Daughter follows in Queen Mother’s Footsteps



By Judie Holcomb-Pack

Sarah Brooks reigned as Ms. NC Senior America in 1998. Now a lively 88 years old, she thought her daughter, Frann, would be the perfect person to follow in her footsteps as the next Ms. NC Senior America. 

Frann attended numerous Cameo Club meetings (Note: the Cameo Club is a group of former Ms. Senior America participants who are ambassadors for the program). At the “young age of 60,” Frann wasn’t interested in competing as Ms. NC Senior America, although she had been named Miss Mt. Vernon (NY) in 1978, in the Miss Black America pageant. Sarah secretly submitted Frann’s application. At that point, it was hard to say no to Mother. Frann decided her talent would be creating a video about children set to music while she sang “The Greatest Love of All” which later became famous by the late Whitney Houston.

Sarah had become involved with the Senior America pageant in 1998 when a friend recommended that she enter just two weeks before the pageant was to begin. She had been a member of Snappy Tappers for 18 years, so as her talent, she tap-danced her way to the crown! She went on to represent North Carolina in the National Ms. Senior America pageant in Biloxi, MS.  Sarah tap-danced to the Charleston and although she didn’t win, she was voted Most Vivacious, an honor that fits her perfectly!

Fast forward to 2016.  Sarah sneakily submitted Frann’s application and Frann gave up and committed to do the best she could in the different categories: evening gown, talent, personal interview and a 30-second “philosophy of life.”  For the talent competition, Frann decided she would sing Diana Ross’ version of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Frann was elated to win First Runner Up!

So what exactly does a Miss NC Senior America do? “Parades and social events,” responded Frann and Sarah in unison. As ambassadors for the pageant, they also encourage other women to participate. Both are enthusiastic about participating in the pageant. Frann said, “The application to enter is very intensive. Preparing for the pageant helped me learn a lot about myself.” Both women said that they made lifelong friends during the time they participated in the pageants.

According to Frann, she didn’t begin to get nervous until the first rehearsal. Watching the other participants, she was worried about her talent. But during the three rehearsals prior to the big event, she found that all the women were so supportive of each other and cheered each other on.

As First Runner Up, Frann will take the place of the current Miss N.C. Senior America if she is unable to go to the national pageant in Atlantic City. She’s not wishing that the current queen can’t make it, but just in case, she’s ready to step up to the challenge.

Would she do it again? Definitely! Not so much to seek the crown as to have the experience. It was exhausting and challenging, but worth it to meet so many wonderful ladies and make many new friends.

When asked what she would tell someone thinking about entering, she replies, “If you would like to have a life experience you have never had before, this would be it! You make lifelong friends, learn about yourself, and represent your community in a positive way.”

In her “real” life, Frann is a Talent Acquisition Specialist for Novant Health. She recently won a gold medal for Adult Coloring and a silver medal for her photography in the Piedmont Plus Senior Games Silver Arts competition.

According to the website, “Ms. Senior America, Inc. is a non-profit corporation designed not only to enrich the lives of seniors, but also to tap their energy to enrich the lives of others. By giving women 60 years of age and older an opportunity to display their “inner beauty,” talents, and elegance, the Pageant honors the achievements of senior women and motivates and encourages them to utilize their full potential to share a positive outlook on life with others. Participants represent a cross section of America.”

Sarah and Frann hope to have a Forsyth County pageant in the future. For now, they are sporting big smiles and perfecting the Queen Wave.

For more information about the Ms. Senior America pageant, visit SeniorAmerica.org


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