Thursday, June 21, 2018

Five Inspiring Facts We Love About Thom Brodeur-Kazanjian, Queen Beauty USA President

Queen Beauty USA is looking to bring the "beauty" back to pageantry and to unapologetically celebrate that women can be beautiful inside and out, and compete to advance their career goals and aspirations in the modeling, acting and entertainment industries without needing a story.
Thom Brodeur-Kazanjian - President, Queen Beauty USA 

Queen Beauty USA is the official country preliminary to the Queen Beauty Universe or La Reina Belleza Universo in Spanish, an international pageant system of King & Queen Beauty Spain or Rey & Reina Belleza España in Spanish.

The system is nearly five years in running and aims to bring a fresh perspective to pageantry. Thom Brodeur-Kazanjian, President of Queen Beauty USA, was selected out of the dozens of submissions for the license. Thom brought Queen Beauty USA to the United States during the evolution and changeover period, the time when Miss America and Miss Universe Organization(s) have signaled changes of their brands, in hopes to accommodate on what they believe their audience would love to see. He quoted, "That was the time of a very tough pageant market.” Needless to say, Thom is shaking things up and is determined to bring glamorous elements back in the center stage. Queen Beauty USA 2019 pageant will be held in Arizona in the summer of 2019, where Thom planned to produce the pageant using television and digital platforms.

Here are Five Inspiring Facts We Love About Thom Brodeur-Kazanjian

1. His pageant journey is inspirational. Thom discovered pageantry before graduating high school and has been in the pageant business for more than 30 years. Yes, we can testify he is a living legend, “In 1991, as a junior in college, I won the one and only "guy pageant" I'd ever competed in, Mr. Male America. Thank God for that. I was out of money for school, and if not for the cash prize, I would have never finished college. It was then that pageantry became less of a hobby and more of a life-changing platform in my mind. Right out of college, I was a multi-state director for GuyRex Productions; back then it was a franchise holder of the Miss World America pageant. I left the pageant and television industries to work for the next 24 years in the technology field where I served in executive leadership roles in marketing, strategy, operations and corporate development for companies like GoDaddy, Marketwired, EmpowHER, and MariaShireen. Most recently, before starting my own company again at the age of 48, I was the CEO of - the swimwear and activewear sponsors for the 2017 Miss USA & Teen USA competitions.”

2. He is family-oriented. Thom is an only child! He was born in Ft. Lauderdale Florida, raised outside of Youngstown Ohio, graduated 7th in his High School class, and he was the class Vice President, Prom King and co-editor of the High School newspaper. How impressive! Thom and his husband Tavit are the proud fathers of their awesome 13-year old son, Dante, and four vertically challenged dachshund puppies namely Google, Giggle, Atlas and Apollo.

3. He unapologetically celebrates beauty. We love Thom's reference of "beauty inside the beauty," he says, “Anyone who knows me knows what I've been saying for a long time that we should stop apologizing for celebrating beauty. We spend decades building our daughters, granddaughters, sisters, nieces and other young women in our lives by telling them how special they are, how remarkable they are, how capable they are, how smart they are, and yes... how beautiful they are. But over the years and even more pronounced recently with the #metoo and #neveragain movements, there has been a heightened fervor for what feels to many pageant fans and supporters, like a veiled if not deliberate denouncing of beauty in this business or at least an exchange of it for something else.”

“As a gay man who has never objectified a woman, harmed a woman, disrespected nor disregarded a woman, who was raised by a single Mom who was a Sargeant in the Air Force during the Vietnam war. I can comfortably say that my mother always represented to me this perfect blend of grit, determination, inner strength and yes, outer beauty. Absolutely feminine, comfortable in her own skin, classy, elegant, chic and also... tough as nails. But she never apologized for being a beautiful woman. Not at all. And I think many of us in pageantry miss the days where a good ole beauty pageant for the sake of showcasing the pomp, circumstance, glitz, and glamour of beauty for beauty's sake, is something we want back.”

