Being Miss Maumee Valley

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Pageant Press: Celebrity Judges Announced for the 2006 Miss America Pageant

Jan. 11, 2006

An NFL great, a multi-platinum recording artist, a "Desperate Housewives" star and a fashion guru are amongthe judges for the 2006 MISS AMERICA PAGEANT, it was announced today by the Miss America Organization.

Jane Kaczmarek ("Malcolm in the Middle"), Brenda Strong ("Desperate Housewives", Miss Arizona 1980), Jerry Rice (NFL receiver), Leeza Gibbons(TV/radio host), Brian McKnight (recording artist), Robert Verdi (fashion expert) and Sharlene Wells Hawkes (Miss America 1985) will all serve as judges for the final night of this year's pageant, which for the first time will beheld in Las Vegas."

We're delighted to announce such an eclectic and star-studded group of judges for the final night of this year's pageant," said Art McMaster,president and CEO of the Miss America Organization. "

These individuals will rate our contestants and vote for the new Miss America, and I know they'reeach up to the challenge."Hosted by James Denton, the 2006 MISS AMERICA PAGEANT premieres live on CMT on Saturday, January 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (tape-delayed to the West Coast).

CMT secured the rights to the MISS AMERICA PAGEANT through 2007, with optionsto renew through 2011. CMT, America's No. 1 country music network, carries original programming, specials, and live concerts and events, as well as a mix of videos by established country music artists and new cutting-edge acts, including worldpremiere exclusive videos. Founded March 6, 1983, CMT, owned and operated by MTV Networks, reaches more than 78.7 million households in the United States.

Go to country music's biggest web site at The Miss America Organization is one of the nation's leading achievement programs and the world's largest provider of scholarship assistance for young women. Last year, the Miss America Organization and its state and local organizations made available more than $45 million in cash and scholarshipassistance. For more information, go to

The Aladdin Resort & Casino, the future home of Planet Hollywood Resort &Casino, is a joint venture partnership involving Robert Earl, founder and CEO of Planet Hollywood International, Inc., Bay Harbour Management LC and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. The property will continue tooperate as the Aladdin Resort & Casino during the renovation process which isscheduled for completion in the second half of 2006. Upon completion ofrenovations the property will be re-branded and renamed the Planet HollywoodResort & Casino, a Sheraton hotel.

For more information, go to


A separate panel will judge the three preliminary nights of competition, they are Isisara Bey, Rebecca King Dreman, Sue Loweden, Erica Wright, Richard Johnson, Harold Laster and Darrell Moultrie. Their bios are below from an unidentified source:

Isisara Bey - Isisara is Vice President of Corporate Affairs for SONY BMG Music Entertainment, formerly Sony Music Entertainment Inc. Since taking over the leadership of Corporate Affairs in 2001, she has been the architect of a renewed approach to corporate philanthropy creating strategic relationships that build corporate brand, support business goals and address vulnerabilities, both internally and externally. Her singular work crafting signature programs in music education and non-profit partnerships are evidence of her distinctive track record combining a uniquely innovative philanthropic vision with best in class execution on a range of sophisticated projects. In her role as a member of the company’s government affairs team, she continues to lead the company’s involvement as originator, producer, fund raiser and lead sponsor of the Congressional Tri-Caucus retreats attended by over 40 members of the U.S. Congressional Black, Hispanic, and Asian Caucuses. Prior to joining Sony Music in 1995, Ms. Bey served as Senior Director and Director, Corporate Affairs, for Sony Pictures Entertainment in Los Angeles. Ms. Bey began her post-graduate career as a morning drive, on-air personality and producer for WEAA-FM, a National Public Radio affiliate in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1984 she was named News Producer and writer for WJZ-TV in Baltimore and also served as on-air news anchor for the station’s Sunday Morning magazine show. She has won several awards and grants for her radio and television work. Recent corporate awards include the Woman of Power & Grace from the African American Business Hall of Fame & Museum; 30 Women Making a Difference from the Veritas Foundation, and Contributions in Leadership from the National Council of Negro Women. Current and recent board affiliations include the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (Secretary), National Book Foundation, Rhythm & Blues Foundation, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, and Figure Skating in Harlem (Chair). Ms. Bey received a BA in Theater, an MA in Media Communications from Antioch University, with additional work at the Corporate Contributions Academy, Fordham University and the Kellogg School of Business.

