By Emily Mitchell
We’ve all watched them — whether it’s Miss Universe, Miss America or Miss 4-H Queen … there is no denying beauty pageants are fascinating (as well as guilty pleasures). But before these young women glide across the stage in floor-length bedazzlers, they must go through months of preparation. Enter Cyrus Frakes.
Frakes, who has the effervescent personality of a congenial Southerner and is the owner of the South Carolina beauty pageant preparation business Gowns and Crowns, is the star of King of the Crown, airing on TLC Wednesdays beginning Sept 30.
The show features Frakes and his staff as they prepare girls “from 5 to 105″ for various pageants. His staff consists of Miss South Carolina 2004 Amanda Bluestein, interview coach Shane Arrington, and booking agent and Mr. Fix-It Kyle Taylor (“Not only do you have broken hearts in pageants, you have lots of broken heels, broken zippers, broken nails and he seems to have a knack for always knowing how to fix that,” says Frakes).
“Pageants are all year round, Sugar, especially in the South,” declares Frakes. “In the South, pageants are a way of life. There’s almost a pageant every weekend.”
His success has come from helping girls choose the right pageant for them to compete in. Gowns and Crowns is thriving, with 85 active clients on its roster.
“I’ve had 23 years of experience helping young ladies fulfill a lot of their goals and dreams through pageantry. A lot of pageant coaches in the industry only want to help girls who aspire to be Miss America or Miss Universe or Miss USA,” Frakes says. “While we have had lots of success in all those pageants, it’s our goal to help girls in all pageants.”
Frakes and his team are like the uppity Brit who prepares Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality; they work on everything from beauty to walk to poise. But the journey goes deeper than a facial peel.
“There [are] so many aspects that go into a girl getting ready for a pageant, which I don’t think the American public is aware of. They only know what they see on a two-hour television special that really isn’t about the girls,” Frakes says. “What I really hope people realize from the show, even though it’s about pageants and winning crowns, is sometimes the biggest prize at the end of the pageant is the lessons learned, not the tiara.”
Cyrus Frakes photo credit: Kim Hummel Photography
Pageant photo credit: TLC