On August 8, 2021, Elise Brisco, OD, FAAO, CCH, FCOVD, competes in the Miss California United States pageant. She will be the oldest contestant in the pageant, but that is no impediment. In fact, she sees it as a way to elevate the message of healthy living and graceful aging.
Dr. Brisco is an integrative optometrist and certified clinical homeopath, combining traditional health care and eye care with homeopathy and natural remedies. She has spent 33 years practicing and educating patients at her practice, Hollywood Vision Center in Los Angeles. “I never thought I would be a spokesperson for the middle-aged crowd. I was always the young doctor, the new kid on the block,” she says, mildly surprised at finding herself the “grande dame.”
Should she win, she will go onto to the Miss United States national pageant this fall; the movie Miss Congeniality was based on that pageant. Also should she win, expect to see a retinoscope tucked in her bouquet.
“My platform is to motivate and educate people to live healthy lives as naturally as possible. Use exercise, food, sleep, meditation and natural remedies as your first line of defense before turning to pharmaceuticals,” she says. She’s not anti-modern medicine. “I write prescriptions and perform medical procedures for patients regularly as needed. But I strongly believe that a healthy lifestyle is the best prescription of all!”
She says that the experience has been wonderful and she has received great support from the optometric community and “the sisterhood of pageant contestant who have rallied behind me even though they know I am old enough to be their grandmother!”
She’s also grateful that the Miss United States Pageant system for having a division with no age limit. “All the other major beauty pageants have an upper age limit of 27 to 28 years old. The Ms. Woman United States division that I am competing in is for women age 35 and above, with no upper age limit,” she says. Beauty pageants can provide a tremendous platform for contestants and winners to promote their passion, but closing women off to that opportunity after they celebrate their 28th birthday is arbitrary. “We’re better than ever as we age. We know so much more now,” she says.