Teen Pageant Winner Decrowned After Dyeing Hair Brown


Teen Pageant Winner Decrowned After Dyeing Hair Brown

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Olivia O’Neil holds up a photo of her short reign as a blond Miss Teen Wanganui (center). Photo courtesy of New Zealand Herald

Fifteen-year-old Olivia O’Neil recently won the title of Miss Teen Wanganui, but her reign was short-lived. According to The New Zealand Herald, Facebook photos surfaced of her newly dyed brown hair (she was blond when she was crowned), and pageant organizer Barbara Osborne was incensed. “Is that a wig?” Osborne wrote. “I hope it is, don’t give me heart failure.”

Olivia admitted that she had in fact dyed her blond hair dark, and said that if she wasn’t allowed to dye her hair, then maybe pageant life wasn’t for her. “Well you better decide, miss. Hand over your crown with an attitude like that. I’m sure someone will step into your place with manners,” said Osborne, adding that O’Neil “would not go far in this world.”

Flashback: Miss USA contestants create controversy

Olivia O’Neil pre-dye. Photo courtesy of Miss Wanganui

Olivia gave up her crown and went straight to the Herald. “I don’t think you can tell a 15-year-old that they aren’t going to go very far in life,” she said. “It’s hurtful. She was always really harsh on the girls. And when she says things like ‘present yourself better,’ ‘wear lots of makeup,’ ‘do 20 sit-ups,’ it gets to you after a while.”

Pageant spokesman Jevan Goulter confirmed with The Herald that her crown was stripped because of the hair dye. “The expectation in holding the crown [was] that she maintain the image she had when she won it,” said Goulter. But is that an expectation or a clearly stated rule? He insisted that O’Neil’s claims of harsh treatment behind the scenes are an exaggeration. “In a beauty pageant, it’s not about sugar coating and providing lip service to the girls. They should be treated the same way as in any other beauty pageant in the world.”

We reached out to Jevan Goulter ourselves for a comment on O’Neil’s standing. He responded, “I would like to make very clear that Olivia never had her crown taken off–she gave it back. The organization never removed it from her.” Goulter continued, “It was never about her changing her hair color. It was about the attitude and the communication breakdown.” He said the pageant has offered Olivia and her father the opportunity for a live television debate to discuss the matter. “We would like to see them accept this offer if they are completely confident about everything that they have said.”

What do you think about Osborne’s alleged treatment of O’Neil and the other pageant girls? Do you think Olivia’s actions warranted her giving up her crown? 
[NZ Herald]

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Alaska angler wins epic struggle with monster halibut


Alaska angler wins epic struggle with monster halibut

By: Pete Thomas, GrindTV.com

Imagine a halibut measuring nearly eight feet long and weighing 364 pounds — then imagine yourself trying to reel the powerful behemoth up from the abyss and and hauling it onto the deck of your small boat.

That’s the story of George Levasseur and his three partners in the summer-long Valdez Halibut Derby.

Levasseur, who caught the monster fish over the weekend, has shattered the derby record by 21 pounds, holds a commanding lead in the popular competition and has stuffed his freezer with a year’s supply of delectable fillets.

But it’s the memory of the battle — not the prize money or the fillets — that will remain with him the longest.

The Pacific halibut struck a large iron fishing lure with a herring pinned to its hooks at a depth of 170 feet, far into the Gulf of Alaska. The fish ran every which way but refused to come up.

The angler, who is 58, was over-matched. He pulled the rod upward but might as well have been pulling on the sea floor. “I’m no spring chicken,” Levasseur told the Anchorage Daily News. “My arms are just shaking.”

It required the strength of all four anglers, using its rail as a fulcrum, to help Levasseur pump the rod upward and reel during the downward motion, to gain line.

Fortunately, derby rules allow this type of teamwork. The fishermen eventually saw the massive oblong white sphere materialize at the surface, whereupon they fell back in awe of its size.

The halibut was motionless until one of them flung a harpoon into its flesh. “The fish went berserk,” Levasseur said. “It snapped that 100-pound PowerPro [line] like it was thread.”

The fishing line had snapped and the harpoon was pulling free of the flesh, so a second harpoon was hurled into the fish, and a gunshot ended the struggle.

All four men wrestled first the head, then the rest of the fish onto the deck. They then heaved a collective sigh of celebration and relief. “I’ve done a lot of fishing and that was the most exciting moment of any fishing trip I’ve been on,” Levasseur continued.

The group returned to an awaiting crowd and learned the weight of the fish. Though it shattered the derby record, it’s not the biggest derby fish caught during area competitions. In 1996, a 376-pound halibut was caught during the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby.

Fish this large are rare, and given the nickname “barn doors.” The biggest non-tournament halibut caught by an angler was more like the side of a barn. It weighed 459 pounds and the 1996 catch, made outside Dutch Harbor, Alaska, remains the International Game Fish Assn. all-tackle world record.

Lavasseur must wait until the end of the Valdez competition, on Sept. 5, to see if anyone can beat his catch and claim the $20,000 first-place prize.

That will be a tall order — at least eight feet tall.