Lori-Ann: When Pageants Get Petty
Lori-Ann Marchese opens up about finally being herself and weighs in on Vanassa and Susanna's post-pageant showdown.
Bravotv.com: Do you think Lynne threw Vanassa and Shelley under the bus when she told Leha they said she was a 40 footer? Do you think Lynne’s playing the victim?
Lori-Ann Marchese: The comments that Vanassa and Shelley said about their friend Leha were very very hurtful! Not something that I would like to hear -- nor would I want anyone else to hear. It's especially hurtful if comments are coming from your own friends.
Bravotv.com: As someone who the ladies bet on, what did you think of Leha confronting Shelley and Vanassa? Did you think their apology to Leha was genuine?
LM: I think it was courageous and appropriate for Leha to defend both of us. If this was like the Super Bowl, as they said, we are supposed to be on the same team. You don't bet against your own team or your friends. We, as role models and friends, should be supporting and empowering each other.
Bravotv.com: What do you think about Vanassa deciding to take part in the charity competition and arriving late? What about her saying she thought it would be a great chance to beat Susanna on stage?
LM: If I was one hour late for a fitness competition, I would be disqualified. A charity event is about the "cause," not about attending a charity event for the opportunity to beat another woman like Susanna. It's about opportunity to raise money for your charity.
Bravotv.com: Tell us about competing at the charity pageant. How do compete in your own way? Is pageantry a hobby for you or about the competition like Vanassa implies? How was this different than Mrs. America?
LM: At Mrs. America, I felt I was out of my element. My clothes, my hair and my persona were designed to make me look older. I was myself at the charity pageant. My Gobble Gobble drive collects donations for people at Thanksgiving.
That said, I am a competitive person. I like to win or place well in an event. I view my participation the way a competitive golfer looks at the game; you prepare and practice. At the end, you test yourself against other players to see how good you are. The charity pageant differed from Mrs. America of course, in size and prestige. I felt much more myself at this pageant. I didn't take anyone's advice. No more bun in my hair.
Bravotv.com: What do you think about the confrontation between Susanna and Vanassa after the pageant? Does this go against what pageants are about?
LM: Pageants are about many things. Unfortunately, girls can be really petty. Pageants can bring out the best in people. I work hard to prepare -- working out, working with an interview coach, selecting wardrobe and, most importantly, promoting my charitable cause. Pageant competitors call themselves sister queens. If I went to any family event and my sister came to the family event wearing the same outfit, we would take pictures together, laugh, and have fun! We refer to pageants as being classy and sassy. Hopefully, the classy part wins.