Senior Moment

Here's one little old lady who isn't afraid of the word "suck."

NT: That mean old Republic.

Sherry: I think it's the senior thing. People think of [the pageant] as just a bunch of little old ladies up there with their walkers.

NT: But shoving our old people aside is an American tradition. Like bitchy backstage behavior at beauty pageants. You must have some of that.

Sherry:No. Everybody's pulling for everybody. I can't tell you that maybe somebody didn't get upset [when they didn't win], but you don't see it.

NT: Tell me the truth: What if a wrinkled-up granny shows up and wants to compete?

Sherry:She can compete! Anyone 60 and over can compete. They don't look at whether you're wrinkled or not. We've got all kinds in here. We have a little lady right now who is 87 and does the polka. It's not a beauty pageant. Now, I'm not saying that nobody in that pageant has ever had a face-lift -- but these ladies are more natural.

NT: Not entirely. I looked at some of the photos on the Ms. Senior Web site. Some of those gals are yanked quite far back.

Sherry:In our pageant? Um, I know of one ex-queen who's had a face-lift. I'm not against it, and I'm not saying I won't one day have it done.

NT: What are the talent competitions like? Do they involve needlepoint?

Sherry:Absolutely! Two years ago we had a lady who was a seamstress, and she showed some of the stuff she made. Three years ago we had a winner who was an artist, and she was legally blind. She showed some of her paintings onstage. We've had everything. It's not just singing and dancing. They tell the contestants, "Everyone has a talent, and if you don't, we'll find one for you."

NT: But what if your talent is playing canasta?

Sherry:Well, we'll build something around it. No matter what it is, you can build a two-minute-and-45-second performance around it.

NT: Canasta?

Sherry:Well, I don't know anything about canasta, but you could build something around it if you're crafty. We're not all rocking-chair-bound or on canes or walkers.

NT: Good luck at the pageant in Vegas -- and don't stay out all night gambling the night before. You've got to get up in the morning and look 54.

Sherry:Thank you. I'll do my best.

E-mail robrt.pela@newtimes.com

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