“As a marketing executive and strategist for the better part of two decades of my career, I've often coached my teams; spoken truth to leadership and laid out the simple premise of math and science in Boardrooms about the brand. When you quit delivering the quality, consistency and relevant experience your audience such as customers, stakeholders, partners, expect from you - they will tune you out, and tune into something or someone else who is listening.”

“The mission of Queen Beauty USA is to bring the "beauty" back to pageantry and to unapologetically celebrate that women can be beautiful inside and out, and compete to advance their career goals and aspirations in the modeling, acting and entertainment industries without needing a story, without needing a platform, without needing to defend beauty by convincing the rest of the world how empowered and strong and "more than" just beautiful faces and bodies. We know that. We believe that. And we think it's high time to celebrate beauty again without "qualifying" it in some other way, first."

4. He is bringing the universal pageant back. Queen Beauty USA is about bringing beauty back! In relation to this, we asked Thom of his own definition of beauty, “Facial and physical beauty are clearly elements of our point of view for Queen Beauty USA - after all, these young women are competing in what's been called the "pageant for models", and so they must possess certain attributes that make them competitive in that field. That said, one of the key characteristics of Queen Beauty USA is that inner beauty, "beauty of personality," is actually judged and measured throughout the entire competition.”

“Ours is not a pageant where congeniality is only a "special award" for a non-finalist. Friendliness, kindness, and decorum are judged by the judges' panel from breakfasts with the contestants through rehearsals, through photo and video shoots, through dinners, through casual environments where contestants and judges interact. In our pageant, a girl can't just put her "game face" on for a 5-minute panel interview, or a 90-second stroll across a stage in swimwear or evening gown, or in a 60-second rehearsed onstage answer to a pre-screened and reviewed question. She has to be authentically herself 100% of the time from the moment she steps foot into the pageant, until the moment she leaves it.”

“With Queen Beauty USA, you can't be a "performance" or "stage" queen and not a beautiful person inside as well. You're being watched, observed, judged and critiqued every minute of every day of the time you're participating - not just in a closed interview room or in front of the crowd. If you're not good, kind and #beautifulinsideandout, you won't be a match for us. This is why we love our 2018 Queen Beauty USA Alexia Rae Castillo so much. She is truly one of the most kind-hearted young women we've met in the business. Her own living rule of engagement is... "it's nice to be nice." And she lives it. Alexia embodies what Queen Beauty USA is looking for, from a titleholder. Breathtakingly beautiful on the outside. Unmistakably and unfailingly beautiful on the inside. To us, that's what it's all about.”

5. He empowers women and people around him.  Every one of us has different roles in the society but how we empower each other especially for women who have been fighting for equality for years, gives us a great role to fill in. Thom's definition of women empowerment is, in fact, empowering. He states, “We see empowerment as a celebration of all that makes women remarkable and amazing. A powerful woman is a woman with a clear command of her intellect, her will, her dreams, and aspirations. She celebrates the rise of others even if she isn't rising as she'd hoped. She lives without regrets because she knows who she is, what she is made of, where she's been, and where she's going. And, for us, she is powerful because she is beautiful - inside and out - and she makes no excuses for it and suffers no foolishness from those who would judge her.”

Lastly, we want to know how Thom perceives Queen Beauty USA in the next five years, he enthusiastically answers, “We would like to think that it will propel many modeling, acting and entertainment careers. We hope you'll see future winners of America's Next Top Model; cover models for Sports Illustrated, Vogue, Allure, Elle, Self, and others; beauty campaign models for L'Oreal, CoverGirl, Maybelline, MAC; runway powerhouses on the runways of Fashion Week shows around the world, and possibly even future Victoria's Secret Angels come out of Queen Beauty USA alumni. We hope you'll see future Miss USA, Universe, United States, International and Supranational winners come from us, and vice versa. We see a lot of room for this sorority to grow and to embrace what is unique and special about each 'house' if you will. There is plenty of audience for all of us. Our goal is to deliver pure unfiltered beauty to the audience who wants that from us while we and our titleholders celebrate what others bring to the audiences who rely on them for what they bring to the table.”

