Carefree Public Relations, owned by Hedi Headley and Helen McKnight, came up with the idea of a senior pageant to recognize and honor women who have reached the "Age of Elegance".
The Pageant started off with 30 contestants, ages 60 and up, in a ballroom at Sun Village. Five brave corporate sponsors backed the event; Del Web Corp, Daily News-Sun, Arizona Senior World Newspapers ( now "Lovin' Life after 50"), KOY Radio, and Moore Graphics.
The inaugural Pageant, of 1990 was an instant success. A sold out crowd of over 450 people watched Sue Singleton Love as she was crowned the very first Ms Senior Arizona. More than 300 people were turned away that night.
In 1991, Hedley and McKnight aligned their pageant with the National Ms Senior America Pageant. Arizona has been well represented over the years. Many of our reining Ms Senior Arizona's have reached Top 10, and several contestants have gone on to be 1st runner up in the National Pageant.
In 1991 the Pageant moved to the Sundome in Sun City West. This allowed the pageant to be produced at a professional level and to grow and accommodate the ever increasing audience. The Sun Dome has since been demolished to make room for other developments on the site.
Change is inevitable with a production the size of Ms Senior Arizona. In 2002, Founders Headley and McKnight were drawn in other directions as their "Your Second 50 Years" Radio show, heard locally on 960 KKNT, became nationally syndicated. They began working in partnership with Marilyn Joyce and Robin Colagrande, who took over the roles as Pageant Director and Coordinator. Marilyn and Robin shared the same passion for this pageant as its original founders.
Following the 2012 Pageant the responsibility for continuation of the Pageant was transferred to the Cameo Foundation. The Cameo Foundation is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Charitable Corporation which was founded by our own Ms Senior Arizona 2004, Herme Sherry. The Cameo Foundation was formed in 2008 to carry on and expand the charitable work that Herme started when she created the Black-Tie Cameo Ball in 2005. The Cameo Ball was discontinued after 12 years at the Scottsdale Hilton.
The Cameo Foundation is driven by a Board of dedicated volunteers and, along with the Cameo Club Members (past Pageant contestants), and other very dedicated volunteers, they are determined to continue providing motivational, entertaining, and inspirational programs to honor senior women in our state. The Cameo Foundation is dedicated to provide funding and support to help the "Victims of Domestic Violence".