Former Miss Alaska makes trip to Obama inauguration

Posted: Wednesday, January 21, 2009

FAIRBANKS — Maryline Blackburn enjoyed a brief stint in the spotlight in 1984 when the former Fairbanks resident was crowned Miss Alaska.

Today, she’s known more for who she beat for the crown — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin — than for the title itself.

Now a singer, she was scheduled to represent the state Tuesday evening by performing at a pair of inaugural dances in Washington, D.C.

Blackburn called the chance to perform an honor.

“I was a part of history 25 years ago, and I am a part of history in the making once again," she said. “I am absolutely excited to be involved in welcoming the first African-American president of the United States."

Blackburn planned to sing at the Legends Ball, hosted by Dionne Warwick, and the Urban Ball, hosted by rapper Ludacris. Blackburn plans to sing a song she wrote called, “Stand Together Now."

She’s accustomed to joining big names on the stage, entertainers such as Bob Hope, Cab & Chris Calloway, The Platters, Celine Dion, and Peabo Bryson, among others.

“I’ve been able to meet so many incredible performers and will be taking the stage with some of them, it is so exciting to have this opportunity," she said.

She lives in Atlanta, but says she still considers Fairbanks home.

Blackburn left Alaska before Palin began her rapid ascent into the national limelight as John McCain’s running mate on the Republican ticket last year.

News of Palin’s entry into state politics — she’s Alaska’s first female governor — came from family members and stunned Blackburn.

“I was surprised because when we competed, she didn’t show any interest in politics," Blackburn said.

Blackburn said she was pleased for Palin, especially for the vice-presidential nomination.

“I was very proud of her," she said. “I was excited because I competed with her and she is a female, so that is another notch in the lipstick case for women," the singer said. “We aren’t just stay-at-home moms. We can have a career, too, and be involved in politics."

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