The pageant circuit has received a lot of attention in recent years, thanks to reality shows like Toddlers and Tiaras, and they never cast the mothers in a very flattering light. But what happens when the moms are the pageant contestants? Well, Bravo TV’s Game Of Crowns, which premieres tonight after the Real Housewives of New Jersey, showcases just that – pageant veterans competing on the “Mrs.”circuit. The show will follow six pageant-aholics who compete in local and national competitions to prove they’ve still got what it takes – all while maintaining careers, marriages and motherhood. I thought this show sounded pretty awful when I first heard the premise, but after watching the preview on Bravo (what? I couldn’t sleep and it was on demand!) I was intrigued. This will be just as morbidly fascinating as watching a show like Toddlers and Tiaras, but without that horrible icky feeling you get when watching an innocent child’s life be ruined.
So, who are these pageant divas? Let’s find out.
Shelley Carbone, age 41
Mrs. America 2011
Mrs. Connecticut America
Shelley is a Connecticut resident who obviously has a superior name, though she doesn’t spell it correctly. But I guess I’ll forgive her for it. She’s a registered nurse, though her current full-time job is caring for her four children, who range in age from 14 to seven. Shelley wasn’t initially interested in being a pageant woman, but her mother secretly registered her for Mrs. Connecticut America in 2010 – a competition Shelley ended up winning. She went on to win Mrs. America 2011, so clearly she’s a natural.
Mrs. Rhode Island United States 2010
Miss Rhode Island USA 1991
Lynne is from Cranston, Rhode Island and is the founder and CEO of OPTX Rhode Island, a luxury eyewear retailer – which probably comes in handy, since her husband Giulio is an eye surgeon and ophthalmologist. Lynne is also a lawyer who’s been admitted to practice before the US Supreme Court Bar and the U.S. District Court. In addition to these achievements, she’s also the proud mother of an 11-year-old daughter. As a “pageant lifer,” Lynne considers herself pageant ready any day of the week. Lynne’s signature look is her blue-tipped hair, which she finally settled on after experimenting with a rainbow of colors. Based on the previews, Lynne seems to be a total drama queen and sh*t-stirrer, so it’s not only her hair that stands out. She’s one of two cast members who does not list her age on the Bravo website.
Leha Guilmette, age 34
Mrs. Rhode Island America 2013
Like Lynne, Leha is from Cranston, Rhode Island and she’s also a family woman. She and her police office husband have two children, ages eight and three. Leha competed in her first pageant as a teen, but eventually took time off from competing to concentrate on her career as a corporate recruiter and raising a family. After losing 70 pounds, Leha returned to the pageant world and won Mrs. Rhode Island in 2013, so it looks like she’s back and better than ever. But it’s not going to be all fun and games for Leha – in addition to being called a “40-footer” by several of the other women (someone who looks good from forty feet away, but not up close) Leha’s husband will also be the center of some controversy this season. Yikes!
Lori-Ann Marchese, age 29
Mrs. Connecticut 2013
Miss Bikini Fitness America New York
Miss Bikini New England
Miss Model Fitness America New York
Miss Bikini Fitness Atlantic WBFF Pro
Miss Summer Nationals
Lori-Anne Marchese, from Berlin, Connecticut, is the youngest cast member, so she’ll probably be hated on more than most. In addition to not yet turning 30, Lori-Anne will also be judged by the women because she comes from the world of fitness modeling – gasp! After a long and successful streak in fitness pageants, Lori-Anne decided on a whim to enter a beauty pageant and won the title of Mrs. Connecticut 2013. In her professional life, she’s a fitness trainer, consultant and cover model, so it’s no wonder she has such an amazing body. She and her husband have no children.
Susanna Paliotta, age 40
Mrs. Rhode Island United States 2013
Mrs. Nations USA
Mrs. Massachusetts Perfect Woman
Susanna Paliotta is an Italian beauty queen from Johnston, Rhode Island and she’s definitely one of those women who wants to have it all. As a recipient of the Women in Business Award, Susanna is an entrepreneur, business-owner, pilot, author, wife and mother of two. Her youngest daughter, Isabella, also competes in beauty pageants. Susanna co-founded Bound by The Crown Couture, a “stylish lifestyle clothing brand for children,” and she’s also a passionate anti-bullying advocate after almost losing her eldest daughter in a “horrific” bullying incident. Whoa.
Mrs. Connecticut America 2012
Vanassa Sebastian hails from Ledyard, Connecticut and she’s clearly the HBIC in the pageant circuit. I think it’s important to note that, like Lynne, Vanassa does not list her age on the Bravo website. Vanassa describes herself as “anatomically blessed,” so obviously she’s a peach. Looking at her closely, I’d say she’s also got the kind of blessing you purchase from a licensed professional, but okay. However, she’s not just a pretty face – Vanassa is a registered nurse and certified anesthetist who takes her job very seriously. She and her husband are both Native Americans – she’s won awards in the past for her traditional Native American costumes – and they have a 24-year-old daughter. As a breast cancer survivor, Vanassa participates in many Breast Cancer Awareness charities.
What do you think of the Game Of Crowns ladies? Will you tune in? This season promises plenty of cattiness, big hair, butt glue, botox and even a restraining order. I don’t think I can resist.