WE tv’s is on a second season of Little Miss Perfect, which goes behind the scenes of the world of children’s pageants. Michael Galanes is the founder and director of the Little Miss Perfect pageant. Nunn on the Run took a minute to judge the man himself.
Michael Galanes: Hello, Mister Jerry. In pageants we call everyone mister. —Mr. Michael, Mr. Michael, guess what I learned last week, Mr. Michael!?!—
Jerry Nunn: So I watched your new show Little Miss Perfect. I want to hear all about it.
MG: Aren’t those little girls precious? They are dreamers. They’re articulate, they’re kind, they are sassy. They love their moms. They get excited about competing. Everything about the show, the pageant, and my involvement is a hundred percent right. If the show has one season or we become as successful as American Idol, I am just so happy and honored to be a part of it.
JN: How long have you been doing pageants?
MG: This marks my 20th anniversary of doing pageants. I own a children’s pageant called Little Miss Citrus. We are thirteen years old. I was also a state director with NBC’s Miss Universe and Donald Trump was my boss. For 11 years I directed the state of Vermont. I ran Miss Vermont USA and Miss Vermont Teen USA. I brought all those green mountain girls to greatness.
JN: Wow. That’s amazing.
MG: Today, I run pageants in Illinois with the American Coed Pageant. Just when the little girls get married and their dads are thinking, —Thank God, no more pageants,— enters the —Mrs.— realms of pageants. I am the state director for Mrs. Florida, too. I cover the gamut from the baby contests all the way up to the Mrs. Pageant, —and all that jazz!— [ Both laugh. ]
JN: So your pageant was the inspiration for the movie Little Miss Sunshine?
MG: Little Miss Sunshine was already on the map but they called me and my pageant staff just wanting to know how pageants ran, how to make it more real etc.
JN: Have you ever witnessed a parent going too far?
MG: Well, it’s funny because the little girls with whom I work with move on. Winning a pageant is not the end all but the means to an end. They perform on Little Miss Perfect so they can perform in real life as a doctor or a lawyer or a Native American chief.
If a mother goes overboard she is just doing that because she loves her own daughter. If every son or daughter have that kind of unconditional love for their parent, what an amazing world that would be! They are producing confident, articulate ladies who are ready for anything.
JN: Is there a limit on what people spend on these pageants?
MG: No, although what one spends on a pageant is not indicative on ones placement.
JN: What do you look for in a pageant contestant?
MG: In a pageant like Little Miss Perfect we are scoring such items as did she have articulation on stage, was she able to impress the judges, was she genuinely having fun, did we want to see more of her when she exited the stage, did she have that —it— factor? So if they have overspent on a dress I don’t think it necessarily helps to win a title. We look for other things.
JN: Explain to me what —Wow wear— is.
MG: —Wow wear— is a category because we didn’t want to do just a performing talent. We opened up the field and have a competition called —Wow wear.— The young lady has to have the ability to wow the judges. If she was a gymnast she could do gymnastics. One little girl was carried on the stage with two hot lifeguards and there was a whole little routine with them.
JN: Sounds cute. I am visiting Orlando next week for a vacation. Why is Florida such a big area for pageants?
MG: Well, every area has a pageant community but in the South it’s more relevant because Texas and Alabama are the winners of Miss USA pageants. In the South it was more of a tradition. The moms and grandmothers want to continue the tradition with their children and grandchildren.
JN: Did you compete a lot growing up?
MG: I always knew I would have a life on stage. I went to college in Rhode Island and from there I moved to Disney World where I portrayed Prince Charming at the Magic Kingdom and many girls with whom I worked with were in pageants so that’s how I got involved.
JN: How did you wind up being the —den mother— in MTV’s Making of the Band?
MG: Because I am savvy and I am hot. P. Diddy asked me if I had heard of him and I did not. I told him I was a Broadway baby and sang a few show tunes for him. I think he was trying to embrace diversity. I lived with Danity Kane and Day 26 in Miami. I considered myself to be Alice from the Brady Bunch minus the butcher!
JN: Hilarious! Well, I look forward to seeing more of your show.
MG: I love you and think you’re flawless. I am giving you pageant kisses and hugs over the phone!
JN: Thank you, Mister Michael.