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Billboard's Dance-hit Queen
By learning the art of competition through pageantry, Kristine W went from small-town Miss Washington to breaking Madonna’s record for consecutive hits atop the Billboard Club Play chart.
By Scott Kearnan
First impressions are everything in pageantry, and from the moment Kristine W enters a room, it’s obvious she’s a beauty queen. Sure, she’s glamorous and statuesque: Six feet tall, to be exact. But this former Miss Washington state (and subsequent Miss America) contestant also has a wide, bright smile and sparkling blue eyes that invite conversation. As she lithely takes a seat across from me to begin that conversation, her poise is impeccable; she may be seated in a high-backed chair in the stately lobby of Boston’s Hotel Commonwealth, but Kristine W doesn’t need help from the furniture to maintain good carriage and decorum. Even her genes suggest an inherent sense of pageantry: “My mom is totally glamorous, too,” she tells me with a giggle. “She’s the only woman I know who sleeps with her fake eyelashes on!”
Indeed, glamour comes so naturally one might think she was truly born with it. But as a small-town girl from humble means, Kristine Weitz employed hard work and determination, not luck and circumstance, as her greatest assets: “For me to do what I did in the pageant scene—with what little I had—was a miracle,” she says. “It just came down to fight, to will, and to making the sacrifices that it took.”
That fight and will (and yes, glamour) have taken Kristine W from her small hometown of Pasco, Washington [Editor’s note: At 46,494 residents, Pasco today is, in terms of it’s net percentage growth, the fastest-growing city in the state of Washington], to the top of the music charts. “The Wonder of It All,” Kristine’s ninth consecutive No. 1 hit on the Billboard Club Play chart, shattered a record previously held by none other than Madonna. As the reigning queen of dance music, she’s a household name to those who call the dance floor home—a powerhouse singer, jazz musician, songwriter, guitarist, saxophonist, and former Las Vegas headliner—and a paradigm of crossover success for pageantry contestants who long for a life in showbiz.
But there were plenty of sacrifices along the way. Kristine’s mother, a single mom with four mouths to feed as well as a working entertainer, knew she wouldn’t be able to send her children to college. “My mom was working in a nightclub, singing with her guitar,” Kristine remembers. “She didn’t have the money to put us through college. She always told us that straight up: ‘I’m not going to be able to do this for you. You guys are going to have to figure out a way.’”
As a straight-A student in school, young Kristine saw a way out—one that led down a runway. “They said, ‘scholarship program,’” she says of her introduction to pageantry. She was already used to winning talent contests with her singing and jazz competitions by wailing on her sax. “I’d win, win, win,” she says. “I won homecoming queen. I thought, ‘This is my ticket out of here.’”
Kristine knew the best way to succeed was to accentuate her greatest strengths. As a fourth-generation entertainer, the choice was obvious. “I wowed them with my talent,” she says of the judges. “I mean, my Swimsuit and everything… I worked at it, but I wasn’t as polished as the other girls. But the talent? I made them look like complete amateurs!”
But even after winning the title of Miss Washington, Kristine admits to self-doubt. “I remember thinking, ‘They expect so much of me!’” she recalls when, fresh out of high school, she moved on to the Miss America Pageant. “It was absolutely frightening. People treated me like I was twenty-five years old like the rest of the girls… but [I was] this scared seventeen-year-old.”
To prepare for the sudden limelight of a nationally televised competition, Kristine says she took “a crash course in how to be fabulous in three months. I did courses in public speaking, I read books, I did all the etiquette courses… I rarely slept.”
 
  For the complete behind-the-scenes story and all the details on this and other exciting competitive events from across America, as well as a wealth of advice to improve your chances of victory, be sure to Order Pageantry today.  
Scott Kearnan is a Boston-based freelance writer and event coordinator for Michael P. Wasserman, Inc., an event planning company. His writing regularly appears in INsite Magazine, as well as Big Shot, DJ Times, and SCENE magazine. He welcomes reader feedback and comments and can be reached at scott@scottkearnan.com.

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