1970s pageant winner opens closet to help current contestants dress for success [VIDEO]

Hear more about this story and how it developed on the Peninsula Report podcast >>

Visibility is a big part of being a pageant winner. Since the Miss America Organization was founded in the 1920s, titleholders have received wide acclaim and praise for their service to the scholarship program. But few know about the hard work that goes on behind the curtain, thanks to many local volunteers.

Mary McCaman, 52, is the volunteer Executive Director of the Miss Santa Clara pageant, which gave out $25,000 in scholarships earlier in January. A former Miss Santa Clara herself and a long-time resident of the city, McCaman’s passion for the program goes beyond organizing the contest and preparing the winners to compete in the Miss California event. McCaman offers local competitors the chance to “shop” in her personal closet full of dresses, jewelry and high heels.

Among the young women who frequent the closet are 16-year old Tiani Hernandez, Miss Silicon Valley’s Outstanding Teen 2013, and 18-year old Molly Crawford, Miss Santa Clara 2013. Under McCaman’s direction, they are preparing to compete in the Miss California’s Outstanding Teen Pageant and Miss California Pageant from June 25-29th in Fresno, Calif.

This video takes us inside McCaman’s closet and her work as a lifelong Miss America volunteer.


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