Synopsis by Rebecca Flint Marx
This documentary about beauty pageants exposes all of the drama and flamboyance that go into the crowning of a beauty queen without resorting to easy satire. Directed by Mimi Riley, Queen: the Making of an American Beauty is set during the 1998 Miss Texas Pageant, and centers on two competitors -- Miss Dallas, Tara Watson, and Miss Lake O' the Pines, Angela McCulley. Watson is a smooth, well-rehearsed professional while McCulley is more spontaneous and disorganized. Their contrast is beautifully exemplified in their choice of performance material: Watson does a Riverdance routine while McCulley brings her ventriloquist dummy Jake onstage for a dueling voices version of Figaro. As the competition builds and tensions heighten, Riley also focuses her attentions on Watson and McCulley's managers, both of whom are gay men working in a profession that is, more often than not, dominated by contestants and families who hail from conservative Baptist backgrounds.
beauty [physical], beauty-pageant, beauty-queen, behind-the-scenes, charm [personality], competition, conservative, Southerner, stress [worry], talent