Exploring the Beauty Pageants Scene in Harris County, TX

In Texas, beauty pageants offer girls a traditional chance to perfect their skills and showcase their talents. But a new contest in the Lone Star State is aiming to redefine beauty standards, create opportunities for sisterhood and celebrate plus-size women. This weekend, five contestants will compete for the first Ms. After the show, when Ashley was in the lobby with the other girls waiting for the elevator, a little girl who had been sitting in the audience came up to her and offered her a Miss Texas Teen USA 2003 program.

Inside the hotel, the contestants of the contest, aged between fourteen and eighteen, crossed the lobby, coldly assessing the competition. Tye was beautiful in a way that didn't need ornaments, with porcelain skin, blue eyes, a small waist, and a willow dancer's body. Ashley knelt on the dressing room floor in front of the CCTV, watching the event unfold. Only a handful of girls had participated in this contest without previous experience, as Ashley had done (girls who didn't yet have a title received one for the weekend from the contest's organizers).Although this is the first time this event has been held at the state level in Texas, the national system itself has existed for 33 years with venues across the country, including Alabama, DMV, Georgia, Michigan, New York, North Carolina and Virginia.

The personal interview of the contest began at nine o'clock the next morning without an audience in a cold conference room of a hotel. This was where judges were tasked to evaluate each contestant's “inner beauty, personality and character” as indicated in her manual. That was until one weekend last fall when Ashley became the 53rd contestant of the Miss Texas Teen USA 2003 pageant. She wasn't the most elegant girl in the contest nor did she have the most elaborate dress but she stood out on stage; in the language of the contest she “shone”. He found out about the contest last summer when a postcard arrived in his mail along with offers for subscriptions to teen magazines and cosmetics advertisements. Ashley didn't have a local pageant director to guide her and she couldn't afford a coach to instruct her in the finer aspects of beauty pageants after school.

After participating in contests at a younger age she thoroughly enjoyed it and regained her confidence. At noon on the last day of the beauty contest an hour before final competition began Bria Wall was being cared for by her hair and makeup specialists in a suite on tenth floor of hotel. Her parents had spared no expense to prepare her for this contest as they provided her own preparation equipment including her own trainer and makeup artist as well as dazzling wardrobe chosen from best boutiques in Houston. The day after Thanksgiving four hours before orientation session of Miss Texas Teen USA 2003 pageant began Ashley was sitting in lobby of Houston hotel waiting. These contests demand very different standards and expectations from those that girls in Texas are supposed to meet every day. However some girls such as Miss April Sound have chosen to compete in hundreds of contests. Beauty pageants are an amazing opportunity for young women to gain confidence and showcase their talents while having fun with their peers.

It is also an opportunity to redefine beauty standards and celebrate plus-size women who are often overlooked by traditional beauty pageants.

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