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Crowning moment

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Hamilton’s Janet Bierer has pulled in quite the array of titles in her 22 years as a self-described beauty pageant nut. She’s been crowned Ms. Prestigious Personality, Miss Angelic Beauty, Miss Universal Gem, Ms. Technology and Ms. USA International Sophisticate, to name but a few. And she’s held a Ms. Montana title of one sort or another nearly every year over the last decade. She says she loves the challenge and having a hobby that gets her away from the TV. And the crowns.

“I love crowns,” she says. “I’ve got a little crown on my cell phone; I have one hanging off my purse; I’ve got crowns everywhere.”

The Ms. World pageant, held Tuesday near Seattle, was a bit anemic this year because, Bierer says, it hasn’t been held for the last few years and it’s still gathering steam. So Bierer competed against 22 other women, all but one of whom were American (one contestant hailed from Denmark).

The women were judged in three categories: an interview, health and fitness and grace in an evening gown. Bierer says the interview is undoubtedly the most challenging, and she prepared by going over and over a list of 1,500 possible questions: “They could ask you your favorite color; they could ask you what you think of Condoleezza Rice, you never know,” she says.

As for the other competitions, she sewed both her maroon swimsuit and her black, rhinestone-trimmed evening gown. And she spent five to six hours a week for the last six months working out in a local gym.

It turned out, though, that the scores in each category didn’t much matter in the end. Checking in Wednesday morning, Bierer, sounding a bit sleepy and disappointed, says Ms. California became Ms. World. Bierer walked away with a lesser honor: Ms. Photogenic. But she says that after a four-way tie—she wasn’t one of the four—the judges threw out the scores and picked their choice for the best person to promote the pageant next year.

Still, Bierer’s got her crowns and her dozens of titles. And, she says, she’ll be back.

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