Thom’s passion to empower is incredible. Remember, be unapologetically YOU.

You can follow Thom on his personal Facebook or Instagram and at the Official Queen Beauty USA Facebook or Instahandle.

By: Joyce Cortez

PageantLIVE and Ask The Crown Exclusives. PageantLIVE is known for exclusive interviews and we pride to have and maintains on publishing our original contents.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Beauty is Back! A Glimpse of Perfection with Alexia Rae Castillo, Queen Beauty USA 2018

About two weeks ago, Alexia Rae Castillo was announced as Queen Beauty USA 2018 and set to compete in Spain at Queen Beauty Universe this coming November. With this new fabulous role, Alexia described it as an exciting whirlwind experience. Photo shoots after photo shoots and modeling opportunities just present themselves right in. On her part, the most exciting moment was the first glimpse of the crown, "Oh my gosh, it's by far the most beautiful crown I've ever seen! I'm really looking forward to preparing for the international competition in Spain, making appearances, and continuing philanthropic work." 

Yes, she's right. The crown isn't just about being a beauty queen but it also represents the impactful contribution in the society.

Beauty is back!

Alexia Rae Castillo is known for her appearance in numerous music videos and TV shows. You might not know but this beauty has made her feature film debut in the theatrical release of Warner Bros., Entourage, and most recently appeared in Disney's Wrinkle in Time starring Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon.

As we get to know Alexia, we’ve learned how her beauty also reflects from the inside, she is the 5th oldest of 12 children and was born on the coast in Mississippi where pageants are held all of the time and for all ages. She jokes, "Can you imagine being our parents? 12 kids! I don't know how they did it. All I can say is God Bless you, Mom and Dad!" She further recalls, "My very first pageant was when I was 11 days old and out of 12 babies, I won Best Hair and 2nd runner-up." 

Perhaps we can all agree with the old adage that goes "born with glitter," isn't she?

Alexia admits she is not the typical pageant girl. She assertively says, "I honor my pageant sisters and women around the world who have "platforms" - I just have a mantra that I live by that centers around kindness. Anyone who knows me knows that I mean it when I say, "it's nice to be nice." I feel strongly that the world could use a lot more kindness between people, and I do my best to do my part to contribute to that every day and with everyone, I come into contact with."

Aside from pageants and acting, Alexia also loves traveling and exploring new places where she outlines, "I find different cultures very interesting." 

She attracts the spotlight but the way she described her adorable pup was precious when we asked if there's one thing she could live without? She fondly answers, "This is an easy one. I have the cutest, little chihuahua/Shih Tzu/poodle mixed dog named Selena. This little girl is my world and she goes everywhere with me. I named her after the singer Selena Quintanilla. This little pup has such a sweet, loving, fun, and playful personality and just having her around makes me happy."

Defining Beauty and Women Empowerment

Alexia defines beauty and empowerment as graciousness and kindness saying, "I feel like whenever you leave a room of people, if you have the ability to make those people feel good, then that is "beauty." Being kind, respectful, and appreciative of the differences that all people can bring to your life, that's how I define beauty!"

"For me, the empowerment of women comes in so many shapes and forms. The collection of our life experiences, whether similar or entirely different from one another, makes us powerful. The way we care for ourselves - mind, body, spirit, makes us powerful. Our concern and will to lift each other up makes us powerful. You see, I don't think women's empowerment is a hashtag; I think it's a way of living, of being, of moving through life, every day. I feel empowered when I'm in a zone where I'm feeling healthy, happy and loved. I feel empowered when I'm able to embrace all that makes me who I am from how I feel on the inside to how I look on the outside. I feel empowered when I see women embracing all that they are and when they challenge themselves, the status quo and the 'movement of the moment' to retain their individuality and their unique point of view. Being you, all the time, without fail, defines empowerment for me - regardless of gender."

Pageant Advice

"Compete. Take a chance. Don't let anyone or anything discourage you from experiencing any and every part of your journey in this life. It's your life after all. Oh, and two super important things... Be kind. And, BE YOU through the process. There's only one of you, don't waste your time trying to change that to fit a mold."

