WATERVILLE -- Miss America should be a college-bound, goal-oriented woman, not a Barbie doll in a swimsuit.
So says Colby College senior Tara Allain -- Miss Maine -- who on Thursday took to the friendly skies from Boston, en route to Las Vegas with hopes of winning the 2008 Miss America Pageant a week from Saturday.
Allain, 22, a biology major, is representing the state as Miss Maine. She was crowned this past summer.
Allain is set to arrive in Vegas for a week of appearances and preliminary competitions leading up to the pageant Jan. 26, live on TLC cable TV.
"It's not a beauty pageant," Allain said this week. "You're not judged on beauty or what you look like -- it's a scholarship program.
"Miss America happens to be the largest providing scholarship program (pageant) in the world. It's a lot of community service, it's academic based and we're judged on our interview and our talent."
Allain said the swimsuit and evening-gown portions of the pageant are the lowest scoring categories of the competition.
"They're really focused on presence and poise and a lifestyle of fitness," she said.
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