Rescuing horses is not for powder puffs, as former Miss Oklahoma Tami Marler quickly learned when she founded Swingin’ D Horse Rescue. Decades in the spotlight – first as Miss Oklahoma, a Top Ten Finalist at Miss America and then as a television news anchor – her livelihood demanded a polished appearance that meant designer suits, pantyhose, high heels, makeup and hairspray. She and her loved ones jokingly refer to the long (and lengthening) process of preparing for a public appearance as “assembling the Tami Head.”
Today, Tami says she’s lucky if she has time to run a brush through her hair!
“My high heels are collecting cobwebs in the hall closet, and my previously-well-manicured fingernails are a constant chipped, grimy mess,” Tami said. “I once chatted with people like Donald Trump, George W. Bush, Garth Brooks, Gene Simmons and Gary Busey; as well as governors, senators and members of Congress, and now I have to remind myself to not wipe my nose with my sleeve or spit in public!”
Tami Marler on “Beauty to the Rescue”
I’ve battled the stigma of Bubble-Headed Bimbo since I was a professional cheerleader for the USFL Oklahoma Outlaws football team (photo left).
Winning Miss Oklahoma (and earning two degrees, thanks to the scholarships I won) only gave haters more ammunition. Some people are just happier if they can assume a woman who spends a little time grooming must be a miserable, evil-hearted, drooling, incompetent moron. They get bonus points if they can put all their energy into getting others to believe it. We all know the type.
“What did you do today?”
“I destroyed Tami Marler.”
Your mother must be so proud. Did you learn that in college, or does it just come naturally for you?
I can’t tell you how many times small-minded people have judged me based solely on my looks and past titles.
“She was a beauty queen; she must be an idiot.”
Feel better? Perhaps I could challenge you in a Math-Off. Spelling Bee?
I know it seems ridiculous. Poor baby. But evil people don’t discriminate in tidy, society-approved “classes.” Evil people are equal-opportunity haters. And hate hurts everyone, regardless of…regardless of anything. When I am judged based upon anything other than who I am and what I do, I hurt just as much as any other target of hate. It’s no more acceptable to destroy a woman because of how she looks than it is to destroy a person because of whom they love, the color of their skin or whom they worship. Destruction is destruction. Jealousy is jealousy. Hate is hate. Intolerance is intolerance. You don’t get virtue points for damaging someone who “had it coming” because they had too much. Or whatever.
“Here Comes Miss Uh-‘MARE-i-kuh”
I’ll never forget the time I walked up on a group of co-workers who had decided to target and eliminate the newly-hired “beauty queen.” For months they excluded me, refused to work with me, reported me for fake or wildly exaggerated transgressions, and made every day miserable. After a chorus of, “Shhhh…,” I heard the ringleader say, “Here comes Miss Uh-MARE-ikuh” in a sing-song-y, middle school voice. These were women in their 40s and 50s.
Workplace Bully’s Neon Target
Sadly, the “Miss UhMare-ikuh” haters weren’t the only grown women to get away with bullying in the workplace. In one case, workplace bullies spread hateful gossip about me to a national blogger. Nearly 30 years after I passed along my final crown, guess what led his series of defamatory stories? You guessed it: Beauty queen. In fact, any story that could be remotely linked to me – geographically or through multiple degrees of separation – included a photo of me, the beauty queen. If ever I make news again, the reporter will dub me “beauty queen” in the first paragraph. Bet.
Unfortunately, Former Miss Oklahoma Tami Marler is far from the only woman targeted by bullies in the workplace. Studies show, women are the most frequent target; and the more successful, capable and accomplished the woman, the bigger the target on her back.
According to the Workplace Bullying Institute: “Targets are better liked, they have more social skills, and quite likely possess greater emotional intelligence. They have empathy (even for their bullies). Colleagues, customers, and management (with exception to the bullies and their sponsors) appreciate the warmth that the targets bring to the workplace.”
Here’s a sobering statistic: Targets of workplace bullying lose their jobs – either through termination or due to their health – 77.7 percent of the time. That is a fact. Workplace bullies get away with destroying their targets 77.7 percent of the time. How do I know? First I experienced it; then I read about it. A lot. (workplacebullying.org)
In Your Face, Haters
I battled the “beauty queen” stigma my entire career, foisted upon me by petty people who only feel better about themselves when they’re denigrating others. (As if it’s an insult to pay for two degrees with $70,000 earned in pageants.) You know the type.
So that’s where Beauty to the Rescue came from. Today I’m able to embrace the moniker and laugh about how far I am from my pampered past. It’s my little “in your face” to those who twist my accomplishments into insults. My Beauty to the Rescue videos take you inside my transformation from pampered princess to hard-working horsewoman. Today I focus on what’s real – saving the lives of these magnificent creatures. I’m not afraid to get a little dirty…and even spit when I feel like it.
Soon we’ll introduce a line of skincare for hardworking horsewomen under the Beauty to the Rescue trademark. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go toward saving horses’ lives, and educating the public about the plight of American horses shipped to foreign slaughter.