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HOME > Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants

Exclusive: Ada Maynor and Christan Henderson dish on 'Crowned'


By Christopher Rocchio, 01/26/2008 

Ada Maynor and her daughter Christan Henderson knew the speech portions of the competition was a "problem area" right from the start.

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They were right, as the Dallas, TX mother/daughter duo became the seventh team eliminated from Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants during Wednesday night's broadcast of The CW reality series.

On Thursday, Ada and Christan talked to Reality TV World about how their previous pageant experience never played a role in the competition; where they got the ideas for their "Hot & Not" nickname and burlesque-style dance routine, which both went awry; how they ultimately couldn't overcome their public speaking problems; and why they feel judge Shanna Moakler should be the last person to criticize mother/daughter relationships.


Reality TV World:  How were you two cast for Crowned?

Ada:  Well, I just happened to be on a local radio station here in Dallas -- on their website, I was looking at some new CW stuff -- and I came across the casting.  It was the very next day in Dallas, and I just called Christan and said, "Hey, there's this mother/daughter thing." We were just kind of like, "Oh, that sounds fun," not ever really thinking that we would be picked.  From that point, it was a callback the next day, fly-out the next week and then film the next week.  It was just really fast.

Reality TV World:  Did either of you have any previous modeling or pageant experience?

Ada:  I've only been in one pageant, when I was a little girl in Albany, TX.  It was a little school pageant that I won, but other than that, that was it for me.  Christan?
Christan:  I've competed in a few Miss North Texas pageants, two Miss Florida pageants and I've been trying to do modeling -- literally -- since I was 4-years-old.  So I have a little bit of experience, but not much.

Reality TV World:  Did you think your experience in the pageant world would help you on Crowned?

Christan:  I thought it would help me! (laughing with Ada)  But doing a pageant and then doing a reality pageant, it's just so different.  We really didn't know what we were going to do, the challenges.  So that was really hard.
Ada:  We had no idea.  I think everyone kind of thought, "Oh she's been in pageants.  She can breeze right through this!" (Christan laughing)  Then once we got there -- and realizing too that you're doing it with your mom or your daughter -- just adding that pressure and knowing that you're going to be accountable if you fail.  That made it made seem more difficult.

Reality TV World:  How confident were you heading into the competition?  Did you think you had a shot at winning?

Christan:  I was [confident].  I told my mom, "We have this!  Look at the girls!"  Then we get there and it's like, "Oh my gosh!  I'm crying all the time!"
Ada:  I thought this was just going to be a really neat experience, we'd spend some time together.  I really thought we'd be gone in the first few episodes, and we could just chalk it up as a really fun experience.  I didn't... Christan has always had a lot more confidence than I have, so coming into this no, I didn't have any idea that we'd even make it as far as we did.

Reality TV World:  What was your strategy heading into the competition?  Did you discuss game play?

Ada:
  Not really, not knowing what we were walking into.  Just having absolutely no idea, it was really hard to come up with any kind of game plan.  We just said we were going to go one there, be ourselves and hopefully that was going to be enough.  We didn't even know what they were looking for.  So we were just going to be ourselves.

Reality TV World:  It was more evident when there were more duos, but it seemed like there were two distinct cliques in the house.  How did those two groups form?

Ada:  Go ahead Christan...
Christan:  I never... I don't know how this division came up in the house.  We were put in the bad girls room I guess you could say.  The bad girls side, whatever.  I think America sees us as the bad girls because we act ourselves and I show a real mother/daughter relationship with my mom.  I feel like some of the other teams were putting up a front.  Like, "Oh, we have a perfect relationship."  They'd really play it up in-front of the judges and stuff.  Everyone on my side just was really real, and they acted like they do everyday.  I know I did any ways.  It just got taken the wrong.

Reality TV World:   Was it easy to stay out of the drama, or were there times when you felt you were getting pulled into it and it was taking away from the competition?

Christan:  Me and my on pretty much stayed neutral in the house.  I get along with everybody.  When the drama went down, I pretty much just stayed on the sidelines and watched, especially with the whole Angela and Gina drama that went down.  there's nothing we could do. We understood both sides of the story, so we pretty much tried to stay neutral with everybody.