With all of her success in life and career, we daringly asked if she have one wish or two in 2018, she graciously responded with, "To win Queen Beauty Universe in November and then land a gig in a major modeling campaign with either Guess/Marciano or take a walk with the Angels in the Victoria's Secret fashion show."

Alexia truly characterizes beauty in a beauty. Perfection, indeed.

You can follow Alexia's journey on her personal Instagram account and at the Official Queen Beauty USA  Instahandle and on Facebook.

PageantLIVE and Ask The Crown Exclusives. PageantLIVE is known for exclusive interviews and we pride to have, and maintains on publishing our original contents.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Miss America In Identity Crisis, An Iconic Era Over?

The current Miss America 2018 Cara Mund may be in favor of eliminating the swimsuit and evening gown competition, but not all former Miss Americas are on board with the controversial decision.

In December 2017, thousands of contestants and titleholders rallied together to sign a petition in wake of the Sam Haskell email scandal that ousted him from his leadership position as CEO. Newly elected chairwoman of the Miss America Organization Gretchen Carlson, Miss America 1989, had championed to save the program and beloved pageant on January 1st. On June 5th, Ms Carlson announced Miss America 2.0 on ET.

And then it became a love-hate relationship overnight.

In the blink of an eye, the pageant was completely turned upside down and stripped of its identity and origins as a bathing suit beauty contest with the announcement of the swimsuit and evening gown elimination. Meaning precisely that the Miss America as we all know and love will cease to exist.

Miss America's decision would take away from one of the hallmarks of the iconic pageant with its emphasis on health and fitness. Miss America 2016, Betty Cantrell, who has been working to advocate for healthy lifestyle initiatives and address pertinent issues such as obesity in Georgia post her reign, views the change as a step backwards and that it shames women in celebrating positive body image.  

Accordingly, in an article from NBC News featuring Ms Cantrell, she stated, "Miss America is about having beauty and brains — it's not about being Miss Businesswoman. It's essentially saying that women shouldn't be proud to be in their own skin. We're telling women to cover up. This is setting women back decades." Furthermore, Cantrell says, "I hope they get the reaction they want but I don’t think that this will help with their ratings. I’m concerned about the future of this organization."

Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields echoed a similar sentiment and felt that she was empowered in all areas of the competition, whether it was the swimsuit or evening gown portion. She shared this message on social media, "It’s my hope that Miss America will continue this legacy of strength. I felt empowered when I was wearing my evening gown, when I was in my swimsuit, when I was in my workout clothes, when I was in business attire and even when I was in sweatpants. Ultimately, empowerment is not what we wear, it’s who we are."

In an Orlando Sentinel interview with Erika Dunlap, Miss America 2004, made a bold statement saying "What does a feminist look like? A feminist is someone who, male or female, wants to position women so that they are powerful and that they have choices. And so, I feel like you can be in a swimsuit and a feminist."

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you can do both. Beauty and brains can indeed go hand in hand.

We took a poll on social media to gather some perspectives on this hot-button issue. The answers? A resounding NO!

Not surprisingly, people like tradition and the aesthetic.

Pageant contestants and the public alike are bewildered by the hasty decision to scrap the most iconic part of the competition and what it was founded on, which is bathing suits. The evening gown is also a hallmark of tradition and what the pageant is most known for, that is, showcasing and celebrating beauty and poise.

Many reported on Twitter, as well, that they vow not to watch this year’s upcoming pageant and that seeing swimsuits parade across the stage is one of the many reasons they tune in. Viewers have lamented that they will miss evening gown because it’s what makes Miss America - it is what you think of - in that crowning moment!

Will #byebyebikini start a revolution, or cause a slow demise of the prestigious program?

Will ratings tank from a rash decision? What do you think?

