Beauty Beyond Barbie

The Barbie Doll has been a basic toy for most little girls. And what little girl doesn’t want to be beautiful. She may even imagine becoming the next Miss America.

The value of beauty and beauty pageants are part of cultures throughout the world. But there is change in the air. The blonde, blue-eyed Barbie Doll and the Miss America contestant have expanded to show more human diversity. That human diversity has come to Tennessee?with the influx of people from many cultures, the Latin population in Tennessee is now offering its own beauty pageant, The Miss TN Latina and Miss Teen TN Latina. This year will be the second year for this beauty pageant.

Marjorie Weller is the director of this Latin beauty pageant. She feels the pageant gives an opportunity for young Latin women to represent their communities by promoting good self-esteem, a positive way to develop a healthy self-image. Marjorie is looking for young women who will be positive role models for the Latin Community.

She hopes that these young women will use their physical beauty to help others. Community service is an important component of this beauty pageant. The winners will go on to compete for the national title of Miss America Latina and Miss Teen America Latina.

Last year’s Miss TN Latina is Janet Abeja from Lavergne. Janet is 20 years old and is employed at Hamilton Ryker in Lavergne. The current Miss Teen TN Latina is Daniela Quintero. She is 17 years old, from Franklin and will be a freshman at UT Chattanooga. Both women volunteer for several community projects.

This year the contestants are from Cookeville, Gallatin, Franklin, Spring Hill. Nashville and Lavergne. Their Latin heritage come from Mexico, Columbia, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Chile, Panama and Nicaragua.

The contestants are judged on personal introduction, evening gown, and fashion wear. The swimsuit competition is only for the Miss TN Latina.

Prizes for the winners include: all expenses paid to participate in the April 2008 National Convention, a crown, a professional photo shoot with Shannon Fontaine of Nashville, a workshop with a professional pageant consultant, beauty and personal care products from Arbonne International and $2,500 in prizes from various local sponsors.

Two community projects are planned this year. The contestants are collecting personal care and beauty products for Latin women who have been physically abused. These products will be donated to the Nashville YWCA. The other project is a fund raiser held at the Ibiza Latin Club in Nashville at 9 p.m. Aug. 2. The pageant contestants will be presented at this event. All monies collected will be donated to The March of Dimes.

There is debate over the value of beauty pageants. Some say beauty pageants demean women. After all there are no “handsome pageants” for men. But perhaps an emerging culture in a community needs to be recognized. A beauty pageant can be a positive avenue to introduce a new culture and also a great form of entertainment and fun.

This year’s winners will be crowned Saturday, Aug. 11, from 6 – 10 p.m. at MTSU’s Tucker Theater. For more information, contact Marjorie Weller at (615) 506-1279.

Daisy Villa teaches yoga at State Farm Insurance and Genesis Healing Center and will start yoga classes in August at The Fit Club in Shelbyville.

The contestants in the Miss TN Latina pageant must be:

? Young women of Latin or Iberian origin

? Single, never married, never given birth and not currently a parent

? 18 – 27 years old for Miss TN Latina

? 14 – 17 years old for Miss Teen TN Latina

? Born a female

? A resident of Tennessee for a minimum of six months

? A legal resident of the United States

? Involved in community service

? Attractive in appearance with a good personality and reputation


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