Being Miss Maumee Valley

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Pageant Press: Miss Ohio to perform at send-off celebration

Miss Ohio to perform at send-off celebration
By Lou Whitmire
News Journal

-- Miss Ohio Marlia Fontaine will model some of the stunning clothes she will wear at next month's Miss America Scholarship Program during a send-off celebration in Dover on Sunday.

Friends and fans can come prepared to hear lots of singing.

"I'm going to sing the entire time on Sunday," she said.Fontaine, 23, of Massillon, said she's ready for the nationwide competition.

She will leave Massillon on Jan. 10 and spend time sightseeing with contestants in Los Angeles before heading to Las Vegas. Fontaine's had a busy year, driving almost 17,000 miles to appearances since winning the Miss Ohio crown here in June. For instance, in Toledo this week she spoke to students at a Catholic school about her platform, "Diabetes: Educate to Alleviate," and sang Christmas songs. She also spoke at DARE graduation.

"Each place you go to offers something different. I have really grown to enjoy the small towns," she said. "I like the closeness of the people and I like how there are a bunch of shops in a row. ... To go to a mom and pop coffee shop is fun."

Fontaine isn't daunted by the pageant change of location to Las Vegas after being based in Atlantic City since 1921.

"A lot of people were concerned where's it going to be. I rationalized it doesn't matter where it is because I'm going to be there," she said. "I'm excited. I love competition. I typically don't get nervous. I figure at that point in the game you can't do anything about it," she said.

Contestants compete in interview, swimsuit, talent and evening wear competitions during the week-long event. Fontaine said she continues daily cardio and weight lifting workouts. She will sing "The Impossible Dream" from Man of LaMancha. For swimwear, she has chosen a turquoise two-piece and a red two-piece. She is doing a lot of mock interviews. Her Miss America wardrobe includes new gowns for talent and evening gown competitions.

"I found something I loved and am excited to wear on stage. I tried on 100 gowns for evening gown alone," she said laughing. "And I hate trying on clothes."

Fontaine found the new gowns while visiting her sister Lesa near Orlando, Fla., in a dress store called Jovani. She's been flying south monthly for fittings.Regardless of the competition outcome, Fontaine said the first thing she plans to do after her Miss Ohio reign is over in June is join the Peace Corps.

A graduate of the University of Akron with a bachelor of arts in sociology/law enforcement, Fontaine plans to pursue a master's degree in human rights, a doctorate in world politics, go into politics and work for the United Nations.

She'll have plenty of family and friends in the audience when she takes the stage in Las Vegas, including her parents, Marvin and Mary Fontaine, along with sister Lesa and Aunt Penny.


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