I was excited to meet contestants from the Miss Earth International Pageant. What did I know about pageants? Misconceptions, mainly. I had visions of “Miss Congeniality” in my head and had met a few Miss Californias and County Fair Queens in the past, but I had never really had a chance to speak to them.
So, my friend Amanda Sowards from World Mission International in Nicaragua was bringing the pageant contestants to Gran Pacifica Resort for a fun day. She currently represents Miss Earth Americas and is a Mission Director at World Mission Outreach.
All in all, we had a blast from the moment they arrived until their trip to the airport that would take them far away from Nicaragua. They had been here for a week, working with World Mission Outreach, a charitable organization that supports a large school in Los Cedros, nearby. They had worked with the kids by planting seeds, gardening, teaching, and putting on their own pageant. They also worked on the feeding programs that the organization supports.
When asked what they liked about Nicaragua the most, Tracy Hirsch replied that getting to know the child that the group had chosen to sponsor in school was the best. She is going to do some fundraising on her own to support this endeavor. She was also impressed with how welcoming the Nicaraguan people were.
I asked about how they are greeted in their public roles, and they said there are many misconceptions about pageants. The women said that there is a lot of pressure to not embarrass your home state or country, and you have many responsibilities that include being organized, well-spoken, and willing to adapt. When I spoke to Corrin Stellakis, the current Miss Earth United States, she said she loved the children of Nicaragua the best, because they have a genuine love and appreciation for life. In the United States, people take things for granted. She loved the hugs and said people in the States are much more standoffish.
Laura Clark, National Director of Miss Earth, USA, wants to continue to draw positive attention to the pageant industry, and she stated that the whole group really wants to come back. They are interested in turtle conservation efforts at Gran Pacifica. The pageant was named “Best Pageant of the Year” by Art and Beauty Magazine, dedicated to pageant fans worldwide. Miss Earth is also ranked in the top 3 of international pageants and top 10 in the United States. The women are scored on a variety of categories: interview, public speaking, personality, video, swimsuit, and goals. To learn more about Miss Earth, go to: http://www.missearthunitedstates.com/
To learn more about World Mission Outreach, go to: www.wmoc.org
The group members were: Amanda Sowards (Miss Earth Americas), Corrin Stellakis (Miss Earth United States), Kristin Cuchi (Elite Miss Earth United States), Ariel Sorensen (Contestant Coordinator), Amanda Freas (Miss Earth Massachusetts), Tracey Hirsch (Elite Miss Earth Maryland), Melissa Ayala (Elite Miss Earth Pennsylvania), Jade Richardson (Miss Earth Mississippi), Sarah Howard (Elite Miss Earth Ohio), and Laura Clark (Director of the Miss Earth United States Pageant).