My goal is to publish a magazine which will promote the positive attributes of the pageant industry and provide a forum in which not only titleholders, but all participants and directors can be recognized for exemplary accomplishments and community service."
Following those prophetic words 20 years ago, Carl David Dunn, president of International Productions and Publications, Inc., achieved a personal dream through the creation of Pageantry magazine. In 1980, when the first issue was published, Jimmy Carter was President of the United States, Dallas was the top-rated TV show, Cheryl Prewitt was the reigning Miss America, and Lady Diana Spencer was only months away from accepting a proposal from Prince Charles.
In the 20 years since then, Pageantry magazine has witnessed a great many changes within our original field of expertise and grown into a newsstand publication promoting not only the Pageant Industry, but also the areas of talent and modeling competitions. From our idealistic beginnings to our present-day endeavors, we would like to take you through a time-capsule in the growth of Pageantry magazine.
Our founder, Carl David Dunn, was originally a veteran of the baton-twirling and beauty-pageant fields of competition. In the 1960s he was a founder of one of the original international pageants for children. Through the years, as the opportunity for young women to compete for college scholarships proliferated with the founding of numerous systems, Carl David Dunn recognized the need for a publication which could serve as a resource forum for those persons at all levels of competition.
The uniqueness of the publication has always been that Pageantry is the only international magazine in the world of its kind; and its magnetic charm has always been the titleholder herself, famous host, or celebrity featured on each cover with an in-depth story.
So far, eight Miss Americas have been featured on the cover with a related story, including Lee Meriwether (1955), Mary Ann Mobley (1959), Phyllis George (1971), Cheryl Prewitt (1980), Debbye Turner (1990), Leanza Cornett (1993), Tara Dawn Holland (1997), Katherine Shindle (1998), and Nicole Johnson (1999) along with the commemorative edition cover of the 75th Anniversary of the Miss America pageant. Three Miss USAs have also graced the cover: Carole Gist (1990), Shawnae Jebbia (1998), and Kimberly Pressler (1999), and one Miss Teen USA, Shelly Moore (1998). Additionally, many famous hosts and personalities have been seated beneath the famous Pageantry logo: Bob Barker, Gary Collins, Bert Parks, Bernie Wayne, Dick Clark, Ed McMahon, and Bob Goen. And Pageantry takes pride in all of the admired celebrities who have adorned her cover (most of whom got their start in pageants!): Barbara Eden, LeAnn Rimes, Regis and Kathie Lee, Mary Hart, Leeza Gibbons, Raven Symone, Halle Berry, Alan Thicke, Gena Nolin, Julie Moran, and Lee Greenwood to list just a few. Their stories are always inspirational as well as entertaining.
In its infancy, Pageantry resembled what many today would call a "fan-zine" (an industry-specific magazine). The regional publication, centered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, covered only the major events of Miss America, the productions of the Miss Universe Organization, and the major children and teen events of the Southeast. Originally printed in black and white with a four-color publication cover, the early editions of Pageantry were initially available only through subscription -- very humble beginnings for the magazine which would soon earn the moniker the "Bible of the industry."
Today, Pageantry occupies 10 offices in Orlando, Florida, with each issue reaching a total readership of approximately 2.5 million people. Aside from the U.S., Pageantry has subscribers in England, Australia, Canada, Japan, Norway, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Bahamas, Greece, Mexico, Argentina, the Virgin Islands, Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Guam, the Philippines, New Zealand, Aruba, Yugoslavia, South Africa, Brazil, and Malaysia! The number of associates involved has also increased from three to over 30 professionals who are experts in their particular field. But best of all, the average number of pages has risen from 26, initially in black and white, to over 120 in glossy full color!
As the 1980s progressed, we continued to grow and witnessed the formation of new and exciting fields of competition, namely those of talent and modeling. Always the visionary, Carl David Dunn made the fateful decision to incorporate these growing fields within the pages of the magazine. By 1989, the first major expansion of Pageantry would begin with the arrival of Charles Dunn, our current publisher, who happens to be the brother of our founder. Thus began the metamorphosis of the magazine which you are reading today.
In keeping with the original philosophy, the publication would not only recognize the achievements of various goal-oriented participants, but it would also provide a marketing resource for all industries which could provide much-needed services to all competitors. This expansion would include fashion manufacturers, retail stores, professional and instructional advice from recognized leaders in their fields of expertise. In order to accomplish this, the arduous task of expanding from a regional to a national then to an international publication began to take place.
One of the first decisions made was to take advantage of the opportunity presented by the major fashion markets within the U.S. It was during attendance at the fashion markets that the decision to promote the evening-wear manufacturers to the general public was made -- a decision which would quickly launch Pageantry to the national level. According to Charles Dunn, "The decision to begin with the evening-wear or social-occasion industry was very easy. As anyone can tell you, the Evening Gown is far and above the most exciting and glamorous phase of competition." With this new resource of information, the need to upgrade the publication became apparent. Pageantry magazine would now begin to be printed in "four-color," our present-day, full-color format.
