Miss America

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Two nights after Alabama junior senator Katie Britt unleashed a bizarre rebuttal to the State of the Union, Scarlett Johanssonn appeared in SNL’s cold open wearing an identical green blouse, diamond cross and wild-eyed expression as she hilariously imitated the 42-year-old Republican’s animated kitchen rant.
This is one of the first and few (if any) failures in the married Alabama mother’s life.
Her ascent from her father’s hardware store to the Senate floor has been marked by shrewd, strategic and diplomatic ambition, cloaked in the elocution and poise of a pageant pro – even if that wasn’t on display last Thursday.
Katie Britt delivered a rebuttal to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address that was remarkable for its setting, tone and over-the-top facial expressions (CNBC)“It totally is not a true representation of who she is, that State of the Union response,” Rev.
Robert Turner, a reparations activist who served as Britt’s campaign manager during their student government days at the University of Alabama, tells The Independent.
Part of the issue may have been the medium.
Britt was born into the role, her mother, Debra Boyd, a former pageant queen and dance teacher.
Her father, Julian Boyd, owned a hardware store in Enterprise, 90 miles south of the state capital of Montgomery and less than an hour’s drive from the Georgia and Florida borders.
As the eldest of the four Boyd daughters, Britt made her mark on the town from an early age.
“I said then that Katie would be the first woman president of the United States,” her first grade teacher, the late Felicia Morrow Metcalf, said in one of Britt’s 2021 campaign videos.
Growing up, Britt worked in her father’s store and at her mother’s dance studio.
She badgered other local businesses for jobs, too – all while working her way through the fiercely competitive world of Alabama pageants.
(The local press has traditionally treated Britt with what can only be described as reverence.
And, lest the uninitiated think pageants involve only dresses and shiny hair, they are hard work, essentially a cottage industry incorporating studying, coaching, skill, presentation and deep, cutthroat competitive streaks.
Especially in Alabama.)
“She’s always been a go-getter, but nobody really knew the direction,” Alverson tells The Independent.
“All your pageant people thought she was a go-getter to be Junior Miss and that’s it.” (Britt did win the title of Alabama Junior Miss in 2000 and was a runner-up at nationals.)
Katie Boyd Britt competes in America’s Junior Miss finale in 2000“But here’s what’s interesting: A lot of people that won Alabama’s Junior Miss … roll in, become clients of mine and want to be Miss America, okay?
“This girl could have been Miss Alabama and gone to Miss America.
She clearly knows how to run an interview room, she will get community service points … At one point, she was a Broadway performance-level dancer.
“When she got into college, she became SGA president,” Alverson said.
Britt had displayed a politically-adept cunning from a young age.
At just nine years old, the future senator had asked for a job at Enterprise store Kid’s Korner, owner Rhonda Welch, told the Dothan Eagle.
She’d say, ‘Just a minute, I’ll find it’ and that was my signal to help her,” Welch said, noting Britt’s savvy.
They’d met four years earlier, when they were both participants at American Legion Auxiliary-sponsored youth programs fostering leadership, faith and patriotism.
“I was an activist even in college; I was an activist for Black people, racial justice.
On top of that, Britt’s government helped make the morning after pill available at the UA’s student health centre.
She’d be attacked for that pro-contraception position years later during her congressional campaign – with Turner pointing out her Senate seat marks Britt’s first elected office since student government.
He was released in 2009, and the young couple began building their life back in Alabama, welcoming their daughter, Bennett, in 2009 and son, Ridgeway, in 2010.
At least 250 people were killed as 62 tornadoes, including two EF-5s (the highest category of tornado), tore through the South, hitting the Britts’ home in Tuscaloosa on 27 April.
“Wesley moved us to the back of the house,” Britt told AL.com .
He’s a big boy, so he moved a dresser in front of the two closets.
“And when we came out everything was gone, including the second story of the house.
She left to become the first female president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama, then stepped down to run for Senate.
Those instincts have informed her political trajectory to date in a way, Alverson theorises, that shows Britt “didn’t want to be tagged as … the other pageant queen that’s already hit the wall: Sarah Palin.
Alabama’s current governor, Kay Ivey, attended rival Aubu

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Never before has a Saturday Night Live political skit so spectacularly connected with American viewers as it did when Tina Fey appeared on screen, resembling Sarah Palin.

Scarlett Johansson mocked the animated kitchen rant of 42-year-old Republican Katie Britt, the junior senator from Alabama, two nights after she launched a bizarre rebuttal to the State of the Union. Johansson wore an identical green blouse, a diamond cross, and a wild-eyed expression.

Britt criticized President Joe Biden’s SOTU, calling it the “performance of a permanent politician.” Johansson, who has received two Oscar nominations and a BAFTA, responded with a plop. However, Britt neglected to disclose that she was putting on a show as a seasoned stage actor and pageant queen, and the way that performance was received turned out to be the lowest point in her political career.

For the married mother from Alabama, this is one of her few, if any, failures. Even though it wasn’t evident last Thursday, her rise from her father’s hardware store to the Senate floor has been characterized by cunning, diplomatic, and strategic ambition wrapped in the poise and elocution of a pageant pro.

