


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