The cooperation between Pageantry and the fashion markets would create a partnership which would help contribute to our growth in the coming years. As our presence within the fashion markets continued to strengthen, a side benefit for both the magazine and the fashion manufacturers became apparent. While attending the regional and national fashion markets, many of the retail store owners and buyers began to use Pageantry as a source for identifying the major manufacturers of fashions that they would need to promote within their stores to the general public. Accordingly, Pageantry magazine has grown to be the number-one distributed publication to retail store buyers within the country's major fashion markets.
"Again, one of our goals was to bring all of these resources to the public on a national level and on a consistent basis," explains Charles Dunn. "A benefit of our market attendance was the ability to meet with store owners from across the country and give many of them the opportunity to promote themselves to a national purchasing group as opposed to the local promotion that many of them were accustomed to and limited within." Our national status was growing even more.
"The goal of any publication is to be viewed in two ways. One, as a cost-effective means of promotion to your advertisers, and two, as the unequaled provider of information to your readers..." -- Charles Dunn. An early form of distribution, still in use today, was the ability to distribute directly to the public via the sale of the magazine directly within the retail store. What better way to begin a national distribution promoting the leading fashions, than through the outlet which directly interacts with the public? However, as exciting as this was, the idea to launch Pageantry onto newsstands nationwide was even more invigorating. As many of you have noticed and remarked, the changes within the magazine (since our introduction to newsstands) have been profoundly conspicuous.
Being a quarterly publication, our decision to release publications was made to coincide with both the major competitions in mind and also to coincide with the major shows within the fashion markets. This new decision would again thrust us into a new direction. As mentioned earlier, our first venture into the fashion arena began with the evening-wear manufacturers. With competitions now year round, our question was "What do these gowns represent outside of competition?" Simply, elegance. And probably, the most elegant opportunity in a young person's life is the Prom.
By the Spring of 1993, Pageantry magazine had begun to produce a special edition focusing on the major events of Spring, Prom, and the fashions which attend these events. In fact, as fashions changed with new materials and colors, the differentiation between the pageant gown and the prom gown vanished.
After the first Prom publication, the Spring Edition would come to be known as the most anticipated issue of the year. In fact, many of the manufacturers praised the consistency and elegance of the photo shoots as the standard which the industry hoped to achieve. Our main goal was achieved: to promote the designer gowns in a classical and professional setting. As with many of our endeavors, the idea of actively producing an on-site photo shoot was well thought out, owing to the daunting tasks of choosing site locations, models, photographers, make-up personnel, lodging, etc. The list goes on, but we're sure you get the idea.
To many people, the Prom edition, which would soon become known as "Prom Time" was their first introduction to Pageantry magazine. Over the years, we have produced photo shoots in such locations as Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Daytona Beach (Florida), the Biltmore Mansion (North Carolina), and the Lee Greenwood Theater (Tennessee).
With this major publishing event an instant hit with both our readership and newsstand distributors, another opportunity would present itself to increase the visibility of Pageantry: the introduction of Pageantry magazine to school-age readers via the American School Directory's (ASD) "Computers for Education" program. This allowed us to promote the enormous opportunities for competition, and the rewards for college scholarships that ensued, directly to the very reader we had hoped to reach! This affiliation not only allowed us to remain a cost-effective marketing tool, but also allowed us to participate in a worthwhile program in which a portion of all magazine sales would remain in the school for the purchase of computers and training. With this program, and others ("Prom Gala" and Montana's CARE program) we exemplify one of our original principles... that of community service.
As we look forward to our next 20 years, here's a final look at how new technologies and goals will continue to shape Pageantry magazine and what you, the reader, should expect to see: We will continue to be the prime source of information to our promotional partners as well as to you. This obligation has allowed us the opportunity to reach a vast audience in ages, from children to mature professionals. Articles for children, our "Teen Scene" column, "Fashion Forecast," self-improvement and fashion editorials will continue to evolve as we do as a society. This commitment was evidenced this past year with the introduction of the famous Mr. Blackwell to our staff of writers and the continuation of "The Art of Etiquette" after the passing of the original author.
But even more importantly will be our challenges in bringing your accomplishments to an even greater audience. In the past two years we've taken the first steps with the introduction of our Web site -- www.Pageantrymagazine.com. As a leader in the industries we serve, the obligation to be a pioneer within the new medium of the internet was imperative. Many of the resources you find within the pages you are reading are also found online, and the opportunity to reach new achievements has never been greater.
To promote further exposure to all achievers and participants nationwide and abroad, Pageantry established this internet presence on the World Wide Web in April of 1997. The Web site features many articles and stories from the current issue, the various fashion shoots, as well as Pageantry merchandise available (crown cases, crown pins, etc.) and contests online. The number of worldwide visitors has grown from under 3,000 hits per month in 1997 to currently over 300,000 hits per month. And the number of visitors are still increasing with every issue. As a matter of fact, this past year saw our top-rated Web site for competition information also become the number-one Web site for prom/competition fashions.
Likewise, the introduction to e-magazine (electronic) newsstands and a few recent additions (swimwear layouts, career-wear and interview-suit photo shoots) has propelled us to one of the top publishing positions within the fashion industry. However, the ultimate success of the publication has been attributed to the highly-qualified staff of contributing writers who have offered a wealth of information to our readers that they'll carry with them for life.
As the world looks to the new millennium, we aim to remain your number-one publication for information, resources, and inspiration as all of you continue to achieve even greater goals.