Baylor professor releases book about faith and beauty pageants

By Sarah Gill | Broadcast Reporter

Baylor professor Dr. Mandy McMichael celebrated the release of her book Miss America’s God Tuesday evening at Fabled Bookshop & Cafe. The book explores the connection between religion and beauty pageants.

Dr. McMichael, author, Assistant Professor and Associate Director of Ministry Guidance is a native to Alabama where pageants are a common occurrence. 

“Part of this book is me wrestling with what does it mean that I grew up in one of the most conservative, Bible-based states in America,” McMichael said. 

She said that while the state “prided itself in teaching young women modesty,” she and her friends were encouraged to participate in pageants.

The book also analyzes the extensive research she conducted in this special field of study. McMichael has gone to over 35 pageants nationwide including the national pageant four times. 

Baylor Press is a century old department of the university that many students don’t know about. Aside from being a department, it is also a publishing house. Baylor Press published McMichael’s book.

“Her book checks a lot of boxes that we look for when we publish a manuscript,” David Aycock, Interim Director and Associate Director of Marketing, Publicity and Sales for Baylor University Press said. 

Baylor’s promotional campaigns class assigns teams of three to a real client and a real budget as a class project. Boise, Idaho senior Ally Whelan’s team was assigned Dr. McMichael’s book. Their team has been in charge of all marketing campaigns for the book, including this book launch event.

Miss America’s God is attracting an audience that goes beyond the Baylor community. 

“Surprisingly we’ve really been able to reach the pageant community in a lot of southern states,” Whelan said.

The book is available to purchase on websites such as There will be upcoming events such as a panel discussion and lecture involving the author and members of the pageant community, and a Miss America watch party where the book will be sold. 

Follow @missamericasgod, an Instagram account run by Whelan and her team, for updates.