For little girls, the most coveted accessory in playing dress-up is the crown, followed closely by the pink feathered boa.
“Spray-on butt glue” is not normally part of that equation, but for the reigning Mrs. Wisconsin, Bayside resident Brigid White, it was a necessary, grown-up evil that was worth enduring.
“Yes, there is prestige attached to the crown,” she said. “But it’s the opportunities the crown gives you (that matter most).”
Through her role as Mrs. Wisconsin, White has a platform to raise awareness for causes and charities she’s involved in, like the Ronald McDonald House and juvenile diabetes.
“I volunteer my time, and my title has helped secure auction items when necessary, and contributions,” she said. “People respond to it.”
White, 27, has a 1-year-old daughter, Grace, with her husband Adam — which is the “Mrs.” criteria to qualify for this pageant. A runner-up in the Miss Wisconsin pageant while a student at UW-Madison, White entered the Mrs. Wisconsin pageant after a friend sent her the web link.
She had just three months to prepare for the March competition, managing daily workouts around parenthood and her full-time job as a concierge and assistant manager at the Kilbourn Tower Condominiums in downtown Milwaukee.
The competition — combined with the Mrs. Minnesota and Iowa pageants — was in Minneapolis. The format is a standard evening gown-swimsuit-interview arrangement, with the interview counting for half the total score. White was asked about the recent political unrest in Madison, her community involvement, and what would be the one major thing in her community that she’d change. “You really have to be able to think on your feet, give intelligent answers, and be poised,” she said.
Though swimsuit competitions are often derided, White said she doesn’t mind this part of the pageant. And yes, the myth is true. Contestants use what White calls “spray-on butt glue” to keep things from getting too cheeky. “There are very few secrets among contestants,” she said with a laugh.
In Wisconsin, the state pageant director dictates duties for the winner, but it’s really up to the one who wears the crown. “I write the press releases, promote the role of Mrs. Wisconsin and focus on my charitable causes,” White said. “There is no money attached to winning. It’s just great to represent the married women of Wisconsin.”
White did receive an all-expenses-paid trip to West Virginia for the Mrs. America pageant, and though she didn’t win she enjoyed the experience.
“I love to prepare for the pageants. I like having a goal,” she said. “I like getting dressed up, meeting the girls — I have a friend in every state.”
To all women who think they’re past their prime, take heart — there is no age limit for competing. The top 10 contestants at the Mrs. America pageant were older than 35 years old. “The judges are looking for women who have life experiences, kids, who are PTA presidents; women who know how to mentor young people,” White said.
Part of White’s agenda as reigning Mrs. Wisconsin is to encourage other women to get involved.
“It really makes you look at what you’ve done in life,” she said. “Makes you step up your game.”
So for all you little girls playing dress up, this crown is more than just an accessory.