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Apr 12, 2007

Pageant organisers call for contestants

Story PictureHigh on the list of Belizean pastimes is participation in beauty pageants, second perhaps only to walking in a parade. And while most pageants focus on external appearances, our next story is about an event that promotes inner beauty and community service.

Kendra Griffith, Reporting
It’s been a staple on the Belizean scene for fourteen years … and next month, the Ms Y pageant will take centre stage once again.

Birdy Francis, Pageant Trainer
“The pageant is in three weeks. The pageant is May fifth and as you know that’s our largest fundraiser for the year. We need the money badly, so we have to have the pageant.”

But to have the pageant, organizers need contestants … and according to Pageant Trainer Birdy Francis, they are four seenagers short of their line-up.

Birdy Francis
“We had four contestants and two of them had to go to the States for various reasons. So we only have two right now and we haven’t started rehearsals yet. And also, there is a group in New York who wants to do a Ms Y international next year. So we are looking for the matriarchs of Belize, the ladies that are assertive, the mothers of our country, the ladies that can be role models and examples for our young people. We need at least four people, because we’d like to have six.”

Kendra Griffith
“But preparations are nonetheless proceeding?”

Birdy Francis
“Yes, we are preparing because we are going to have the pageant no matter what. We figure that we are going to get those contestants by hook or crook. If we got to drag them off the street and train them we’ll do that. But I am saying this is an opportunity that we are presenting to the community to please, communities can send somebody. We especially would like to have from the Hispanic community, Indian community. Every year we get Garifunas, Creoles, once in a while we get Hispanics, but we would like all the ethnic groups to participate.”

The criteria for signing up are simple: participants must be sixty years and older and willing to help the Y.W.C.A.

Birdy Francis
“This pageant is not a pageant where we are saying that you have to be pretty or it’s anything about bodies because you won’t have to wear a swimsuit or anything like that. We don’t expect our grandmothers to do that. We expect them to just be role models for our youth, they are going to be doing a talent, they are going to do an opening production that I’m going to teach them, it’s a nostalgic one that they are going to be happy with and then of course they are going to do the Pretty Woman walk.”

“And I am going to train them, you don’t have to have any talent. There’s a talent portion, but if you don’t have a talent I’ll find you a talent, so we are just looking for people who are willing to help.”

According to Francis, this time around changes to the event should make the show even better, for both the contestants and the audience.

Birdy Francis
“We are going to make the pageant not long and drawn out this year. They’ll only do two curtsies, so they are not going to be walking around stage for ever and ever and ever. I mean, I think the pageant should be exciting and we have a little twist this year, it’s nostalgic and I think everybody will enjoy it as they normally do.”

To sign up for Ms. Y pageant, call 203-4971 or visit the Y.W.C.A.’s office on St. Thomas Street. Kendra Griffith reporting for News Five.

Proceeds from the Ms. Y pageant assists the Y.W.C.A.’s community service programmes.

Their pageant isn’t as popular as Miss Y but tonight organizers of the Big and Beautiful pageant are also calling for interested women to sign up. According to Marina Welcome, last year six women vied for the title and this time around she’s hoping for an even bigger showing.

Marina Welcome, Pageant Organiser
“All you have to do is be big and beautiful and very active, that’s all. And this year I am trying to give cash prizes along with some gifts, so they don’t have to be scared to come and sign up to be a contestant. I want to have a little earlier this year because I am planning to have two carnival bands this year. I am having a junior band and a senior band and the funds that we make from the pageant will be going into the costumes.”

Kendra Griffith
“If someone is interested in signing up, what do they need to do?”

Marina Welcome
“All they need to do is call me at 610-1554, come and full out a form, bring three pictures along with them and they’ll be hooked up.”

Welcome says as soon as she’s got her quota of contestants she’ll announce the date and venue for the event. Once again, the number to sign up is 610-1554.

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