Disclaimer: Quotations and photos are from different resources.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Let's Get To Know Dr. Sonia Sonia, Vying For Mrs. Earth International 2018

Mrs. Earth South Pacific 2018 and Global Elite High Point 2018, Dr. Sonia Sonia from Australia believes in pushing through adversity; not only surviving but thriving. Dr. Sonia, herself, is a survivor of family violence and says she knows what it feels like to carry the tag "victim" on your shoulders. That's why her mission is to empower and influence survivors across the globe to live better lives, to educate themselves, and to be involved in whatever they want to be. She advocates, "I want survivors to be the Kings or Queens of their own lives and future. I believe I was born to make a difference and people around me everywhere I go are helping me to accomplish this."

World Peace is one more thing that Dr. Sonia's wishing for! Not only around the world but at an individual level as well. "There is so much hatred around the globe. I wish we could all live peacefully in this beautiful world, and enjoy the best of both the natural and man-made world," she says when we asked if there's one thing she could wish for in 2018. And added, "At an individual level, to improve quality of life and relationships amongst each other."

Aside from the fact that she is a science genius and a beauty queen, she is also a recreational pilot trainee! Cool, eh!

Here are more scoops about Mrs. Earth South Pacific 2018 and Global Elite High Point 2018

When did you start getting involved in pageants?

November 2017. Mrs. Earth is my second pageant, it was a childhood dream come true. I was so impressed by the commitment to community work by pageant delegates. I believe winning a title is a big responsibility. Do you know any other job around the world where it’s mandatory to do community service as a part of your role? It's not just dolled up and rock up, it's so much deeper than that. It’s about doing your part, big or small, in making our community and world a better place. I believe if we all work together, we can achieve this.

Why did you choose the Mrs. Earth system?

I went to New Zealand last year with my kids and family to see glaciers. I was there nine years ago with friends, and it was so beautiful. I was gobsmacked when I saw that it has receded more than 2km in 9 years. I believe we are borrowing Mother Earth from our kids, we need to take care of it so that we can return it to them as beautiful as we received it. Do not treat it like an inheritance from ancestors and ruin it. Mrs/Ms. Earth is the only pageant in the world that is focused on the environment. It does open your eyes and challenges your thought processes. I have stopped carrying plastic water bottles and supporting and have started promoting a more recyclable and environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

Also, Nicole Smith, the Mrs/Ms. Earth pageant director in Australia is amazing. She literally takes care of me like her family. In pageant world we are all big family - we support, cheer and look after each other. I could not think of a better platform than Mrs. Earth. My five-year-old daughter is so inspired and excited that I am Mrs. Earth South Pacific, and I will look after the ocean and trees and butterflies for her. As a titleholder, if I can inspire little kids to look after the Mother Earth, there is nothing better and bigger than this.

Tell us about your platform or yourself, choose one or both. 

Imagine ever being in a situation where you think the best way to get out is to end your life... Suddenly someone gives you a hand and pulls you out of that situation and shows you how beautiful life is. I have been there, I am grateful for people giving me a hand then. Now I want to be that helping hand. I have been helping domestic and family violence and sexual abuse victims for many years.

This year I have started a not-for-profit organization, ReStored: Be A Helping Hand. The premise of ReStored is dentists along with other professionals across Australia and the globe joining hands to restore survivors' smiles, confidence but above all else, their self-esteem. I am a wife, mother of two beautiful kids, dentist, businesswoman, entrepreneur, public speaker, trainee recreational pilot, Mrs. Earth South Pacific 2018 and Ms. Global Elite High Point Community Queen 2018.

What is your passion or interest outside pageantry?

People. I am passionate about people.

I love meeting them, talking to them, knowing about them, helping them. Dentistry allows me to do all that plus help them feel relaxed and free of pain and embarrassment. Anything I do in my life revolves around this philosophy. I am genuinely interested in people. I live by the quote - "If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life."

How do you define beauty?

I believe beauty is a character. It is a combination of many traits in an individual. Everyone is different and perceives beauty differently. Beauty for me is an advocate of kindness. It’s about being authentic, joyous, humble. It's about inspiring people you come across with. It's a lifelong asset and brightens and enlightens the world forever.

