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Paramount Parks – Kings Island: Lara Look-a-Like Contest



On July 15, 2003, Paramount Park Kings Island had a Lara lookalike contest. It was run in such a random matter that it took both webmasters and contestants alike weeks to figure out what was going on. Contestants were supposed to be contacted on July 11th to inform them if they were chosen to go. I had been anticipating a response all day. I was really more into the fact that it would be so cool to be in a room full of Lara Croft lookalikes. The idea of meeting new people sounded great to me. Friday had passed and I was feeling discouraged. I knew there was a good chance I might not be picked. I don’t really consider myself a Lara lookalike. It was on Saturday the 12th at 11:00PM that a great Lara lookalike named Joë told me that she had received a call that they wanted me to go. They had never received my email entry due to server problems. Shocked, my husband and I were weighing our options. We thought it would have been more organized if they had given a week’s time between the entry deadline and the actual day of the contest. Our decision was to swing it, and the whole day Sunday was spent planning our trip. Once we had our maps, a suitcase packed, and a hotel booked, we left without any sleep, setting out at 12:30AM for a 14-hour drive to Ohio. I drove for 8 hours and Charlie drove the rest. Our stops were only for fuel and coffee.

When we arrived at the hotel, we ran to a store to pick up some last minute things, we ate at Applebee’s, and then headed back. We had booked a hotel with a pool and we wanted to use it. Unfortunately, exhaustion caught up. We planned to take a nap at 8:30 PM and get up and swim at 9. We couldn’t wake up. Go figure.

The day arrived. On the way, I was spiffing up my holsters and boots. When we got there, I received my badge and our tickets to the park. I was so excited to meet Joë! When I got upstairs I was amazed. There weren’t as many contestants as I thought there would be. I was glad because they could rule out the preliminary round. So an out-of-place me could stay in the contest. The Lara lookalike that I met up with was so friendly. I thought I would have been nervous. I should have known better, being into collecting Lara costumes and being fans of the character and Angelina Jolie. Joë looked so much like Angie, and the really cool thing about her costume was while everybody else is in black or gray, she was wearing the gold jacket outfit from the next movie – Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life. After waiting for others to register we were told to come back at 12:30PM, and we could leave and roam the park. The only thing was we had to leave our prop weapons in the building. So my husband and Joë and I set out to look for the Tomb Raider ride. We didn’t go on the ride until after the contest though. I had no idea that the Land Rover used in the first movie would be displayed there until Joë told me. It was a really cool thing to see. Time ended up flying by, and we had to head back for the contest.

Because there was a high chance of rain, the contest moved inside. Unfortunately, I don’t think any of the inside pictures turned out well.

It started with a Lara Croft Parade to the theater that it was being held in. We paused at the entrance so people could take photos. When we got in, we were each introduced and all up on stage. Then we would go off stage and the announcer would call our name and we would go up and do our impression of Lara Croft. Afterwards he would ask questions about each contestant. I don’t honestly remember what I did or many of the questions he asked me. All I do remember was he was surprised to learn I was from Rhode Island. The whole thing was a really rewarding experience even though I didn’t place among the top ten. Afterwards, we had a photo op with the Land Rover. Someone was there from the Daily Buzz. Don’t expect me to show up in the taping though. When the anchor for the show was taping, a really tall lady stood right in front of me. That is all the fifteen minutes of fame I deserve, LoL. Actually, I am really happy I got a picture with a dead-ringer for Angie, which is really cool. I was really happy for the grand-prize winner. She really deserved it. Her name was Jennifer, from Indiana. She was another last-minute traveler like myself. The poor thing didn’t know she had to go to Ohio. The people at Paramount Kings Island told her the day before that she needed to be in the park. I thought she made a really beautiful Lara and I hope she would like to model Lara again. She told us one outfit she would love to have would be the Siberia coat from the first movie. For the grand prize, she won a trip for 2 to stay in Hollywood to see the premiere of Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.

After the photo op, we were to either check our weapons at security or bring them to our cars. I thought I should just bring mine to the car. I also took off the drops, seeing as how I couldn’t carry my guns around anyway. The grand-prize winner (Jennifer) and Joë and I were the only contestants that stayed in costume all day that I had noticed. I remember Jennifer telling me, “How often can you walk around dressed as Lara?” My thoughts exactly! I was really grateful that I did stay in costume the rest of the day, because I got to meet and greet young Lara fans. Autographs and having my picture taken with kids was a highlight. I also got to meet a web mistress, Ann a.k.a. Trinity34, who helms www.tombraidermovies.net.