Features David and Karen in Las Vegas

Published on August 3rd, 2012 | by Dr. Richard Martorano


David and Karin Jenkins – Superstars in the Pageantry Industry

We met after they were the master and mistress of ceremonies at a USO concert at the Peabody Auditorium in Daytona Beach, Florida.  They were introduced as “Florida’s perfect couple in 1994″ and “America’s most talented couple in 1994” of which my lovely lady Ann and I immediately took offense.  There is no doubt that my wife and I are “Florida’s perfect couple”.  David and Karin have been “A Couple” since they were 12 years old growing up on a farm in Oberlin, Ohio. The term “You’ve come a long way baby” applies too both of them.

David and Karin Jenkins are both extremely handsome people with major personalities, very confident in their stage presence and personalities with obviously a wealth of experience being in front of people.  As a performer and entertainer myself, I immediately recognized that talent and thought it would be good to know them.

That didn’t happen for a couple of years until I was hired by the Little Theater in New Smyrna Beach to act as musical director for the Broadway show, “Joseph and the amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”.  David Jenkins called and asked to study voice with me and to prepare for the audition that was to take place in a few weeks. More about that later

David and Karin Jenkins are Superstars not only in Volusia County but internationally. They have been involved in all aspects of local, national and international beauty pageants since 1976.  They have participated as contestants, certified judges, emcees, coaches, producers, choreographers, costume and gown designers, hairstylists and makeup artists.   Collectively their pageant titles and credits are far too numerous to mention. Karin’s titles begin as “Miss Teenage Elyria” and culminate with “Mrs. All American Ambassador” in 2009.   David’s titles begin with “Florida’s perfect couple of a 1994” and concludes as “World’s Perfect Couple in 2011’ and do not forget being recognized as “Royal American Renaissance Lifetime King of 2005”.  Both Karin and David are certified Miss America judges.

Along with the their pageant awards, articles written about David have appeared in Pageantry Magazine, the National Inquirer, American salon 2009 and Marie Claire- England and Australia editions.  Karin has been featured on PM Magazine 1980, Miss Ohio America 1980 and hosted a PBS telethon.  Karin is also a published author with her book entitled, “Pageant Land and the Family who lived there” which is treated as a textbook for contestants.

David and Karin are the owners of Applause Salon in New Smyrna Beach.  Applause is a full service salon that has been in business over 28 years.  Their business goes hand-in-hand with other talents.  David is also a fashion designer and marvelous seamstress.  His designs have been used for the opening productions numbers at multiple State competitions – Miss Ohio and Miss America Pageants specifically.  He also designs for community theaters throughout the region.  He has designed pageant gowns and aerobic wear used by competitors at all levels of competition.  He designs gorgeous gowns that Karin uses in her professional appearances.  Lucky her!

Another accomplishment showing David’s and Karin’s success in the industry: They did hair and makeup work that can be seen in the Sandra Bullock movie, “Miss Congeniality”. To work at that level in the motion picture industry is an honest accomplishment. Karin has worked as a makeup artist in state, national and international pageants including “Mrs. America California, Mrs. World, St. Petersburg Russia and Mrs. Ms. and Mr. United States pageants, Las Vegas.”  Today contestants throughout the country seek out the Jenkins to coach and prepare them for competition.  They have participated in every capacity of pageantry so they know what a contestant needs to do to be a winner.

So What?

At this time after reading all of the above – I know what you thinking.  So what?   Let me explain.  Every industry has a board or jury that issue credentials, certifies associates, awards and recognizes those who excel and exceeds standards of that industry. Show business probably has more awards given to those in the industry than any other profession because it is the most visible, discerning and most sought after as a career.  As you can gather, pageantry is all about awards.  The reason young people or adults compete in pageants is for recognition of their talent or beauty, prize money, a trophy and most importantly today, scholarship money.

For the last 25 years, Karin and David have made time to participate collectively in over 30 productions at the Little Theater in New Smyrna Beach. In 2000 Karin was voted a lifetime Member of the Little theater with David soon to follow.  As I mentioned at the top of this writing, my first association with David was in his studies with me to audition for the lead of Joseph in the New Smyrna Beach Little Theater’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”.  The production was under the artistic direction of Ted Pack and had 13 sold out performances, setting a standard for musicals at the theatre. David was cast as Joseph and Karin was cast as “Mrs. Potiphar” which allowed her to show her talents as a student of dance.  The role of Joseph for David was perfect.  A lifetime of pageantry experience was shown in his performances.

David has always sung but never had the right vehicle to show evidence of his skills.  Joseph for David was the right show, the right costumes, the right production, the right cast, the right music, the right theatre and the right direction.  It will be difficult in his lifetime to duplicate that success.

At Applause Salon in New Smyrna Beach, work sometimes requires 50-hour weeks.  It is a family owned and operated business with the addition of their son Ryan as the hip stylist and daughter-in-law Jenny, supplementing operational services in many areas. Their daughter Tara lives in Chicago herself a successful businessperson.

Everybody wants to be in show business.  I have yet to meet someone who at one time in their life didn’t play an instrument, take piano lessons, enter a beauty pageant, or play guitar in a boogie band while in college.  Making a career and earning a living in the industry is a different bag.  It takes exceptional effort, self-confidence, training and study, diligence, and an ability to overcome disparagement.

Show business is a difficult business to have any semblance of stability and constancy.  David and Karin are connected at the hip. My admiration for the Jenkins is that they run a successful business together – perform in community theater productions together – have raised a respectful and caring family together and most importantly – have made time to love each other together. What more can you say about a couple.

Enough said. I hope after reading this you will have a better idea of who David and Karen Jenkins are.  I am proud to call them friends. However, my wife Ann and I are still the “Florida’s Most Perfect Couple”.


About the Author

A prominent musician, producer, composer, music director, adjunct university professor and owner of R. Martorano Productions LLC and Music, Etc. Inc. who is residing in New Smyrna Beach. He has produced and directed over 30 Broadway musicals for community or Dinner theater and worked with some of the biggest names in show business. He has also produced over 30 jingles and TV commercials. Dr. Martorano has an undergraduate and Master degrees from Florida State University and Rollins College and Doctorate in Music and Broadcast Communications from California State Western University. He is a feature contributor to the New Smyrna Beach Observer and can be reached at rjaem2222@bellsouth.net or on his web page RMartoranoproductions.com

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