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Local woman wins Ms. Hardbody title

By MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / October 21, 1998

LAPLACE – It is the dream of many a young girl to win a pageant, whether it be on a national, state or local level.

For one local native, that dream recently came true.

Cammy Stein, a native of LaPlace now living in Maurepas with her sister, won the title of Ms. Louisiana Hardbody of America at the pageant held inBaton Rouge Sept. 12. But whereas for many contestants who have beenprepared for pageants since they were young girls, Stein’s dream was not long in the making.

It began about five years ago when Stein was putting her son, Zachary, in the Andouille Festival pageant. One of the directors of the pageant told herthat she should be in it and she started doing it. Since then she has run forMs. Louisiana USA, and she won the title of Ms. Louisiana Independentearlier this year. She said it was by competing in the Ms. Louisianapageant where she learned everything she knows about competing.

Stein entered the Ms. Louisiana Hardbody of America competition held atthe Hilton in Baton Rouge. Stein said that after doing a opening danceroutine, the contestants competed in three categories – interview, swim wear and evening gown. Susie Ficklin, a director for the pageant, said thecontestants were judged on physical fitness, beauty, proper language and what kind of person they are. Sixteen contestants from north to southLouisiana competed in the Ms. Louisiana Hardbody category of the pageant,which also included Miss Louisiana Hardbody, Mrs. Louisiana Hardbody andoverall supreme.

“I was happy,” Stein said of winning the title. “It is a big title. It is thebiggest one I ever won. Winning it makes me feel good about myself, like Icould accomplish anything.”Getting to and from the pageant was one of the hardest aspects about it.

The pageant was held while Hurricane Frances was soaking Louisiana with rain. Stein was living with her sister in Maurepas and the area flooded.She had to take a boat from the house to her car in order to drive to Baton Rouge. It was another boat ride back after the pageant.Stein has been busy since winning the title. She has already been on theradio and has judged the Rice Festival in Crowley. Later this month, shewill ride in a parade during the Boucherie Festival in Sorrento. Stein willalso be in a calendar being put together by pageant directors.

“It has given me a lot of publicity,” Stein said. “I plan on doing a lot forthis title.”That includes getting together with pageant directors and doing a telethon for children with illnesses. Stein does not have one pinpointed down yetbut has talked about doing one for Muscular Dystrophy which she did a telethon for in 1996.

“It gave me a good feeling doing something like that,” Stein said. “I feellike I am helping somebody out.”One thing Stein is proud of is her own children. Stein is the mother of four- Zachary and Mary Ann Stein and Christina and Crystal Watson. Whenasked on the radio what would she do if she could do anything, she said she would spend every moment with her children.

Besides receiving a cruise to Florida and the Bahamas by winning the title, Stein also qualifies to compete in the Ms. Hardbody of America pageant tobe held next September in Memphis, Tenn. The national pageant is set uplike the state competition with women from each state competing in the four categories.

“I am confident that I will do my best to win it,” Stein said. “If I don’twin it, I will still be happy because I made it to nationals. It is going to befun because you get to meet a lot of people.”Stein said it takes a lot of practice to win a pageant and that it comes down to more than just outer beauty.

“You have to know how to speak well and represent yourself,” Stein said.

“Knowing how to do both is very important. You could be the mostbeautiful woman out there but if you don’t represent yourself well and speak well, it could take a lot away from you.”As for other winners of pageants, Stein advises them to do the most they can.

“Go out there and represent people who need to help,” Stein said. “Go intoschools and make public speeches about drugs and drinking and driving.

Show them how you can represent your state and your title.”

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