President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address drew criticism from Katie Britt, who impressed CNBC with her setting, tone, and exaggerated facial expressions.

Rev. stated, “That State of the Union response totally is not a true representation of who she is.”. Britt’s campaign manager during their time in student government at the University of Alabama was Robert Turner, a reparations activist, who speaks with The Independent.

It’s possible that the medium contributed to the problem.

“She has not taken her TV training; she just does not know how to speak into a teleprompted camera,” continues Bill Alverson, an Alabama lawyer and pageant coach who has followed the senator’s career on the prominent state pageant circuit since she was a young girl. “She knows how to speak from a stage, and she knows how to speak in front of a live audience,” Alverson says.

Debra Boyd, a dance instructor and former pageant queen, was Britt’s mother when she was born into the role. Less than an hour’s drive from the Georgia and Florida borders, and 90 miles south of Montgomery, the state capital, was the home of her father, Julian Boyd, who operated a hardware store in Enterprise. Britt was the oldest of the four Boyd daughters, and she left her mark on the community at a young age.

Britt’s first grade teacher, the late Felicia Morrow Metcalf, stated in one of her 2021 campaign videos, “I said then that Katie would be the first woman president of the United States.”.

Britt worked in her mother’s dance studio and her father’s store as a child. While navigating the intensely competitive world of Alabama pageants, she also harassed other nearby businesses for jobs.

Following in the footsteps of her mother, who had previously won the peanut title and became the first past winner whose child also won, she was crowned Little Miss Enterprise in first grade and 1989 Little Miss National Peanut Festival the following year, according to the Dothan Eagle. (Historically, Britt has been covered by the local media with an almost religious air. Furthermore, pageants require a lot of work; they are essentially a cottage industry that combines studying, coaching, skill, presentation, and intense, cutthroat competitive streaks. This is to dispel the misconception that pageants are just about pretty dresses and hair. particularly in Alabama. ( ).

Speaking to The Independent, Alverson says, “She’s always been a go-getter, but nobody really knew the direction.”. “Everyone involved in pageants believed she was a driven candidate for Junior Miss, and that’s all.”. In 2000, Britt did indeed place second at the nationals and win the title of Alabama Junior Miss. ).

American Junior Miss 2000 finalist Katie Boyd Britt competes.

She chose not to do that, but here’s what’s interesting: a lot of people who won Alabama’s Junior Miss roll in, become my clients, and want to be Miss America, okay? This girl had the potential to represent Alabama as Miss America. At one point, she was a Broadway performance-level dancer; she will receive community service credit. She is obviously skilled in conducting interviews. She truly possesses a lot of skill. She’s like watching So You Think You Can Dance, here’s a star, is what I mean when I tell you that she brought the room down. “.

She gave it up in favor of another kind of pageantry. She became SGA president after entering college, according to Alverson.

Britt had shown a political astuteness from an early age. Kid’s Korner, an Enterprise store, hired the future senator when he was just nine years old, according to owner Rhonda Welch, who spoke with the Dothan Eagle.

“When customers entered my store, she would approach the front door and ask, ‘How can I help you?’ She would not reveal if she was unsure of where something was. Welch noted Britt’s astuteness and said, “She’d say, ‘Just a minute, I’ll find it,’ and that was my signal to help her.

Her little mind was never still. She had such a distinct quality about her. Her unique personality made her resemble a unicorn. “.

After cheerleading in high school, the unicorn enrolled at the University of Alabama less than ten years later. She majored in political science and government and ran successfully for student government president in 2003, using Turner as her campaign manager and later as the first Black chief of staff for the SGA.

Four years prior, they had crossed paths as participants in youth programs sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary, which promoted faith, patriotism, and leadership.

According to Turner, “we all kind of had that air of inevitability that we were going to do something in our lives,” when she had recently been elected Girls State governor and I was in Boys State, The Independent states. We were unsure about the specifics.

With a striking resemblance to the Alabama mother, Scarlett Johansson parodied Britt in the SNL cold open (Saturday Night Live / YouTube).

He claims, “Of course, we disagreed about how to accomplish our shared goal of making the United States of America and the state of Alabama great.”. “I was an activist for racial justice and Black people even in college. Even though Katie is undoubtedly not an activist, she understood my views on the subject and how I believed it to be the best way to give America the opportunity to become a more harmonious union. “.

A cross had been set ablaze at an off-campus student’s home at the university where Britt, a woman, and Turner, a Black man, worked as a team. Their work was not only unique, but it also caused controversy in some quarters of the institution where the cross had been set ablaze two years prior. Furthermore, the morning after pill was made available at the UA’s student health center thanks in part to Britt’s government.

Years later, during her congressional campaign, she would come under fire for her pro-contraception stance. Turner would point out that Britt was elected to her first elected office since student government.

Following graduation, Britt went to work for the venerable and long-serving senator from Alabama. Richard Shelby; she wed star offensive lineman Wesley Britt, a fellow UA alumnus who was then playing for the New England Patriots, four years later. After his release in 2009, the young couple settled back in Alabama and welcomed their son Ridgeway in 2010 along with their daughter Bennett. When the couple’s lives took yet another unexpected turn, the retired NFL player was back at UA pursuing an MBA and his wife was just beginning her legal studies.

