Southern Living

Jeanne Robertson, 74-year-old humorist and motivational speaker, began her successful career by competing in beauty pageants. It was in the pageant environment that Jeanne began to develop a passion for making people laugh. The Auburn University alumni traveled to her home state of North Carolina one weekend, and, on a whim, decided to enter her local beauty pageant contest. She went on to win the North Carolina competition, and then competed for the title of Miss America. But, Jeanne was never intimidated. She had always found her true identity and confidence through playing basketball. The former Miss North Carolina still holds the honor of being the tallest contestant to participate in the Miss America beauty pageant. As the 6-foot-2-inch motivational speaker puts it – playing basketball granted her the confidence to compete on a national platform in Atlantic City. The vast audience didn’t intimidate her because she had already faced a more threatening opponent – athletic basketball players guarding her every step. Through playing the sport, Jeanne was already accustomed to being in font of people; it gave her the jumpstart that would eventually lead to a long and meaningful career as a humorist!

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