Last week we learned about Blair Griffith, who was more commonly referred to as “the homeless beauty queen.” Though homelessness is on the rise as the economy lurches along—the number of homeless families rose from 131,000 in 2007 to 170,000 in 2009—this story has gotten so much coverage, landing Miss Colorado USA on The Today Show, E!, ABC News and in countless news articles. The reason is likely the unspoken but popular belief that only good things are supposed to happen to beautiful people; as though being lovely is meant to be a shield from hardship—and we are commonly expected to feel worse, cry harder, sympathize more, when bad things do befall the beautiful.
Of course there are also those who lie in wait to tear them down. The Internet was abuzz with a few snide remarks after Griffith appeared on TV, questioning how much her apparently new weave cost or how much mortgage money went into buying her pageant gowns. What she did share was a horrible story that is becoming more familiar as increasing numbers of people live without financial safety nets: Her father died of prostate cancer when she was 14. Then, the 23-year-old, who won the crown of Miss Teen USA in 2006, face more struggles when her mother’s health took a bad turn three years ago. To make matters worse, her retail job is expected to end soon. For the time, they are living with a friend as she awaits the Miss USA pageant. It’s a story devoid of much beauty—unless of course, she wins.