WEST PALM BEACH — It should be a thing of a beauty, watching 12 of the area's most charming young women compete for the Miss South Florida Fair crown.
But just ask last year's champion, Jessica Wittenbrink, how a beauty pageant can turn ugly.
The South Florida Fair returns to suburban West Palm Beach this week, and all eyes will be on the Miss South Florida competition a year after Wittenbrink, now 22 and a student at Northwood University, was apparently sabotaged by a fellow contestant. In the middle of last year's competition, Wittenbrink's $3,400 dress was smeared with red lipstick.
She and others worked frantically to try to remove the stain, but in the end she appeared in front of the judges with the lipstick clearly visible.
Judges were told not to hold it against her, and she won the crown.
"It was the best night of my life, it was the worst night of my life, it was the most fun I ever had, it was most upset I've ever been," she said. "It was just a whole mix of emotions."