When the deadly April 2011 tornado super outbreak struck, they were at home watching TV with their kids, Britt’s two sisters, and a family friend. They were also right in the path of the tornado. On April 27, 62 tornadoes—including two EF-5s, the strongest kind—tore through the South, killing at least 250 people. The Britt family was living in Tuscaloosa at the time.

Britt told AL . com ., “Wesley moved us to the back of the house. He put us in between two closets.”. Being a big boy, he proceeded to move a dresser in front of the two closets. He then places a mattress on top of us after folding it in half. “.

She claimed that the sound of the monster striking the house was “like you’re in the bottom of a washing machine.”. Ears are drooping. It sounds loud.

And everything was gone when we emerged, including the house’s second story. The sky was where our bedroom ought to have been. “.

Britt went on to get her law degree in 2013, and three years later, she returned to her former political employer, Shelby, to serve as his chief of staff from 2016 to 2018. She and her husband credit that experience with strengthening their already strong faith and family bond. She resigned to run for the Senate after leaving to become the first female president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama. Two days before she made the announcement to the media, Britt revealed her campaign to the Girls State conference, demonstrating her astute understanding of both her base and the peculiarly closed-off political system in her state.

According to Alverson, Britt “didn’t want to be tagged as… the other pageant queen that’s already hit the wall: Sarah Palin,” which is how her political trajectory has been shaped by those instincts to date.

He quotes Sarah Palin as saying, “I think that’s what we saw with Katie Britt: That she didn’t go that way because she didn’t have to, because she launched into The Machine,” alluding to the well-known (and clandestine) political influences at UA, the same institution as her predecessor Shelby. “Sarah Palin was a runner up for Miss Alaska to go to Miss America and ridiculed her for her pageantry.”.

“Many people don’t give that the credence they should because, up until the last 20 years, every significant elected senator, governor, and other official originated at the University of Alabama’s Machine. “.

For better or worse, many of those names became well-known across the country. For example, consider Sen. Jeff Sessions, the contentious former Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court, and renowned segregationist Gov. Wallace George.

Similar to Britt, Alabama’s current governor, Kay Ivey, was a delegate at Girls State and attended rival Auburn University.

With the support of Shelby and Trump (despite his initial backing of her opponent), Britt was elected to the US Senate in 2022, making history as the second-youngest senatorial candidate and the youngest Republican woman ever.

Britt’s path has now aligned with Palin’s in a flurry of SNL-parody national ridicule. Both women have also dabbled in the vice presidential race; Britt was tipped to be a surprise choice for the 2024 VP nominee following her selection for the rebuttal slot, while Palin joined the 2008 Republican ticket as John McCain’s running mate.

Undoubtedly, Fey’s ubiquitous SNL impressions during the 2008 campaign had an impact on Palin’s image. In fact, three political scientists wrote a 2012 paper in Public Opinions Quarterly titled “The Fey Effect,” which described research on how Republicans and Independents appeared to be less inclined to support Palin’s ticket in the 2008 election as a result of the comedian’s imitations of her.

They wrote, “Those who watched the SNL clip had a 45.4 percent probability of saying that Palin’s nomination made them less likely to vote for McCain when all other variables in the model are held at their mean.”. “Among those who watched coverage of the debate in other media, this same probability falls to 34%. Viewers’ propensity to vote for Obama remained unchanged after watching the clip. “.

It is surprising to learn that Britt has made a career out of her presence, even though she was already going viral before the SNL sketch for her disorganized delivery and the disproved details of her sex trafficking story, which provided social and mainstream media with ample material for a field day. She was practically being showered with praise for her civic engagement just a few months ago by prominent Alabama political analyst and historian Steve Flowers.

I have been watching Alabama politics for years, and in all that time, I have never seen an elected official take on a new role with such grace and skill. Britt had the most successful first year in the U.S. s. Senate history,” the author continued, noting that she is well-liked and respected by both colleagues and voters due to her traditional southern grace, integrity, and class.

Many who know her would never have guessed that the woman smiling limply from the television kitchen on Thursday.

Turner, the pastor of Empowerment Temple in Baltimore, sounds perplexed from his home state of Maryland. His children refer to the senator as “Aunt Katie.”. He thought to himself right away, “This is a terrible setup,” as he watched his college friend give the rebuttal that evening. “.

“In addition, Donald Trump is the front-runner for her party’s nomination.”. You could assume he had some influence on her speech and the subject, even though neither you nor I are positive about it,” he tells The Independent. That was really a poor setup. That setup was really, really poor. “.

To be honest, Turner claims he has “never seen a rebuttal done well.”.

According to him, “in long-term politics, I’ve never seen a rebuttal help the person who did it.”. “I have not, and ever since I was a child, I have been active in politics. But Katie has never shied away from a challenge. She is still young enough that this does not have to be the end of her. She has always accepted challenges. She remains the youngest [Republican] female senator in American history at 42 years old. She’s capable of recovering from this. In my opinion, yes. “.

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