DAYTONA BEACH, FL—Moments after being crowned 1998 Miss Teen USA Sunday, Melissa Kenner, a 17-year-old Joplin, MO, high-school senior, used her newfound power to purge the Teen USA government and install herself as supreme leader for life.
"All hail Miss Teen USA," proclaimed Kenner, the 1997 Miss Teen Missouri, minutes after her ascension to the throne. "All hail the glorious new regime."
Employing a six-girl coalition to overthrow the panel of celebrity judges, Kenner firmly established herself as the supreme power in Teen USA. "I am the prettiest," she said, declaring herself Miss Teen USA For Life. "I am also the sweetest."
Resplendent in a shimmering white evening gown and bedecked with the coveted Miss Teen USA tiara, Kenner tearfully waved and smiled at onlookers as she clutched a bouquet of roses, flanked by her elite, machine-gun-wielding secret police, the Revlon Guard. Mandatory audience applause was enforced with the threat of immediate execution.
Kenner, who hopes to be a veterinarian one day because "I love horses so much," employed brutal force in establishing her military-style junta, seizing control of Teen USA through swift, violent deployment of the Revlon Guard. The teen beauty credited her success to "a bright smile, a positive attitude and a willingness to eliminate anyone who stands in my way."
Kenner's inner circle includes Miss Congeniality Amanda Rochlin of Connecticut and Salon Selectives' "Teen With Style" winner Missy Harris of Delaware.
An 11th-hour attempt to reclaim power by pageant hosts Bob Goen and Shari Belafonte-Harper backfired, resulting in their on-air execution at Kenner's hands. Celebrity judges critically wounded in the purge include Home Improvement's Zachery Ty Bryan, Mary Kay Cosmetics vice-president Andrea Iwerks and Superstar Management CEO Albert Sloan.
On Monday, Kenner declared martial law across Teen USA and unveiled the new constitution of her regime. "The law will be dispensed by me, okay?" she said. "Everybody has to do what I say, when I say, as I see fit. Only the popular shall determine the fate of the masses."
Among the original Miss Teen USA Pageant rules she has already repealed is the one barring pageant winners from dating during their term. "I shall date the boys I wish, when I wish," Kenner said. "But I will not go to bed with them. I am saving myself for the man I marry, because sex is more special when you wait."
Though no formal diplomatic relations have been established between the Teen USA government and that of the U.S., White House officials have expressed a willingness to open a line of dialogue with the newly formed republic. When asked what she would say if she could talk to President Clinton about one issue, Kenner said, "I would ask him to put more money into saving the environment, because, when you think about it, this is the only planet we've got, and we need to make it a better place for our children to grow up in."
Added Kenner: "All enemies of the state will be crushed."
Kenner intends to use her $150,000 in cash and prizes to "consolidate Teen USA's power into an unstoppable military juggernaut." Her favorite movie is Titanic.