Beauty pageants in Harris County, TX are more than just a chance to show off your looks. They offer an opportunity for women and girls to grow and advance their personal and professional goals. Open to all Harris County residents, the contests include divisions for all ages and genders. I recently spoke with Hunter Daniel, the co-executive director of the Miss Dallas beauty pageant.
He informed me that the Texas beauty pageant is a tradition in crisis. To modernize the pageants, many directors are focusing on platforms that raise awareness about important issues such as HIV and AIDS. For example, the Miss Irving pageant held a fashion show at the Rose Room Theater of the Station 4 gay nightclub in Dallas. What was once a grandiose show produced at the Fort Worth Convention Center and broadcast on television stations across the state is now held annually in Arlington at a non-televised event.
Hunter Daniel is 26 years old and is currently the youngest director of events in the state. ABC left the Miss America pageant after 2004 when viewership fell below 10 million; it re-emerged on the TLC network, but only 4.5 million tuned in last year. I also spoke with Johannsen, a 29-year-old marketing and events director for Cancer Care Services. As a teenager and university student, she competed in beauty pageants and understands the struggles that come with them. She is part of a new era of pomp that celebrates a “fashionable girl” from the Facebook era instead of a beautiful, plasticine woman who says nothing controversial.
The Miss Irving de Martin organization is one of the few regional pageants in Texas that is active on Twitter. During their events, there are more judges (seven) and contest representatives (five) present than contestants (six for Miss Irving and four for Miss Teen Irving). The day begins with interviews held in a conference room at Homewood Suites on the Airport Freeway in Bedford.