I do firmly believe that I AM BEAUTIFUL!

I always spread this message to everyone I meet - that they are beautiful. Do not get me wrong, outer beauty is impressive as well, however, that fades out soon if you do not have substance.

How do you define women empowerment?

Do you know that this term does not exist in many languages? Empowerment for me is empowering yourself and others to believe in yourself and make a change around you or in your community. To know your worth. It’s about helping each other and lifting each other up. Life’s journey can be boring if you walk alone. Imagine a group or a tribe of women who think alike and have the same goal of making this world a better place for all women to live? Nothing is more empowering than that. There is a saying, "When you empower a woman, you empower a whole generation." I believe this is the fastest way to change the world.

What is something you can’t live without and why?

My kids. It's the unconditional love they have shown me. So in brief: Love. I am a human, a social animal. We all have basic needs of belongingness. On a lighter note, research conducted in the UK recently showed that 50% of women can’t live without brushing their teeth. This makes me feel happy as a dentist and as a woman!

Where can we follow you on social media?

ReStored - Be A Helping Hand

Facebook page: Dr. Sonia Sonia

Personal website: Dr. Sonia 

By: Joyce Cortez

PageantLIVE and Ask The Crown Exclusives. PageantLIVE is known for exclusive interviews and we pride to have and maintains on publishing our original contents.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Five Amazing Things We Love About Miss USA 2018

Miss USA 2018 is NEBRASKA!

Let's imagine for a moment the excitement on location, in her home state and on-stage when Miss Summers heard she is MISS USA!

Sarah Rose Summers is set to compete at Miss Universe in the rumoured host country The Philippines or Macau in November 2018, she was crowned Miss USA on May 21, 2018, in Shreveport-Bossier, Louisiana. 

Here are FIVE amazing things we love about Miss USA 

1. She is charming. Her charming wit and bubbly personality made her stand out! Sarah just magically changed the perspectives in the beauty pageant's on-stage Q&A department. Usually, we see the contestants looking very serious or tensed but with Sarah, she was cheerful, she seems like she was enjoying every second of the Top 3 Q&A and she delivered! 

2. She is the first Miss USA from Nebraska. It's for the books!

3. She loves her body. Her platform "eating disorder" is a serious issue especially with Instagram perfect posts all over the internet. Sarah partners with National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) to bring awareness of this issue; where she acknowledged the severity it causes through personal experiences she witnessed within her inner circle. According to National Institute of Mental Health, eating disorders are actually serious and often fatal illnesses that cause severe disturbances to a person's eating behaviours. Obsessions with food, body weight, and shape may also signal an eating disorder. Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.

4. She graduated Cum Laude and got double degrees. Sarah graduated with Bachelor's Degree in Strategic Communications and Child Development from Texas Christian University, and have recently completed her clinical rotations as a certified child life specialist which she referenced during the Top 5 Q&A round.

5. She gives credits. Sarah is very vocal about her faith and gratefulness to people who helped her grow --- is genuine. Who does that? Well, we all know that humility makes the great becomes greater. 

Hat's off to the newly crowned Miss USA!

By: Joyce Cortez

Disclaimer: Photo credit to MUO official photographer Frank L. Szelwach and Miss USA Facebook photo by Noam Galai.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

TOP 10 Miss USA 2018 Evening Gown Preliminary Competition

Miss USA preliminary competition was held on May 17th at Hirsch Coliseum in Shreveport-Bossier, Louisiana. The final competition will be aired LIVE on FOX on Monday, May 21st at 8 pm ET.

Like we always say here on PageantLIVE, the presentation is the key when it comes to evening gown. Here are our TOP 10 who we thought delivered elegance, gracefulness and, ladies who are ready to represent Miss USA at any given time.

TOP 10 Favorites

1. Miss Oklahoma - Cheyene Darling. Miss Oklahoma is a breath of fresh air whenever she hits the stage. Her fluid flowing, high slit red beaded gown is giving us a hint of mystery and the way she carried herself sealed the deal.

