Candace Smith was Miss Ohio USA 2003 — but you knew that, right? You’re a pageant junkie!
Or perhaps you just remember her for her topless scene in Beerfest. Yeah, it was a good scene. She’s also been on Entourage, Joey, and The Price is Right; she did an advertising campaign for Ciroc; and she worked with the Broken Lizard comedy crew again in The Slammin’ Salmon.
Truth be told, we have a secret pageant fetish — really, what is up with these things? So we jumped at the chance to ask Candace some pretty tough questions about the Miss biz. Blow it up. Rip the lid off it. Shine a bright light in its dark corners and point out its VPL. Candace was all too eager to play along.
Girlwatcher: Predictable question here. Are pageants outdated or sexist?
Candace: First, let’s be clear about “pageants.” There is a misconception that Miss USA and Miss America pageants are one and the same. In fact, they are completely different in that Miss America has a talent portion and they provide scholarships while stressing educational and professional success. Miss USA was actually created in 1950 when the winner of Miss America refused to be photographed in a swimsuit, which is pretty funny. That says it all! So Catalina swimwear along with a few other partners created Miss USA and started the now infamous swimsuit competition.
Girlwatcher: It’s kind of ironic that pageant contestants are so focused on physical beauty, yet it’s supposedly not a sexual beauty.
Candace: Yes. it’s funny — we parade around in almost nothing on a stage with lights beaming on us when we compete for Miss USA, yet it is supposed to be all about our substance.
Girlwatcher: And yet the substance can be an issue — we’re thinking of some famous YouTube clips of answers that make almost no sense.
Candace: The three categories women are judged on — swimsuit, evening gown and “interview” — have not changed since the creation of the pageant, even after Donald Trump bought the pageant in 1996. The “interview” portion is an attempt at legitimacy but we have seen time and time again pageant contestants, and winners, who were unable to say a grammatically correct sentence.
Girlwatcher: So the interview is dicey — we sort of knew that. But back to our predictable question: Is Miss USA outdated and sexist?
Candace: As for the swimsuit and evening gown portion, is this not all about physical appearance, if we are being honest? So, yes, Miss USA is outdated and sexist.
Girlwatcher: Of course, we don’t really care about that “outdated and sexist” label — some of our favorite things have been called outdated and sexist. Like Playboy for example. Do you have other issues with Miss USA?
Candace: The year Miss Kentucky, Tara Conner, won over Miss California, Tamiko Nash, is a prime example of what the pageant represents. During Connor’s reign as Miss USA she partied non-stop, made out with Miss Teen and tested positive for cocaine but Donald never took her crown away. He was so understanding that he gave her another chance. Tamiko Nash continues to be an impressive woman in her community and would have been a great role model. I do believe there have been some accomplished, impressive women such as Susie Castillo who won my year. She worked hard for everything in her life and continues to contribute to the world in a positive way.
Girlwatcher: Back to the bikini part — do pageant contestants think of themselves as sexy? Did you feel you were trying to seduce the audiences and judges in any way?
Candace: The swimsuit competition is all about sex! If I had known then what I know now I would have done a lot better. I toned it down, thinking I really want them to see me for my educational and professional successes. Ha! I would have pushed those boobs up and greased myself from head to toe, I would have worn my hair down long and flowy and thrown on some fake eyelashes and worked those hips on stage. A lot of the contestants definitely felt sexy and made every attempt to seduce, not only the judges but also Donald Trump who hung out backstage. Oh well, I now know how to be sexy. I actually think I have mastered it.
Girlwatcher: And it’s ok to show your flawless body as long as the bikini stays on — you can show it as long as you’re not actually showing it…
Candace: The irony for me is I have a law degree from Northwestern University School of law, so you would think if someone thought they were too good to show their boobs it would be me!
Girlwatcher: Did you catch flak from pageant people for being topless in Beerfest?
Candace: I definitely received backlash from the pageant world for it, but it didn’t faze me in the least bit. I’m proud of the film and I’m proud of my breasts. When the opportunity to work with Broken Lizard in Beerfest came my way, I didn’t hesitate. They are amazing guys and it was an amazing experience. I became a big hit with frat boys. Broken Lizard cast me in their next film, The Slammin’ Salmon, as Michael Clark Duncan’s sister. I would love to work with those guys again and again.
Girlwatcher: Would you do more nude work?
Candace: I love being considered a sex symbol and I have no problem with nudity. Women should be comfortable with their sexuality and use it to empower themselves. It is an honor to pose nude for Playboy. To me, a Playboy editorial is honest. Prancing around in a tiny bikini on stage and claiming to be focused on substance is dishonest. Me showing my boobs in Beerfest is honest! Sneaking around texting nude photos of myself to people while I’m Miss USA is dishonest.
Girlwatcher: Those nude photos are safe with us, don’t you worry. (And thanks.) You’ve used the word “honest” a couple of times now — does the Miss USA pageant have an honesty problem?
Candace: I just feel Miss USA should be honest about what the competition is really about, just like Miss Hooters. Hey, if it’s about sex, cool! Just keep it real. If it is really about these women’s educational and professional successes, community work, and career aspirations, have them wear a snow suit!
Girlwatcher: Are Americans too uptight about sex?
Candace: I feel like in America in general we are in denial about the power of sex in all aspects of our culture, which leads to sexual suppression. This only leads to high rate of STDs, teen pregnancies and depression. I love Europe because there is a such a healthier perspective on sex.
Girlwatcher: How did you like being a Barker’s Beauty?
Candace: I’m glad I got to be on The Price is Right while Bob Barker was still there. But the job was not for me at all. I did not enjoy being a trophy, and not being allowed to speak while I pointed and smiled at Preparation H.
Girlwatcher: What would you change about the Miss USA pageant?
Candace: If I could change the pageant I would have a more intense interview/professional category that consisted of more than a 30 minute preliminary interview and a couple questions from Mario Lopez on stage. I would really test the knowledge of these women on an array of topics, and then I would keep it real and have a beauty competition that could get as sexy as the women wanted. If I were in charge, it would truly be all about beauty and brains!