Let’s get a few things straight right away.
No, Miss Universe doesn’t have to wear her crown every time she leaves the house.
No, all pageant contestants don’t plot to destroy their competitors.
And yes, walking in sky high heels is tough, but mastering it is merely a matter of “practice,” said Paulina Vega, the current Miss Universe, during a visit to TVLine’s New York offices.
Sunday’s Miss Universe Pageant (Fox, 7/6c), broadcast live from Nevada’s Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, will mark the end of the Colombian beauty’s reign and the beginning of someone else’s. That someone just may be Miss USA Olivia Jordan, the former Miss Oklahoma who stopped by our offices with Vega.
“It’s awesome to be able to represent my home country in my home country,” Jordan said. “I’m going to be in Las Vegas with a lot of friends and family there, but also a lot of local supporters. That’s pretty incredible.”
Both women are gorgeous (duh), smart (Vega speaks four languages, Jordan has a degree in health sciences) and fun — and when we asked them to weigh in on a selection of your favorite shows’ beauty-pageant episodes, they were happy to give their expert opinions.
Below, in their own words, Jordan and Vega offer their take on moments from Parks and Recreation, Dawson’s Creek and more.
PARKS AND RECREATION
(Vega and Jordan watched the interview portion of the competition, in which a vapid contestant’s answer gets a large amount of support from the audience and judges; that clip is unavailable, so here’s Tom making friends with the contestants.)
JORDAN | I think it is a total stereotype… I’m not going to say that’s never happened before.
VEGA | I don’t blame people for thinking that all the girls with pageant experience are dumb, because they have seen girls that have responded [in a way] where people don’t see the logic or the sense in their answers… But I blame them for generalizing that because one or two girls respond [poorly] one year, then 90 girls participating are like that. In my experience, all the girls that I met in my year were smart, confident, secure. They expressed themselves well, they studied, they care about education. You never can generalize it.
JORDAN | I think if [the public] got to watch our rehearsals, they would have a very different vision. It’s the pressure that really breaks people down, not an actual reflection of their intelligence, but a high pressure situation where your brain doesn’t work.
JORDAN | Is she really singing? I didn’t know that Katie Holmes sang… You have to be confident to be in a pageant, and that was the most shy, timid… does she end up winning? [Editor’s note: She places second.] I would say she didn’t win because of her confidence problems. [Laughs]
PRETTY LITTLE LIARS
JORDAN | These are some very scandalous dance moves. [Laughs] I’ve never seen anything like that. Have you?
VEGA | Noooooo.
JORDAN | They typically do make everyone dance in an opening number… It’s a wide range of experience. At Miss USA, we had three professional cheerleaders, so you have the girls that are awesome and then you have people like me who specialize in awkward dance moves and have no rhythm. So most of the dance moves are very basic, like “Everyone’s arms go up!” “Everyone does rotation changes!” It’s all so basic and easy.
VEGA | [Gestures to clip] I’ve never seen that type of dance.
SAVED BY THE BELL
JORDAN | I do feel like Screech really nailed it. He was confident, yet humble. [Laughs] I’m so impressed that Saved by the Bell was so progressive. Miss Bayside can be Screech? That’s beautiful! I love it.
TVLINE | Is there such a thing as too much confidence?
JORDAN | I don’t think there’s a thing as too much confidence. Being cocky is not ideal, but there’s a line between the two of them. Cockiness is when you think you’re better than someone else. And confidence is… that you believe in yourself.
VEGA | When you have too much confidence, you’re screwed. Then you don’t want to learn more. What else are you going to do? When you feel accomplished in life, then you’re stuck.
TVLINE | Is it a safe assumption that you’ve both seen contestants that were cocky in competition?
JORDAN| Yes. More than cattiness, you do see cockiness where people compare themselves to you and either one up themselves or one down themselves, and both are a trap.
VEGA | More than cockiness, I think they’re afraid of showing their flaws or weaknesses… Everyone has flaws.