A fresh idea in Charlotte aims to shine a spotlight on the natural beauty of young ladies during the Miss All Natural Pageant. The program organizers want to shift the focus from exterior good looks to stronger interpersonal development.
That’s reflected in the pageant’s motto: “Building our community, one girl at a time.”
The event will showcase seven young ladies who were selected to be a part of a special 12-week program designed to transform their focus from external beauty to internal magnificence.
“The goal is to let these ladies know that they don’t need anything extra to be and feel beautiful,” Vernisha Crawford, the pageant’s founder, said.
“All-natural” is defined by the absence of makeup, hair weaves, extensions, artificial nails, eyelash extensions, body shapers and cosmetic surgery.
Through weekly workshops each contestant develops leadership, business professionalism, finance, marketing, and fundraising skills.
“Self-identity and confidence is important because you can learn about yourself and the positives and negatives of a situation that you may be in,” said Serenity Lockhart, a West Mecklenburg High School student and one of the program participants.
“The workshops have helped improve my experience as a young lady and being around others,” Lockhart said. ”You get to embrace your natural beauty and you can be yourself.”
The final stage of the program ends with the pageant in which contestants will compete in several categories including platform speech, talent, formal wear and on-stage questions.
Mya Galloway, a participant and Butler High School student, said she is using the program to invest in herself.
“It has helped me come out more, open up and be more helpful with others,” she said.
A common element of self-dignity and positivity of the ladies natural beauty is a core principal of the program. “We want to teach the beautiful women how to love themselves the way they are and that’s the mission,” Crawford said.
“I feel good. It’s just being me, so it comes naturally,” Lockhart said.
The pageant winner will receive a $2,500 scholarship toward her continued education after graduating high school.
The Miss All Natural Pageant will be held, Sunday, Sept. 10 at 6:30pm at UNC Charlotte.
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