Pageants With a Purpose
01/04/2016 01:31PM ● Published by Nancy Babin
Beauty pageants of long ago were about competition among young ladies centered on their outer beauty. We’ve seen the television shows that focus on glitz, glamour and artificial beauty, but there is much more to beauty than what you see on the outside. Many of our very own local pageant systems On the Coast are focusing on the very aspects that make up inner beauty: self-confidence, achievement and self-respect. These pageants have a purpose which is to have these ladies help better the community as well as themselves through charitable work and contributions such as collecting for food for local food pantries, helping raise awareness for cancer research, assisting families with sick children, and so much more.
65 Roses Events, founded by Tanya Rivera in Crestview, FL, was created to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. All the proceeds from these events go towards helping individuals with Cystic Fibrosis (or “sixty-five roses” as many young children with the disease pronounce it), a genetic disorder that affects mostly the lungs. In 2014, the events - which included two pageants - raised over $5,000. “My goal that I hold with every pageant is to see every girl on stage feel good about herself while creating memories, making friends and raising awareness,” says Tanya. More information can be found on their facebook page www.facebook.com/65rosesevents.
C.H.I.C., Community Hope in Crowns, was founded by Krista Harrelson from Pace, FL. Some of their pageants include Miss Escambia County, Miss Santa Rosa County, Miss Florida Independence, and many more! All the proceeds from the pageants go to local charities and non-profit organizations in the area such as Florida Baptist Children’s Home, Gulf Coast Kids House, Santa Rosa Kids House, Vision of Hope and others. "Our pageants benefit the community through crowning young ladies to help build self-confidence and integrity and bring out their inner beauty. Our system is about giving back to the community while watching the contestants shine bright on stage. We give all thanks to Jesus for giving us the opportunity to host these events that help ladies of all ages find new friends and have the time of their life," says Krista.
Miss Northwest Florida was formed in 2008 and had their first pageant in 2009 with approximately 15 girls. Miss Northwest Florida 2016 had 75 girls competing for the four titles of Little, Junior, Teen and Miss. Although the directors changed in 2012, the concept has stayed the same; build self esteem, confidence and friendships while learning selflessness and the value of giving back to the community. Some of the charitable organizations in which the Miss Northwest Florida Pageant has worked with in the past includes Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Chipola Area Healthy Start, Ryan Flowers Foundation, Warrior Beach Retreat, and this year, Ronald McDonald House of Northwest Florida. The preliminary pageant queens, who advance to compete at Miss Northwest Florida November, cooked numerous meals, had ice cream socials for the residents, gathered supplies for their pantry and sold chances to win a Yeti Cooler. “The girls, through their volunteer work have bonded and experienced the joy of helping others,” says Pageant Director Robin Mount. Miss Northwest Florida will continue to work for the Ronald McDonald House through the next year. More information can be found on this pageant system by visiting www.missnwfl.com.
The Miss Emerald Coast pageant is a charity event that supports the mission of a local nonprofit, Connecting Kids. In its inaugural year, the pageant reflects the heart of Connecting Kids by bridging the social gap among disabled children and their peers. The Shining Star division, a noncompetitive division, allows girls with physical or cognitive impairments to shine onstage alongside their peers in the Main Division, affording all girls the opportunity to build their confidence, poise and self-esteem. Main Division contestants ages 3-21 will be competing for one of the six Miss Emerald Coast titles on February 20. The Main Division queens will serve as mentors and buddies to children with disabilities, as well as give back to the community through various charitable organizations. Pageant director and Connecting Kids’ founder Elizabeth Medlock says, “This pageant is one-of-a-kind. It will simultaneously serve as a fundraiser for our mission and a vehicle for fostering compassion and understanding of differences. We are so excited to combine a special needs division with typical pageant competition and hope that lasting friendships are made. ” Inspired by her daughter Logan to lead Connecting Kids and the Shining Stars division, Elizabeth is most looking forward to seeing her little girl and many others shining brightly onstage, despite their challenges. All proceeds from the event will go towards Connecting Kids’ Impact Goals for 2016 which include purchasing four pieces of inclusive playground equipment, sponsoring wheelchair costumes for children at Halloween, and purchasing and adapting Power Wheels for children with disabilities in partnership with Go Baby Go! and the University of Delaware. More information about the pageant can be found at www.missemeraldcoast.com.
There are other pageants with a purpose in our area and these are just a few, but as an added note, these particular pageants are also “natural” pageants which concentrate on the natural beauty of the ladies as well as interviewing and on-stage questions which works on self-confidence and speech articulation. Most importantly, some of the best things that come out of these pageants are the friendships that are built for life!