Reality TV World:  The judges weren't big fans of your original "Hot & Not" team nickname.  Where did it originate and why did it take you a few weeks to change it to "Blessed Beauties" after the judges criticized you for it?

Ada:  When we were trying to pick team names, we came into the competition thinking that we were really different -- really opposites... We even looked really different compared to most of the other mother/daughters.  When we were trying to think of a team name, we were really trying to think of opposite things.  We wrote some things down, and then when we wrote "Hot & Not," we thought it was really funny.  It was really meant to be more of a joke.  We thought, "Okay, we can really play this up.  You're really hot and I don't really look in the mirror and say, 'Ooh, I'm hot!'"  I'm kind of stuck behind the times when it comes to fashion and whatnot.  You know what I mean?

Reality TV World:  Yeah.

Ada:  What it was, it wasn't really... I think America took Christan as saying her mom's not hot.  It's not her saying it, it's what I was saying to myself.  So it took us a couple of weeks to come up with another name because we really wanted to get the most out of this experience.  I did want to gain some confidence, and it took me a couple of weeks before I felt like I could really let go of the "Not" that was within my own self.

Reality TV World:  How did it feel to win the evening gown reward challenge and receive a trip to the spa?

Christan:  It was really awesome.  I just thought all the dresses were horrible (laughing with Ada).  We never win anything, so it was really awesome.  My mom did a really good job picking out the dresses, and it just felt really good to be noticed through that.  Then winning the spa day -- just a day of pampering -- just winning at anything...
Ada:  Yeah, I mean of all the challenges, that's the won we really wanted to win.  The evening gown to me is really the most glamorous [part of the competition].  That was a really big deal for us.  We were happy from that point forward.

Reality TV World:  What was the inspiration behind that burlesque-style dance routine you two performed?

Christan:  (laughing)  Mom, you want to take this one?
Ada:  Actually, we came into this with no talent (Christan laughing).  When it came time for talent, we were petrified.  Christan's a great dancer, she can break-dance, do hip-hop.  She was trying to show me some of that, and I was like, "Oh my gosh! I can't move like that!  I just can't!  My body won't do it." So we ended up going with a slower song, and we thought, "Well, the judges want to see a little confidence and a little sexy come out."  Christan really thought -- she loves the Pussycat Dolls and all that -- we thought a little burlesque... It didn't turn out exactly like we thought it would (laughing)...
Christan:  I feel 100 times better knowing I almost made a gay man [judge Carson Kressley] straight...
Ada:  After watching it on television, we were just mortified! (Christan laughing)  It's like now we're the strippers of the show!

Reality TV World:  You commented how public speaking was one of your "problem areas."  Would you say that was the biggest factor that contributed to your elimination?

Ada and Christan:  Definitely...
Ada:  Absolutely... Speech was my hardest class.  I would've stood up in class in college, and my voice would shake, and I would start sweating bullets.  I was just very fearful to get up in-front of a group of people.  So doing this and having to do that was just horrifying for me.  I tried my best not to get so nervous, but I really just couldn't help it when I was up there.  Christan's always been... She knows what she wants to say, but when it starts to come out of her mouth it's kind of like...
Christan:  My brain just works fast and my mouth won't keep up.
Ada:  We knew when it came time for interviews or anything like that, that was going to be our toughest challenge.

Reality TV World:  Were you surprised by the way the judges reacted to your interview, saying it lacked depth and thus meant you wouldn't represent mother/daughter duos well?

Christan:  I was a little surprised that it was coming from Shanna, personally.  I do think there's areas that we can improve on, especially when it comes to public speaking. But as far as when it comes to mother/daughter relationships, I feel like we really do have a mother/daughter relationship -- we fight, we love each other more than anything.  We really acted how an American mother/daughter act in real life... I couldn't take it seriously coming from Shanna Moakler.
Ada:  Well the thing was, if this was all about getting the PERFECT mother/daughters on the show, then we should have never been on the show.  We're not the perfect mother and daughter, I don't think there is such a thing.  I think all mothers and daughters go through a time in their life when they're going to argue, and under stress and frustration they're going to say certain things.  It doesn't mean we don't love each other!  We absolutely love and adore each other, there's nothing that could ever change that.  I don't agree with some of the decisions she makes -- and she doesn't agree with mine -- but I just want her to learn from my mistakes...  That's normal.  That's a REAL mother and daughter relationship.

