Cinema Hearts: An ex-pageant queen turned indie rocker

When she started performing as Cinema Hearts, Caroline Weinroth set out to unite two icons of Americana that seemed impossibly far apart: Miss America and the electric

guitar. After graduating from college, the singer-songwriter tried to make that fantasy a reality, competing on the pageant circuit and winning a handful of crowns

throughout Virginia. Apart from giving her post-college life some structure, the world of pageants allowed her to tango with how girls and women are taught and treated in society.

“I always felt like I was performing or presenting myself a certain way to try and be what other people wanted,” Weinroth says. “Only very recently, I realized that

doesn't work; it ultimately doesn't make you happy.” While Cinema Hearts has previously viewed the subject of the female experience through the prism of pageantry, the

fixation is most acute on the recently released “Your Ideal” EP. The five-tracker kicks off with two songs from the perspective of a woman ready to be whatever is expected of her:

a queen, a princess, a trophy, a fantasy, an ideal. A few years removed from the scene, Weinroth is grappling with the larger societal struggles that pageants underscore.

“You can present yourself as this hyper-feminized, obedient, cooperative woman, and that can get you ahead — you get invited to the parties, people like you, people want to take

your photo, people want to be your friend, whatever,” she says. “Ultimately, you go home alone and it's an empty feeling.”