Tractor-Drivin' Beauty Queen
In September 1948, "Miss Minnesota" BeBe Shopp became the first woman to be crowned Miss America while wearing her formal evening gown instead of the usual swimsuit. Press photographers threatened to boycott the competition on account of the change in protocol, but were ultimately charmed by the 18-year old vibraharp-playing farm girl, who told them, "I drive a tractor. I clean the chicken coops. I mix cement."
While on her post-victory tour, she punctuated the Miss America Pageant's sudden body-bashful turn by declaring that "falsies are not honest" and that designer Louis Reard's bikini swimsuit was nothing but "a dab here and a bit down there and back there." "So much unrestrained nudity," she asserted, "has a bad moral effect on men, as well as on people generally. For France, maybe it's okay. But, I don't think that sort of thing is good for the thinking of people generally, which should always be clean thinking. The world needs lots of clean thinking."
Shopp subsequently became a Christian lay minister and a VISTA volunteer.
BeBe Shopp was born on this day in 1930 in Hopkins, Minnesota.