The Mississippi Delta Darling Kick-Off Pageant will be March 1 at Delta State University in James Ewing Hall’s Jacob Conference Center.
"It is a natural beauty only pageant for all ages, including boys. Contestants will compete in Sunday attire or a simple pageant dress and are encouraged to let their inner, and outer, beauty shine," said owner Brittany Cheek.
Cheek's 21-month-old daughter Gabrielle Suzette Cheek competes in pageants and she says that is how she became involved in the pageant world.
"I first became involved in the pageant world when I learned my daughter had a love for making people smile. Her personality was just too big to keep behind closed doors, so we entered her in her first beauty pageant, where she placed Grand Supreme. At that point, we knew we were on to something!
"As I began looking for local pageants, I noticed there were little to none. At that point, my husband, Corey, and I started planning the opening of our new business, Mississippi Delta Darling Pageantry," said Cheek.
Cheek said so far her daughter hasn't competed in any glitz pageants, which sometimes involve makeup and hair extensions.
"Thus far, we have only entered her in natural beauty pageants, as well as those that have both a beauty and outfit of choice division. We have been looking into some of the low to semi-glitz pageants as well, but she had not participated in these as of yet … maybe in the future," said Cheek.
So far the response to the pageant has been positive and Cheek is incredibly excited.
"(The response has been) overwhelmingly positive! We were actually surprised at all the interest once I posted the official date of the pageant — I can barely keep up with everyone’s inquiries — all positive — and for that I am abundantly thankful," she said.
Cheek explained Mississippi Delta Darling has one form for the contestant/their responsible party to fill out.
The form lists all the information to be read on stage for the contestant’s beauty walk, as well as encompasses a few clauses that must be signed in order to enter the pageant.
Once a contestant’s entry fee is paid, that contestant's spot is held.
For the kick-off pageant, the entry fee is $35, which covers entry for all supreme titles as well as side awards.
Cheek said there are also other categories, "I do offer optional categories such as Overall Fashion, Overall Beauty, and Overall Photogenic. For this pageant, it is $10 for each optional category. Optional categories are just that … optional!"
Cheek says that all contestants are winners and every contestant will receive a tiara or trophy.
"Mississippi Delta Darling Pageantry believes every contestant is beautiful and a winner, for this reason, all contestants that do not place for a higher title will receive a tiara, or, for boys, a trophy or medal.
"The main titles awarded at the pageant are one Ultimate Grand Supreme, three Grand Supremes, a Queen in each age group, a Princess in each age group and a King for the boys division.
"These titles receive a crown and sash. The future princesses receive a tiara and King’s Court receives a trophy or medal. Side awards include, but are not limited to, prettiest hair, prettiest eyes, best personality, prettiest dress, etc.
"These side award winners will receive a sash. Only contestants entered in the optional categories are eligible for the optional category titles – these contestants will receive anything from a crown to a trophy to a custom sash," she explained.
With many across the country experiencing hard times financially, Cheek said pageants are something a person on a budget can definitely afford.
"Mississippi Delta Darling Pageantry wants to bring pageantry to everyone. We strive to keep our entry fees low and ensure that no contestant leaves empty handed. Natural pageants are very affordable; one of the reasons Mississippi Delta Darling Pageantry is kicking-off with a natural pageant!
"Most natural pageant attire is 'off the rack' and does not require custom making… in fact, many contestants may already have a Sunday dress or Sunday attire in their closet that they can wear in the pageant," she said.
Cheek also said this pageant can bring a lot to the Delta and teach the contestant important lessons.
"Pageantry does so many things for contestants. It teaches one how to carry themselves in public, it belittles stage fright, teaches self-confidence, is a great activity for parent and child bonding, promotes healthy competition, and is a wonderful extra-curricular activity to have listed on college applications as well as resumes. I urge everyone who as a touch of interest in pageantry to give this pageant a try — you will not be disappointed with Mississippi Delta Darling Pageantry," she said.
For more information on the pageant and how to enter email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.facebook.com/msdeltadarlingpageantry