Miss Omega participants practice for the crown

Ra’jene Garrett, left, a sophomore elementary education major from Madisonville, and Domonique White, right, a junior family studies major from Lexington, practice a dance to Missy Elliot’s “Lose Control” during the Omega Chi practice at the Downing Student Union at the WKU campus in Bowling Green, Ky., on March 20, 2016. Emily Kask/HERALD

Ambriehl Crutchfield


If you’re looking for the key to success, look no further because for the participants of the Miss Omega Pageant, it’s confidence.

This spring the Gamma Theta chapter of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity is hosting its 12th annual Miss Omega Pageant. The pageant was created at WKU in 2007 to embrace, uplift and give confidence to full-figured women.

Chapter president and pageant dad Kurron Carmichael, Louisville senior, said the pageant is all about giving plus-size women a face on WKU’s campus as well as confidence.

“We want to build them up to feel like they can do anything they put their mind to,” Carmichael said.

Past and current Miss Omega participants work together to show that their true beauty comes from within. For the 2015 Miss Omega winner Ayana Taylor, Hopkinsville sophomore, winning was the only thing she had in mind when participating in the pageant.

“By me not expecting to get anything, I was determined to win. I’m going to come in here and kill it every day,” Taylor said.

Taylor said she was determined not only to win the title but also the cash prize that came with the crown. She said she believes that when you tell someone money is involved, the person will naturally work harder towards a goal.

Taylor said she recalled working with pageant aunties outside practice to get one-on-one help to better herself in any way possible. Pageant aunties are former contestants who have been in the pageant and work to assist current participants as needed. Though Taylor entered the contest with ambition to win, she said she left with something priceless: nine pageant sisters.

We want to build them up to feel like they can do anything they put their mind to.

Taylor’s role this year in Miss Omega is pageant mom. As pageant mom, her job is to create a theme, help contestants with their outfits and assist with performances for each scene. The position extends to helping participants with their homework and giving advice. Taylor recalled that during last year’s show, she focused strictly on how her performance would impact attendees.

“Some of the contestants for next year might be here, so indeed … show them what to do and what it looks like,” she said.

Since the current Miss Omega Pageant is less than three weeks away, Carmichael reflected on how the show affects contestants as well as himself.

“My favorite part is watching the girls grow throughout the pageant. We are four weeks in right now, and on day one, we had girls that did not want to talk in front of people. Now they are in here flourishing and confident,” Carmichael said.

This flourishing, Carmichael said, comes from people encouraging the women to do what, previously, they had been told was impossible or prohibited because of their physical features. Carmichael said he also gains confidence in himself by telling others there is no limit.

Current Miss Omega candidate RaJene Garrett, Madisonville sophomore, said she was encouraged to participate after hearing that the pageant provided an opportunity to make new friends and become more comfortable with oneself.

“I know people think you should be down each other’s throat. We are totally different people, but at the same time we are all the same, trying to step out of our comfort zones,” Garrett said. “We are pageant sisters, so we should be there for each other. If someone needs help or needs to talk, we are all there for each other.”

The Miss Omega Pageant is April 14 in Downing Student Union and begins at 7 p.m.