Beauty pageant contestants are notorious for espousing benevolent, almost saintly life ambitions.
They tell pageant interviewers they want to work with crippled children. They want to help feed the poor. They want to work for world peace.
Cheryl Lynn Anthony, winner of the 22nd Annual Miss Torrance Pageant last month, is different.
The 22-year-old El Camino College student says that her ambition in life is to become a disc jockey at a Los Angeles rock ‘n’ roll radio station.
“I think it would be great. I could just be myself,” she said.
And unlike many beauty pageant contestants, the 6-foot-tall, brown-eyed blonde does not mince words.
Anthony demonstrated that last week when the Torrance City Council voted to withdraw its annual $750 contribution to the Miss Torrance Pageant because few past winners have been Torrance residents.
Donning a silver-lined sash and a shimmering crown, Anthony gracefully approached the podium--and proceeded to blast the council for failing to support the pageant.
“I’m Miss Torrance,” she told the council, “but it doesn’t mean that much if the city is not behind me.”
She acknowledged that she is a Gardena resident, but insisted that she is very devoted to Torrance, the city where she was born and where she attends school.
“I love the city,” she said. “I was born here. I shop here. I work out here.”
She claimed the council’s withdrawal of support for the pageant was unjust, considering that the city still expects her to participate in city-related ceremonies, such as parades and ground-breakings.
“I have such mixed feelings about it,” she said in an interview Friday. “It seems like they are holding something against me that is not my fault.”
During a sometimes heated exchange at the council meeting Tuesday, Councilman Dan Walker dismissed her complaints, saying, “I don’t want to participate in a program where an individual can come from Glendale or Cucamonga to compete.”
The pageant is open to any woman who lives, studies or works in Torrance, Carson, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach or Redondo Beach. Councilman Bill Applegate, who also voted against the contribution, noted that none of the other cities contribute to the pageant, and said pageant organizers should have submitted a budget showing how the money would be used.
Andrea Reeder, a Torrance businesswoman who took over the operation of the pageant in August after the Torrance Jaycees dropped their support, defended the pageant’s rules and accused the council of failing to support the city’s young people.
She told the council that she did not have time to prepare a budget because she learned of the meeting only that morning. Few pageant winners are from Torrance because few Torrance residents participate, she said. This year only one of the 18 applicants was a Torrance resident, she said.
The pageant, which has been funded mostly by private donations and costs about $8,000 a year, can continue to operate without the city’s support, Reed said. “But I think it is important that the city support its young people.”
The winner of the Miss Torrance pageant receives a $1,000 scholarship and a wardrobe to wear to San Diego for the Miss California pageant in June. The first, second and third runners-up receive scholarships of $600, $400 and $200, respectively. The winner of the Miss California contest competes in September at the Miss America pageant.
Anthony, who said she won her title primarily because of her singing talent, said she is not nervous about the Miss California pageant:
“If anyone looks at me any differently because I am not crowned Miss California or if I don’t make top 10, that is their problem, not mine.”
Anthony, the second youngest of four sisters, said she enjoys being Miss Torrance, although ceremonial appearances and interviews have all but ended her social life since she won her crown.
“But the whole idea is not to put yourself through a lot of pain when you have the title,” she said. “You should just enjoy it while it lasts.”
Sometimes government moves ever so slowly.
The Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission last week officially approved moving the statue of former U.S. Sen. Stephen M. White from downtown Los Angeles to San Pedro.
It’s a good thing the commission approves. The bronze likeness of the senator has been in San Pedro for months.
A dedicated band of San Pedro residents fought for years to get the statue of the man responsible for winning construction of a federal breakwater in the 1890s returned to a site near the Port of Los Angeles.
They won their protracted battle only after Metro Rail subway construction forced the statue to be moved from its perch in front of the Los Angeles County Courthouse.
Members of the commission, responsible for city-owned works of art, seemed puzzled about being asked to approve the statue’s move belatedly.
“We weren’t informed in time,” a staff member replied matter-of-factly.
Commission member Alan Sieroty, a former state senator, laughed and said: “No senator should be treated that way.”