Rebecca “Becky” King Dreman, Esq. – Becky is known to the Miss America Pageant family as Miss America 1974 and the first and only Miss America to be a practicing attorney. She has a vast background in community service and has served on the Board of Trustees of Colorado Women’s College, as the national spokesperson for the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation, and is currently an attorney in private practice specializing in complex civil litigation and family law. Her community activities also include Community Board of Directors for Mercy Housing Southwest, Volunteers of America, the capital campaign for Children’s Hospital, and numerous leadership roles for a variety of charitable organizations. She and her husband, George, have been married for 27 years and have two daughters, Emily, 20, and Diana, 17. She used her Miss America scholarship to attend the University of Denver Law School where she has been named “Outstanding Alumnae.” She was featured in the PBS Documentary “The American Experience – Miss America” as well as the BBC Documentary “More than Just a Pretty Face.” This marks Becky’s third time to judge the Miss America Pageant.

Suzanne "Sue" Plummer Lowden – Sue is a former Miss New Jersey and Second Runner-up to Miss America. She is currently the National Treasurer and Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Member of its Executive Committee. In addition, she is Vice President and Member of the Board of Directors of Archon, Corporation, a gaming and investment company. During her varied career, she served as a Nevada State Senator and was the Majority Whip of the Nevada State Senate and worked as an Anchorwoman and Reporter for Las Vegas CBS Affiliate KLAS – TV. She has been the Recipient of Numerous Philanthropic Awards including the MDA Humanitarian Award and the Variety Club Heart Award. She holds a Masters Degree (Cum Laude) from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a Bachelors Degree (Magna Cum Laude) American University, Washington, D.C. While she was Miss New Jersey, she had the honor of serving as a member of the Bob Hope USO Christmas Tour to Vietnam and Bases around the World.

Erika Schwarz Wright – Erika is a former Miss Louisiana and First Runner-up to Miss America. Erika attended Loyola University graduating Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Mass Communications. She then obtained her law degree from the Loyola School of Law graduating Magna Cum Laude. During her tenure at Loyola, she was president of the student government association, served on the Law Review, Moot Court Board, was Vice-President of the Student Bar Association and was published in the Loyola Law Review. She also became a teacher for the Street Law Program during her second year in law school and developed lesson plans to teach inner-city school children about their rights and responsibilities in an interactive learning environment. In addition, she studied piano for 14 years and began writing music at the age of 5. At Miss America, she was recognized for her work with Street Law as 2nd runner-up to the Quality of Life Award. She has appeared on national television programs including “Regis and Kathie Lee”, “CNN Crossfire”, “The Today Show”, and “Good Morning America” as a national legal advocate for the “Shoot the Carjacker” law. She also traveled to over 400 schools speaking to children about avoiding the pressures of drugs and alcohol. She appeared in several television commercials and hosted “Backstage” – a music magazine show in New Orleans interviewing musical artists and actors including Will Smith, Tim McGraw, Phil Collins, Britney Spears, Cyndi Lauper, and John Goodman. She is currently a practicing attorney entertainment lawyer and serves as General Legal Counsel for Wright Entertainment Group, which represents superstars include Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson, Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, & Diddy. Erika is a song writer and vocal producer for the company. She and her husband, Johnny Wright, reside in Orlando and have two children, Johnny, Jr. and Gabrielle.

