Dr. Widder was invited to participate as a judge at the annual Miss Korea D.C. contest in April of 2013 at Virginia Community College. Ah-Jin Song, also known as Loria Song, was the overall winner. Dr. Widder predicted that Ms. Song would be a strong contestant even before the pageant began.
You were recently chosen to be among the panel of judges at a beauty contest. Which contest was it?
It was the Miss Korea pageant for the Washington, D.C. area. They conduct the contest in different areas in the U.S. and the regional winners go to Korea to compete for Miss Korea. The winner of that will go to the Miss Universe pageant. There were quite a large number of contestants. They had to be assessed by their overall beauty, obviously, but also their talking points, the bathing suit competition, and their talent. They received points for each segment of the competition. The one who received most of the points across all segments won.
When was the pageant held?
It was April 18th at Virginia Community College. I remember the date because I had just come back from the meeting in New York where I was learning about labioplasty. The next day I went to participate as a judge. The other judges were lawyers and a mix of business people – car dealership owners and others. I enjoyed the opportunity to meet them. It was an interesting event for me because it was the first time I ever judged a beauty contest and I was especially happy to have the chance to spend time getting to know more members of the Korean community in my area.
How did you become a judge?
I do marketing for my Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery Center with a woman who is well connected in the Korean community. I had placed a big advertisement in the Korean Times and she offered me the opportunity to participate as a judge. I was the only non-Korean participant. It was a unique experience for me. One funny thing is that I did better than most of the others in predicting who was going to win it. It was decided just by the judges- it wasn’t like on TV with America voting.
Tell me about the contestants. Who really stood out for you?
I was interviewed about this by the Korean TV news and they asked me that same question. I told them that the woman who was selected, Ah-Jin Song, really deserved it. She was very pretty, but beyond her beauty, she was absolutely confident whenever she talked. Really, it was a pleasure to listen. She was very energetic and lively, and in the talent section, she performed a wonderfully creative belly dance routine. I was impressed with her more than any of the others. There were at least one or two contestants who were prettier than her as far as physical beauty, but as far as eloquence, confidence, and open-mindedness, she was the best. She had the ability to speak her mind in a way that it didn’t seem at all like she was reading it from a paper. It was coming from within herself.
Any winner of a pageant has to represent the community and has to have the ability to communicate with people, to express herself in an intelligent way. You don’t want someone to represent a nation who can’t speak clearly or make sense, even though she may be very pretty. If someone is to be elected Miss USA or Miss Korea, you want them to proudly represent the country. You don’t want to be embarrassed. Beauty isn’t everything. Beauty is very important –I know and care a lot about beauty – but you also have to be intelligent to win the contest.
Through all the segments of the competition, when did you begin to feel so positively about the winner, Ah-Jin Song?
It was actually before the public competition. All the judges were in a room and all the contestants came to our room and presented themselves. Every one of them answered the questions that we asked them, and Ah-Jin Song was already stunning. She is very young – maybe 21 or 22 – and the way she expressed herself was so much more mature than her age. Everyone was impressed. The only thing that made me less sure that she would win, even though as the contest went on I was more convinced that she should, was that she doesn’t represent the typical Korean beauty. She has darker skin. Most Koreans have very light skin. She even joked with us, “I don’t know why I’m brown; both my parents are Korean.” She immediately attacked the issue. I was very happy she won. Because her look is a bit out of the mainstream, a few of the judges were quite surprised.
Did plastic surgery play a role in the beauty of the contestants you were judging?
No, it didn’t look to me that they had any surgery. I told a few of them there that I could help them to become Miss Universe if they come to my office. The winner of the competition is flat chested. In this competition, she was so far above intellectually, there was no question in my mind who should win. I think in the future, though, breast augmentation would help her if she’s interested in taking that step. She is very attractive, yet at the same time, breast size does play a role in the selection of pageant winners. If for instance, two contestants are equally smart and eloquent, who’s going to win? The prettier one – the most overall attractive one. It would have been too late for surgery for the next level of this particular competition. The winning regional contestants had to leave for Korea one week later. But at some later time, if the contestants would like to visit my office, I would be happy to help them out a little bit for their future endeavors.
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