Meadville Tribune

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April 21, 2006

Contestant hopes she has what ‘it’ takes

WENHAM, Mass. — She’s preparing for the swimsuit and evening gown competitions and answering questions from a panel of judges who decide whether she has the “it” factor.

Without question, Tiffany Kelly isn’t having a typical week at Gordon College. Instead, the 18-year-old is preparing for tonight’s Miss USA pageant in Baltimore.

That’s because Kelly isn’t just a freshman majoring in movement science, she’s Miss Massachusetts.

“Needless to say, it’s a little cutthroat,” Kelly said during a phone interview while on break from rehearsals in Baltimore.

The Miss USA pageant is unlike the Miss America pageant, which awards scholarships to winners. This pageant is looking instead for a spokeswoman to bring awareness to breast and ovarian cancer. And that spokeswoman must have that “it” factor, which Kelly describes as “the spark, the charm that forces you to look at her. Something that demands attention.”

Kelly’s stunning good looks aren’t the only thing that judges want. This is where her warm and bright personality will come in.

“I love meeting people and expressing my opinions,” she said.

While all the contestants are preparing for the swimsuit and evening gown competition, not all of them will compete in those events. After each of the girls is introduced on air, the judges will pick 15 to compete in the swimsuit competition. After that event, 10 will then be chosen to compete in the evening gown competition. Five will then be picked to answer the final questions from the judges, who will select the winner.

Kelly, who is from Braintree, has deferred her second semester at Gordon College to compete in the Miss USA competition. And if she wins tonight, she will defer for one more year.

Is she nervous?

“You have to trust your gut and trust the preparations that got you where you are today,” she said.



Bruno Matarazzo Jr. writes for The Eagle-Tribune in North Andover, Mass.



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There she is ...

The Miss USA 2006 beauty pageant airs live from Baltimore tonight at 9 on NBC.

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