Richard V. Johnson – Rich is a former International Model with the prestigious Ford Modeling Agency in New York City who now specializes in the Image development and Public Relation implementation for some of the nation’s leading luxury products. His diverse background has included the implementation of national fundraising initiatives for the Republican National Committee and the National Red Cross as well as serving as a consultant for such clients as VOGUE and Calvin Klein and spent seven years working for Guerlain Paris. His responsibilities over the years include booking models, developing special events, managing regional public relations, serving as a company spokesperson as well as working for two years in The White House where he was a member of the Presidential Advance Team for local and regional events, hosted official White House functions and ceremonies including press conferences, and assisted with strategic research and Presidential briefings. All of this while also performing in Off-Broadway plays, independent feature films, and television shows like “The Guiding Light.” Rich holds a Bachelors degree in Journalism/Mass Communications with a minor in Political Science from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama where he was class president. He has also studied Meisner acting courses at the prestigious The William Esper Studio for Actors. He serves in a variety of volunteer organizations.

W. Harold (Hal) Laster – Hal has had a distinguished career in higher education, serving in deanship capacities at three prestigious institutions: the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the Aspen Music Festival and School, and currently at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California. Hal received his education at Maryville College (Tennessee), and the University of Southern California, with additional post graduate work at the University of Cincinnati. Recently named by his alma mater as one of fifteen outstanding graduates who have had significant careers in the arts, Hal served four years in the United States Air Force band program following his college years. After the Air Force, he returned to Maryville College as Assistant Director of Admissions, and later became Dean of Admissions at Newberry College, South Carolina. From there he went to the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he served as Assistant Dean for nineteen years. That was followed by an eight-year tenure as Dean of the famed Aspen Music Festival and School. He tried to retire in 2002, but the Music Academy of the West had different plans, and named him Vice President and Dean. After serving three years in that position, he has re-retired from being full-time, yet continues to be the Music Academy's Dean during the summer festival. In his "spare time," Hal has completed two, 47-day bicycle rides across the United States (Seattle to Atlantic City, and Los Angeles to Orlando), and raising money for the American Lung Association and for the Ryan White Foundation. Honoring his contributions to the Ryan White Foundation, he was recognized with their coveted "Angel Award." Hal continues to be active in various arts organizations as a volunteer and board member. He is the proud father of two children and four grandchildren.

Darrell Grand Moultrie - Darrell was born and raised in Harlem, N.Y. After beginning his training in musical theater and dance at the Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts in East Harlem, he studied opera and dance at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. Moultrie received his bachelor’s degree in fine arts from The Julliard School, and upon graduation he earned the prestigious Martha Hill prize for outstanding achievement and leadership. He is now pursuing a career as both choreographer and performer. His ballet PULSE, which was commissioned and premiered by Connecticut Ballet, warranted Jennifer Dunning of The New York Times to write, Moultrie “is obviously someone to watch.” Moultrie’s other choreographic works include AGAINST THE GRAIN at the request of Benjamin Harkarvy for The Juilliard Dance Ensemble accompanied by The Juilliard Orchestra; a collaboration with Cleo Parker Robinson entitled ONE NATION UNDER A GROOVE presented by the Lincoln Center. His Ballet VELOCIFUNK had its world premiere at the Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival. Currently his work, ASPECTS OF A VIBE can be seen throughout the country danced by AileyII. Darrell has also set works for the Colorado Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theater, and will soon work with Milwaukee Ballet. He has also choreographed commercial television spots for Mastercard, Schick Quattro IV Razors, and has also done work for Dave Chappelle’s Show. This past summer Darrell stage UNSPEAKABLE, a new work on Richard Prior for the New York City Fringe Theatre Festival, directed by Rod Gailes. As a performer, Moultrie danced in the production of West Side Story in Milan, Italy at the world famous La Scala Opera House. He has also worked with Lar Lubovitch in his production of MEN STORIES. He was apart of the original workshops of the Public Theater’s Radiant Baby, and Sweet Charity. He was seen on Broadway in the smash hit Hairspray and Elton John & Tim Rice’s Aida, where he performed the role of Mereb opposite Toni Braxton and the original Atlanta mounting of The Color Purple.


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