Ms. New Jersey Carolyn Slade Harden is crowned Ms. Senior America during the 38th Annual National Ms. Senior America 2017 Pageant at the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey October 19, 2017. AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY
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Beauty pageants may conjure up images of young women in bikinis, but in Atlantic City a roomful of sequined grandmothers and great-grandmothers are putting their best stiletto forward. From an ex-CIA employee to Whitney Houston's childhood choir director to a marathon runner, Ms. Senior America celebrates women aged 60 and above who defy stereotypes of what it means to be ladies of a certain age who in past years may have sunk into a rocking chair.There were 47.8 million people aged 65 and over in the United States in 2015, or 15 percent of the population – a number projected to rise to 98.2 million, or nearly one in four residents by 2060 .Ultimately it was Ms. Senior New Jersey with a megawatt smile and enviable skin, who carried the day, buoyed by a home-state crowd two years after the death of her husband of 51 years.Slade Harden says she wants to put the pageant on the map and do more to help local communities.But when it comes to her crown, her family has just one ask.
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