Ms. Senior America Pageant Comes to Long Island in May
To win this pageant, you need to be three things: interesting, elegant, and older than 60.
The Ms. Senior America Pageant is seeking women who exemplify what it means to have reached the “age of elegance.” The upcoming 38th Ms. New York Senior America Pageant, which will be taking place on May 7 at the Bayway Arts Theater in East Islip, is holding auditions throughout April. In addition to a crown, a sash, and a cash prize, the New York winner will go on to compete in the national pageant in Atlantic City this fall.
The Senior America organization honors the wisdom, dignity, and maturity of America’s seniors by celebrating the women who represent such qualities. Contestants range from age 60 to well into their 90s. The women show the diversity of sizes, backgrounds, abilities, and life experiences of their generation.
Participants are evaluated on their wisdom and character rather than on surface-level beauty. Where other pageants’ audition processes might include swimwear modeling, Ms. Senior America asks participants to share a summary of their life philosophy.
Women competing in the pageant are judged on characteristics such as talent, grace, and insight. Most importantly of all, the contestants possess inner beauty.
“True inner beauty is women who do something for the community, who give back in life,” explains Ms. New York Senior America 2016 Dolores Hofman. “It’s not about the gown you’re wearing, it’s the way you carry yourself in it. So it’s not just a beauty pageant.”
That isn’t to say glitz and glamour are not involved — what’s a pageant without at least a few sparkly boas? Rather, glitz and glamour bring an element of fun and fabulousness to the event instead of serving as the main focus.
The show features a section in which contestants showcase a wide array of talents. Women have read chapters of their writing, performed yoga to music, presented their stitchwork, yodeled, and much more. Hofman herself won her crown by performing a dance routine to a mash-up of “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody,” “Copacabana,” and “Anaconda,” for which the crowd understandably went wild.
Since then, Hofman has remained involved with New York Senior America and is now president of the NYSA Cameo Club. She and the other women in the organization meet not only for pageant responsibilities, but for regular social gatherings.
Members and past contestants laugh and chat, celebrate birthdays, and lend each other support in this community that Hofman refers to as a sisterhood. The Ms. Senior America Pageant gave each of these women a way to connect with like-minded people who enjoy experiencing life, learning, and the occasional sequined dress.
“We’re all about helping other seniors, and inspiring both young and old, that life doesn’t end when you turn 60,” says Hofman.
If you or someone you know would be a great fit for Ms. New York Senior America, visit their website senioramerica.org, email Dolores Hofman at [email protected], or call NYSA State Administrator Marleen Schuss at 516-761-7503.