never imagined it would go this far. In January, she entered the Miss South Florida Fair pageant, the same pageant that she was first runner-up in last year, just for “fun.” She did it for the scholarship money, not for a trip to vie for Miss Florida and a shot at Miss America.
Now, all that has changed.
“I was just doing (the Miss South Florida Fair pageant) for fun,” Clementi said. “But if you go into stuff then you want to do well; so I wanted to win, but it wasn’t all about being Miss Florida. But at this point, now that I have been to Miss Florida, I want to be Miss Florida. Next time I will be doing it to win to get to the state level.”
Clementi, a member of the Orlando Magic dancers and the third member of the squad since 1997 to make the state competition, doesn’t have an extensive pageant history like most of her competitors. The South Florida Fair pageant was just her third, and she stresses that her reasoning behind doing pageants was for the scholarship money and nothing else.
“Since the age of 18, I have done one pageant every year because of scholarship money,” Clementi said. “I wasn’t raised to do the whole pageant thing since I was a little girl – my parents never pressured me in to anything. I did it strictly for the scholarships and I just did one a year – I didn’t get obsessed with it at all. I did take one year off when I moved to Japan (she danced in a show at Tokyo Disneyland), but I did it when I was 18, 20 and then when I was 21 this past January I won.”
The fact that Clementi has such little experience sets her apart from others, and it also made her a surprise top-10 selection among the 43 contestants at the state pageant on July 9. The University of Central Florida electrical engineering major failed to make the top five, but she did secure a place in the next five spots, although the exact whereabouts of where she landed weren’t released by the judges.
“My goal was to get top 10. I did not expect top five, and I was not disappointed when I didn’t make top five. My goal was top 10 and I made it and I was so thrilled. Only two girls made top 10 that were newcomers – me being one of them – so that is a huge accomplishment.”
Next on Clementi’s to-do list is to give away her crown in January at the Miss South Florida Fair pageant, and then she will have to choose from about 15 different Miss Florida qualifying pageants, like Miss University of Central Florida, Miss Orlando, or Miss Palm Beach County. She will also be continuing her education at UCF and entertaining the crowds at the TD Waterhouse Centre throughout the NBA season, as she was recently re-selected as a member of the 2005-06 Orlando Magic dancers.
“Being with the Magic, I was dancing throughout the year and working on my technique,” Clementi said. “So of course that helped with the talent section, which has been boosted up to 35 percent – that is technically worth more than my interview now. Plus, through the Magic, your primary goal really isn’t dancing, it is interacting with the community, which I think in the long run has helped me.”
Magic dancer team coordinator/choreographer Jeanine Klem-Thomas also knows a thing or two about Miss Florida, being a two-time contestant herself, and she has complete faith that Clementi will achieve her goal of becoming Miss Florida in the coming years.
“Megan is an exceptionally talented and intelligent young woman,” Thomas said. “She is someone who takes her personal and professional goals very seriously and dedicates herself fully to accomplishing them. I am confident that she will be Miss Florida one year in the very near future if that is her ultimate goal.”