A North County woman who represented California in the Mrs. America pageant Tuesday is asking for an apology from event organizers because a portion of the contest left some people believing she had bought her way into the finals, according to a published report.
Rancho Penasquitos resident Giselle Uffens was automatically named one of the top 11 finalists out of 51 competitors in the pageant because she raised the most money for the National Music Educators Association, reported the North County Times. Uffens Uffens said none of the $6,000 raised came from her own money, that she did not know raising the funds would earn her a spot as a finalist and that she felt embarrassed because it looked as though she had found a way around the judging: "They made it very clear that 'This girl bought the spot, now let's see who the judges picked.... It was humiliating, and everyone in the audience was thinking, 'Holy cow, she just wrote a check.' "
The North County mom said the judges did not consider her a serious contestant because of the way she got into the finals. Pageant spokeswoman Jillian Hunter disagreed, though, saying, "She was definitely being judged."
David Marmel, president of Mrs. America Inc., wrote in an e-mail that the 11th finalist spot is reserved for whoever raises the most money for the National Music Educators Association. The Mrs. America Pageant was not broadcast live, but will be shown online Sept. 22 on the Web site MrsAmerica.tv.