By Erin Beck
The Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center is hosting a pageant meant to help girls and women with disabilities build confidence.
The West Virginia Miss Amazing Pageant will be held at 4 p.m. at the venue, located at 444 W. Pike St. in downtown Clarksburg, on Saturday, Oct. 29.
The West Virginia Miss Amazing Pageant encourages participants to challenge themselves and take pride in themselves, according to organizers, while the pageant also increases the visibility of girls and women with disabilities and fosters community.
Organizers said because of myths about their capabilities, girls with disabilities are often held back from taking risks that could enrich their personal development and deprived of many opportunities to make friends. As a result, they may experience low self-esteem.
“Miss Amazing provides opportunities for girls and women with disabilities to consider their goals, step outside of their comfort zones, and build networks of support and potentially lifelong friendships,” said Ian McAra, the Robinson Grand’s managing director.
The pageant is free to participants and open to girls and women ages 5 and up with a disability who reside in West Virginia. Every participant receives a crown, trophy, t-shirt, and a crowning moment on stage.
Jason A Young, Robinson Grand program director, said that the Robinson Grand is 100% ADA accessible with ramps, handrails, elevators, braille signage, and large adult dressing rooms.
Lacey Rae, West Virginia Miss Amazing state director, also said that she would look into providing a sign language interpreter if needed.
“Participants are of course welcome/able to use their assistive communication devices throughout the day,” she added.
Rae said one participant in each age division, for girls 10 and up, will be chosen as the “queen” and will represent West Virginia for the next year in her community and at the national summit in St. Louis, Missouri next summer from Aug. 4-6.
Travel costs are paid by the families, but they may fundraise to cover these costs, she said, and they may also opt out of attending the national summit.
Ages 5-9 do not advance to the national summit at this time, she said. They only participate at the one-day state event and are crowned “Rising Stars.”
“Participants are never evaluated on their appearance,” Rae said.” The focus is on building self-advocacy skills, confidence, and a network of support for these ladies and their families. It is a very fun and supportive environment. Each participant is paired with a ‘buddy’ for the day which are volunteers that help and support the ladies as needed throughout the day. They accompany them into their interviews and on stage to support them.”
Tickets for the 2022 West Virginia Miss Amazing Pageant are $10. All tickets can be purchased online at tickets.therobinsongrand.com or by calling the Robinson Grand ticketing center at 855-773-6283.
Learn more at missamazing.org.