I was honored to be asked to serve as one of the five judges for the Miss District of Columbia pageant this past weekend.  The winner will be going to the Miss America Finals in Las Vegas early next year.

We interviewed the 13 finalists this past Friday afternoon at a downtown law firm.  Then, we held the finals last night at the historic Lincoln Theatre on U Street NW.   Last night’s finals featured the swimsuit competition, on-stage interviews, talent and evening gown competition.

This was a new experience for me since it was the first time I served as a judge for a pageant.  But, I walked with a great amount of respect and admiration.

When one thinks of a beauty pageant, most people assume it’s based strictly on looks.  But, that’s not the case.  These women are also extremely intelligent, talented and career-oriented.

Of the 13 finalists, one student is in medical school; one is in law school; one attended West Point; a few of them are in other graduate programs; and a number of them work on Capitol Hill.   It was truly a remarkable group.

In terms of talent, we were blown away — a few of them expertly sang opera tunes; a couple played the piano; one did an artistic Asian dance; and a couple of them dazzled us with their dance moves.

Last year’s wonderful winner, Kate Marie Grinold, set a high bar for this year’s contestants.  She finished in the top 10 of Miss America last year.  Kate Marie, as well as past winners, including Kate Michael (who did a great job with the on-stage interviews) and Shayna Rudd were also there.

Our new Miss District of Columbia is Jen Corey.   She thrilled the packed crowd with her talent (singing an operatic tune).    She also did well across all of the categories.  The Nation’s Capital will be represented well in the 2010 Miss America finals!