2. Miss Nevada - Carolina Adriana Urrea. Miss Nevada's jeweled, nude underlay gown by Alfredo Barraza with cut-out neckline, vertical lines following her toned statuesque and long sleeves made her look like she is ready to take over the Miss Universe stage.

3. Miss New Jersey - Alexa Noone. Miss New Jersey perfected her overall stage performance wearing a Sherri Hill strapped nude gown with iridescent gold leaf appliqué, paired with Stephanie Somer's diamond-shaped dangle earrings. 

4. Miss California - Kelley Johnson. Miss California is giving us a combination of classic and modern Hollywood glam, which is true to her state! Her Renè Atelier beaded deep V-neck, black lace bodice with a high slit and chic messy bun made her stand out!

5. Miss Texas - Logan Lester. Miss Texas is a shimmering golden goddess! She wore a sheer, body fitting, bustier and unconventional gold gown by New York-based fashion designer Naeem Khan.

6. Miss Mississippi - Laine Alden Mansour. Miss Mississippi's Lainey Berry couture gown looked heavenly. Her golden nude sheer gown with aquamarine beads and attached flowy aquamarine sky bluish hue chiffon reminds us of Elsa and Ariel in one. A fairytale on the Miss USA stage!

7. Miss Georgia - Marianny Egurrola. Miss Georgia is wearing a bohemian-blue-rhapsody inspired gown by Sherri Hill. Her beaded, regal blue, fringe gown with sheer paneling complemented with her natural black hair is a match made for elegance and charismatic persona.

8. Miss Virginia. Ashley Vollrath. Miss Virginia looked stunning! Her classic volumized combed back hair matched with exotic hybrid cheetah inspired, electric pleated gown she designed with Sherri Hill made her look like the Miss USA total package.

9. Miss Tennessee - Alexandra Harper. Miss Tennesse looked ethereal in her Jovani champagne gown with rose gold applique that complements her skin perfectly. Her presence on the stage looked effortless and could easily get the Miss USA crown.

10. Miss Nebraska - Sarah Rose Summers. Miss Nebraska is delivering a glamorous yet girl next door persona. Her classic black gown and bustling train by Sherri Hill, against her blonde hair and flawless skin look exquisite.

Disclaimer: Photos are from Miss Universe Organization and credits to official photographers Patrick Prather and Alex Mertz.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

PageantLIVE Red Carpet Highlight: Ardelle Dickerson, Miss Teen DC United States 2018

Ardelle Dickerson, Miss Teen District of Columbia United States 2018

Claim to Fame:

I inherited my late grandmother’s name that just so happened to be the same as a cosmetic company. So, whenever I introduce myself to people (girls specifically), they always respond: “Oh Ardell(e)! Like the eyelashes?!” 

Fun Fact About You:

I work as a secret shopper at an amusement park. I get paid to ride roller coasters all day. 

If you have one wish to be granted in 2018, what is it and why?

I would wish for 1,000 more wishes! If that’s not an option, my one wish would be to receive acceptance letters from all of the universities I applied to. 

Tell us about your platform or yourself, choose one or both.

Falling into the stigma as an African American battling mental adversities, I felt conflicted to open up about my severe depression and anxiety. I want to ensure that minorities in my state understand the importance of being self-aware regarding their mental health. 

Working as a Suicide Hotline Responder, I console many adolescents who are LGBTQ+, low-income and are Hispanic or black. From my experience, teens in this demographic deal with so much social backlash. It’s imperative that they know the available resources in order to prevent the prolonging of an invisible illness. 

As Miss Teen DC United States, it’s my obligation to provide support because of representation matters.

What is your passion or interest outside pageantry?

I love filming makeup tutorials! I’m high school, I dealt with cystic acne and covering my blemishes was an everyday thing. A once problematic routine turned into an artistic passion of mine. I even spent my summers working at Sephora showing girls proper skincare and how to feel beautiful even with hectic pimples.

Where can we follow you on social media?

Instagrams: @Ardelledickerson & @MissTeenDCUS

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