Miss Vermont 1933: Nettina Rich

In several November 1933 newspapers Nettina is featured in articles disparaging the Pageant as a "racket." The longest article was found in the November 9 Massillon, Ohio newspaper:

Nov 6 PA newspaper
Beauty Contest a "Racket" Warns Disillusioned Winner

"I'm ashamed," says Miss New England who is back on the old farm and wants to stay there for the rest of her life. I even had to pay for the bathing suit and look what I got for all I spent. Now Nettina (Miss New England) Rich is back on the farm."

by Ethelda Bedford, Central Press writer

Boston, Nov 9. -- "Miss New England" who was Nettina Rich, a little Norton, Mass, farm girl until the beauty contest "racket" (that's what she calls it) lured her away, has come with her "winnings" -- and is she peeved!

"Here is what I got out of it. This!" Nettina made a big goose egg with her pink-tipped fingers. "But they promised me everything. A movie contract, said they would make me a star. A diamond wrist watch. A complete wardrobe of new clothers".

A Lot of Promises

The dove-like quality, which the contest judges no doubt found alluring, has left her brown eyes. They are fiery, then tearful, disillusioned. "They promised me everything. They said all my expenses would be paid from the minute I left my home. They broke every promise. They gave me nothing. I had to pay my way everywhere, biuy lots of fine clothes, and now look.

I'm ashamed. I've promenaded around in a bathing suit until everybody in New England and half of New York has seen me. I even had to buy the bathing suit.

"I cried my eyes out in Atlantic City because the men looked at me so funny and booking agents said if I was going to keep my idea about being a good girl I hbetter go back home. "I wish I could tell every girl who thinks she wants to get in a beauty contest what it means. I wish I had never heard of one. I'd be a lot happier.

"They told us that we must look our best becasuse there were lots of milionaires in Atlantic City and they often married girls with titles like ours.

No Millionaires

"I went out and bought five evening dresses and slippers to match, five street dresses, three hats, gloves, ever so many stockings and a new bathing suit.

"But I didn't see anyone who looked like a millionaire and nobody who wanted to marry me.

Oh, I'm a lot wiser now. Folks say -- look at Clara Bow and Corinne Griffith, Mary Astor and Dorothy Mackaill. They all got their starts winning beaauty contest. But they don't remind you of Dorothy Knapp, Mary Katherine Campbell, Norma Niblock, Corliss Palmer -- those girls, who won for a little while and then passed out of the picture. They don't tell you about all those hundreds of girls who have been picked and given a lot of promises and then forgotten -- like me.

"One booking agent said, 'I know a man who will make you a star -- that is, under certain conditions. Are you a good girl?' "'I am -- very good' I told him. I knew what he meant. "Intend to stay that way?" he asked. 'Yes'/ I said. "To save you some embarrassing situations, I'll lay my cards on the table. All you've got is looks. No talent. Just looks. And a good girl with just looks cant get any where in this racket. And if you would be, well, you'd call it bad I guess, but in the profession we call it regular, if you would change your mind and be regular, maybe you couldn't even get anywhetre then. You would have to be smart, too'.

Back on the Farm

"'I'd rather go back home to the farm and raise chickens and milk the dow', I told him. I wanted to kick him in the face.

"All those girls heard the same line. I don't think there was anything fair about it. Why, a lot of us had prettier legs and better necklines than the girl who won the 'Miss America' title.

"But now that I know what a racket it all is I don't want any more of it. I just want to live out on our farm the rest of my life. I wanted to be a stage star. But I can only do a tap dance. That wouldn't make me a star. I know stage work is hard, but I'd do it. I'd work, study, give all my time to it if they would give me a change -- but I know that all those things they say about being a beauty contest winner is not the kind of chance a girl like me is looking for.

"All the beauty contest racket is good for is to give a girl a glimpse of high life and make her wish she could be a part of it and then be terribly unhappy to learn that things don't happen that way in life like they do in story books and movies.

Go back to Nettina Rich page.