In the spirit of pageant sisterhood, the Mississippi United States pageant has partnered with the Mississippi Miss Amazing Organization. The Miss Amazing pageant is a pageant system dedicated to girls with disabilities. I was fortunate enough to judge Oklahoma Miss Amazing and as a teacher, coach and pageant contestant, I fell in love with this pageant’s mission. To hear that Miss Mississippi United States is partnering to make it even more special, I was filled with glee.
“This particular project is just our state queens that will be crowned in 2018,” said Molly Lewellen, Executive Director for Mississippi United States National Pageants. “I will pair them accordingly after talking with the Mississippi Miss Amazing Director on who is best suited for who and they will be expected to hold fundraisers for their contestant to help further her to her national pageant, participate in activities with their buddy, and attend events pertaining to the Mississippi Miss Amazing Organization.”
Not everyone has exposure to someone with special needs. Depending on your school district and someone’s disability, their programs may be housed in another school or district. But by partnering through a program outside of school, such as a community program or pageant, you are able to walk a bit in their shoes and learn from each other. “I believe this will give our girls insight on what it means to help someone directly, and it also gives them personable experience and relationship to cherish for the rest of their lives,” Lewellen said. How the matches will be made "Titleholders will be partnered with a girl from Mississippi Miss Amazing to 'love on and encourage,'" Lewellen said. Just like your sister queens, this creates a special bond between you and your Miss Amazing partner.
ust like Miss America’s partnership with Children’s Miracle Network, there is a reason behind the partnership for Lewellen. “My mother is a special education teacher, and ever since she began her personal journey in teaching a few years ago, I have been drawn and passionate about pouring into the lives of girls with disabilities,” Lewellen said. “Sometimes we don't take into consideration just how easy it is for us to walk to the bathroom or go to school for a day. I hope this project will help our girls understand the importance of noticing other people's struggles and the shiny hat on their heads will help inspire our communities to get involved in organizations like Mississippi Miss Amazing.”
We have seen many girls with disabilities make the transition from Miss Amazing to other mainstream pageant systems, and a partnership like this one can certainly instill the partnership and drive to do just that for another girl. Miss Amazing judges girls on their abilities within their disabilities, and it is inspiring to see a girl overcome her disability and do the unexpected.
For example, one girl at Oklahoma Miss Amazing, who used a walker, let go and walked on her own during her evening gown competition. The entire audience was on their feet cheering, and the other judges and I were crying. She ended up winning the pageant at the end of the day!
The United States National Pageants system has certainly had its ups and downs the last few years, but it is definitely on its way back up and continues to grow and develop. “We have a fabulous weekend planned for our contestants,” Lewellen said. The pageant will begin on March 2, 2018, with a charity dinner and meet-and-greet for the contestants. The next day, contestants will compete in interview, prelims and a runway costume show.
On the final day, contestants will take a tour of historic Oxford, Mississippi, with finals that evening. “Everything, including ad fees, paperwork, entry fees, etcetera, must be turned in no later than February 1, 2018,” Lewellen said. “If someone still wants to compete after the deadline, there is a $100 late entry fee per contestant, however, the ad pages can be turned in no later than February 15, 2018, at 5 p.m.” Areas of competition Runway Costume Show (Not counted as score, separate judges, separate award) Personal Interview (Round Robin): 25% Fitness/Swimsuit: 25% Evening Gown: 25% Onstage Question: 25%
Going forward United States National Pageants has multiple age divisions, so competing in this system is a great option for families and siblings. You can be a part of a growing system that has held its place through many changes over the years. Mississippi is long heralded as a pageant girl state; it’s the south and judges love a southern girl! With so many systems it can be hard to choose one, but with United States National Pageants, you’re not limited to participation based on your age. The title may change, but the girl under the crown stays the same.