Today's winner will be judged on three categories: swimsuit, evening gown, and interview. The swimsuits are skimpy. The gowns are lavish, with sequins and satin, and yards of pink and purple fabric that flutter behind the contestants. Over three hours, the Miss Teen Rhode Island and Miss Rhode Island groups are whittled from more than 20, to 10, to five, to just two pairs of young women, smiling, facing each other, and holding hands. After more screams, the names are called: Miss Teen Rhode Island USA is Providence's Elaine Collado; Miss Rhode Island USA is Cranston's Brittany Stenovitch.

There are flocks of well-wishers in the crowd. Among them is one of the day's smaller celebrities. Literally. She is Ms. Petite Rhode Island, Kristen Pope, who also went on to win the national Ms. Petite America (5'6" and under) pageant. She's received considerably less attention than Olivia Culpo, but with less press comes less pressure. She is refreshingly forthcoming with trade secrets. "Butt glue," she says, matter-of-factly. "How do you think we get all of the stuff to stay on?"

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