Documentary Blog #30 – Ms. Senior Florida Pageant

So it's our last day in Orlando, FL and we had all the stuff with Seniors First already shot and had one more day to get some footage from an event that I wasn't too sure about but was excited nonetheless.  Prior to coming to Orlando I had learned that the Ms. Senior America Pageant was taking place the last day we were there.  Now, please understand this is the Florida portion of this pageant just like what you find for any beauty pageant in America.  Obviously you have to go through all the state pageants before you get to the "big one."  This was the Ms. Senior Florida America pageant and it was interesting for Kaleb and me since we really didn't know what to expect, how things were going to go down, who was competing and how this whole thing would come together.  Fortunately, I learned very early there would be no swimsuit portion of the event. 🙂

Ms. Senior Florida America contestants leaving the stage in the preliminary round.

After arriving we were very happy to know that EVERYONE there was aware of us attending the event and that helps more than anyone can imagine and I have the organizer, Kenyon Demps, to thank for that as well as Marsha Lorenz of Seniors First.  One of the things I learned very early in television and video production work is that it is always great to have contacted all the necessary people ahead of time to not have to deal with any headaches or issues that would slow us down, so that was nice.  When we walked in we were greeted by a myriad of people who were happy to see us there and were happy we were covering the event.  They then ushered us around the "behind the scenes" areas of the event facility and started talking with the contestants, judges and former winners of the event.  It was nice to learn about these women, their ages, lives, families and spirit.  I am inspired by a lot of these women and their wonderful attitudes and energy.  Hell, most of these women have more energy at 70 than I do at my age.  We just sat back and talked with so many people and learned a tremendous amount during the two hours before the event started.

Here are the contestants for the pageant. The back row are all the contestants for the pageant and the front row are previous winners and some of the pageant dignitaries.

One of the brightest moments of the backstage conversations was with the current Ms. Senior America.  She is absolutely gorgeous and a truly wonderful woman.  She is 61 and, I think, turned 62 during the filming of this documentary.  She had a lot of great advice for people about seniors and why we need to care about them and get involved in their lives (I would share more here but I want you to watch the documentary when it is released).  She inspired me even more and I continue to find myself caring more and more about seniors.  Keep in mind this is completely new to me since I never really cared before or thought a lot about seniors.  It also made me realize how we, as a country, treat our seniors poorly.  You may be asking yourself how this matters in this film and I will respond with this...  If we live in a country that rewards "Youth and Beauty" and seniors don't have either (in the eyes of most Americans) then how can we truly care for something or someone we don't think positively about?  I am seeing more and more how hunger and ageism/discrimination go hand in hand in the battle of senior hunger.

Ms. Senior America - Isn't she GORGEOUS?!?!?

The pageant started and I was saddened there weren't very many people in the audience.  It is true that the majority, if not all, of the people in attendance were family members, past winners, organizers, judges and Kaleb and me.  I don't know if there were any people who were in attendance "just because."  And, to me, that's too bad because they missed a wonderful pageant filled with some talented and beautiful women.  One of these women was 91 years old and was incredibly functional at playing the piano, dancing and speaking.  This is more proof that age is just a number and we need to stop thinking that once people reach a certain age that they no longer matter or can contribute to society.  During the pageant Ms. Senior America gets on stage and dances and lip syncs to "Proud Mary" while dressed as Tina Turner.  She was, in a word, AWESOME!

Ms. Senior America performing as Tina Turner. She had amazing energy.

Ms. Senior America keeping it going in her performance as Tina Turner.

My only complaints about this pageant are that there were only 9 contestants in Florida.  Think about that only 9 senior woman competing in the state that has the largest number of seniors in America.  But I guess that will change over time as the number of seniors grow and this becomes more popular in America.  And, my other complaint is that the pageant seemed to drone on and on and on about everything and nothing but I never go to pageants and this is probably the norm in these types of things but I have a short attention span anyway and was ready to see the conclusion.  Women competed in Evening Gown, Talent and Spoken Word (talking about why they want to be Ms. Senior Florida America).  The former Ms. Senior Florida got up and did a Flamenco dance and I was, once again, blown away at her performance.  After a bit it was time to announce the winner and a great woman named Terry Vece won.  She was very well spoke, looked beautiful and did a great dance number.  There were a couple who, in my opinion,  could have won but Terry was a superb choice.

Terry getting crowned Ms. Senior Florida America. Now it's on to compete for the national crown.

Terry (the winner of the pageant) and Seniors First Director, Marsha Lorenz

We left the pageant location and thanked everyone for their help.  After that we went back to our hotel to pack for the flights home - Kaleb to Indy and me to LA.  The next steps... who knows. For more information on the Ms. Senior America Pageant, check out their information here - http://www.senioramerica.org/ Seth

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  1. Melanie says:

    Great information about the Ms. Florida pageant, it’s great to know what goes on in other parts of the country with our senior citizens.

    I’ll be one someday myself. Wish we had programs like that here in our part of the country for our seniors.

    Reply
    • Seth Hancock says:

      They do have the pageant in KY as well but I don’t think it’s very well advertised. The majority of the contestants in this pageant were mostly from Orlando with a couple from Jacksonville. Florida is a pretty big state and I am sure Miami could have been well-represented had more people known about it. I know it happens in KY but my guess is it’s not very well publicized. Here’s the pageant’s web site for more information – Kentucky – http://www.senioramerica.org/Kentucky.htm; National – http://www.senioramerica.org/

      Reply
      • Melanie says:

        Thanks for the info, I’ll pass it on to the powers that be at the Senior Citizen Ctr. here and see if anyone is interested. I’d love to see Henrietta clog at a Ms. Senior America Pageant, I think she’d be great, she has such vitality.

        Hope the documentary is coming along well, can’t wait to see the finished product. Take care of yourself.

        Reply