Reality TV World:  Were you surprised with the way Angela and her daughter Tenia left the stage following their elimination?  Did they discuss that at all prior to the de-sashiing ceremony?

Christan:  I was a little surprised because I would have liked to hug them bye... Me, Brenda and Heather and Angela and Tenia, we all pretty much got really, really close.  So at that time I was a little hurt.  I didn't even get to hug my friend goodbye.
Ada:  We had heard them joking around the house, but we had no idea that they were being serious.
Christan:  Angela stood around saying, "We fortified our sashes!"
Ada:  We just kind of thought it was a big joke.

Reality TV World:  Were you surprised to be eliminated?  Christan you seemed to sense it coming a little bit.

Christan:  I juts knew because it was the second week that we had been down in the bottom.  When Gina and Hollis got the best [for the week], I was like, "Oh... It's our time."  I had a little hope that we were going to make it to the Final 4, but I mean we would have been so unprepared.  We didn't have a talent.  I don't think they would want to see the stripper routine again (laughing)...
Ada:  When we got on stage for the interview, we kind of knew in the back of our minds... I mean we felt like we were going that night.  We were looking at the Final 5 going -- and we didn't know what their talents were as far as actually seeing it -- but we were like, "She does the [aerial fabric] thing, we know she sings, we know she dances and then there's us."

Reality TV World:  After your elimination, was there a specific team you were personally rooting for to win Crowned? 

Christan:  I really hope Gina and Hollis win.  I think they would do a great job representing the great American mother/daughter.  How you see them on TV is really how they act in person, they're just very poised and they're very polite and they're very helpful.  I'm really rooting for them.

Reality TV World: Any team you didn't want to see win?

Ada:  You know, the bad thing is the judges, they didn't get to see all that stuff that went on in the house.  I think if they had, that might have played even a bigger part in who stayed and who went.  I think who you are at home is really a true representation and so how we present ourselves on stage might not have been as accurate as how they really were at home... There were some teams there that didn't even try to get to know us.  They would just totally retreat to another area of the house and never even come around.  So yeah, those are the ones that [I don't want to see win].

Reality TV World:  After your elimination, you commented how the experience helped you two establish a better relationship with one another.  How do you think participating in Crowned strengthened your relationship? 

Ada:  I think since leaving the show, Christan and I -- the No. 1 thing -- is the way that we're communicating.  There was a lot of raised voices and that sort of thing.  I think now when we're getting upset with each other or we're disagreeing, it's more like, "You know what?  Let's hang up, we'll talk again later when we're calmed down."  Instead of continuing on while we're both upset.  For me, that's been the biggest thing -- just being able to take a step back and really look and watch all this play out just realize we can handle things a little bit differently when we're arguing.
Christan:  Yeah, I definitely think growing as much as we did during those weeks.  My mom has other kids and I don't get to see her a lot or spend as much quality time together... Being around her 24/7, I really got to see a side of my mom I'd never seen before.

Reality TV World:  Ada what did your other kids think about seeing you on the show?

Ada:  It's really funny.  I have a 9-year-old daughter who always has her comments, like "Oh!  You all didn't do very well!  I don't think the judges liked you!"  It's really funny.  I think they're really enjoying it.  There friends at school are watching it, saying, "That's your mom!  That's your sister!"  It's just been a really fun experience.  But they critique us harder than the judges!

Reality TV World:  So what's next for you two?

Christan:  I'm in L.A..  I'm working on my modeling and acting career, and I'm going back to school for graphic design.  I'm pretty much just concentrating and focusing on that right now.
Ada:  I don't think we thought we were going to become some big movie stars or anything like that.  We just enjoyed the experience.  Now I'm back home just working and being a mom.  I went right back into my regular life.



(Photo credit The CW)


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