Don’t Miss Out

(Courtesy Rachel Demaree)
(Courtesy Rachel Demaree)
Posted June 14, 2012 at 12:01am

Rachel Demaree is hoping to be crowned Miss District of Columbia 2012 this weekend.

The Senate staffer was born in the District but raised as a third-generation Indiana farm girl and has an interesting bit of pageant history.

“I did two small pageants in high school back in Indiana,” she tells HOH, adding that they provided her with a great opportunity to “hone my interview skills.”

In college, she was chosen to be one of the Indianapolis 500 Festival princesses and used it to develop a platform that’s served her well.

“I’m an agriculture major,” says the aide to Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), a former chairman of the Agriculture Committee.

So she took the Indy 500 and American Dairy Association of Indiana “winner drinks milk” tradition and ran with it, designing an education curriculum outlining the journey of milk from dairy to the glass. She even got a corporate sponsor: Dean Food Dairy.

“The Miss America Organization requires you to have a platform,” she says. “I’m actually doing ‘Farm to Fork: Let’s Eat.’ There are a lot of opportunities to strengthen these connections in D.C. [And] it is a good fit because it’s something I have personal experience in and is relevant to the city.”

Demaree moved back to Washington last year and has been training for the Miss D.C. Pageant since January.

“[The pageant] seems really silly [to people] on the outside,” she says. But “it is all about making the girl the best girl she can be. It is really about who can be poised, sound intelligent and work a crowd. It’s not just about pretty girls.

“People don’t understand that [the Miss America Organization] is about self-improvement and philanthropy, it is to promote a cause and further our education,” she continues.

According to Demaree, the swimsuit competition is only 10 percent of the overall score and has nothing to do with how thin a contestant is.

“[The physical aspect] is absolutely something that we take pride in.”

It is about a personal commitment to being nutritionally responsible and physically healthy. She is adamant that healthy does not mean skinny.

As for her talent, Demaree will perform a dramatic send-up of pageant life from the classic sitcom “Designing Women.”

The Miss D.C. Pageant will be held Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at the University of the District of Columbia auditorium. Tickets are on sale now. The winner will head to the Miss America pageant.