Lee Meriwether shortly after being crowned Miss America 1955. AP Photo.

From the September issue: There she is, Miss America

September 10 marks the date one of our nation’s most sacred traditions … the crowning of the new Miss America. This year marks the 91st iteration of the beauty pageant and scholarship competition. And, after Sunday night’s events, one of these lucky ladies will gain access to an elite club: the Miss America sorority.

inRegister contributing writer Taris Savell caught up with three former Miss America crown holders for a story in our September issue: Lee Meriwether, 1955; Jacquelyn Mayer, 1963; and Vonda Kay Van Dyke, 1965. Surprisingly, these women, as well as other past winners, keep in close contact. They have spa dates. They go on exclusive retreats and vacations. Jacquelyn Mayer says to writer Savell, “We are forever Miss Americas, and we come together because we have all had this fantastic year of traveling and meeting people, we have all walked the runway, and now we share in our ideas and feelings and love that we have between us.” Miss America isn’t just a title, apparently; it is a way of life. And it is every bit as fabulous as you would imagine.

Up for membership this weekend is Louisiana’s representative and Monroe native Laryssa Bonacquisti. This LSU mass communications major says she plans to use the Miss America platform to bring awareness to pancreatic cancer research and treatment. If she wins Sunday, Bonacquisti will be the first Louisianan ever to wear the crown.

Watch all the Miss America contestants strut their stuff in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall this Sunday, September 10, at 8 p.m. on ABC. And read more about the glamorous lives of former Miss Americas in our article from inRegister‘s September issue, available on newsstands now.