Miss Omega highlights full figured women at annual pageant

Passci, N.J., frehsman Najaiah Sherain (center) dances in the opening sketch of the Miss Omega Pagent at Downing Student Union Friday night. (Ian Maule/HERALD)

Quiche Matchen

ants that highlight different shapes and sizes with regard to beauty, but one pageant is changing that.

Omega Psi Phi fraternity hosted the Miss Omega pageant, which is geared toward plus-sized women to show off their beauty. 

The pageant was held at Downing Student Union. Doors opened at 5:30 p.m., and the pageant started at 7 p.m. Seats started to fill instantly with friends, family and loved ones supporting the 10 glamorous contestants who have been practicing for the pageant for more than two months. 

In a show of solidarity, past and present contestants paid homage to former participant Cheryl Williamson, who died two years ago, by wearing shirts with “hope” on them.

Louisville senior and 2011 Miss Omega Paige Freeman said Williamson was her pageant sister, and she said “have hope” means going against the odds and doing what others say you can’t do.

“Confidence is key, and having hope is essential to surviving and persevering through difficult

WKU graduate Terrance Williams was Williamson’s best friend and said “have hope” means it’s not about where you come from, but where you’re going.

 “[It’s] striving to do better and, in doing so, having hope,” Williams said.

Nashville junior Briana Webb said she was going to be a contestant last year, but she had to quit because of work.

She said it’s a tradition to go to all the pageants once you’ve been in it. Although Webb didn’t know the contestants personally, she’s still excited “because this is the best pageant of the year,” she said.  “It’s important because on campus, full-figured girls aren’t recognized,” she said. “This is the time of the year they recognize all full-figured girls on campus.”

Webb said that working with the Omegas and practicing for the lingerie scene will help contestants break out of their shells. 

 “Society says if you’re a certain size you can’t fit in, but they make you fit in,” Webb said. 

Out of all five scenes — business, club, talent, lingerie and formal — the most important one is the lingerie scene, host Montez Phillips said. 

 “The lingerie scene is not about the clothes contestants have on, but the confidence they have inside,” Phillips said. 

2013 Miss Omega and this year’s coordinator, Toyonna Sweatt, took her last walk as Miss Omega.

Sweatt’s cousin, Bowling Green junior Meca Clark, said she was so excited seeing her cousin last year that she had to come this year, too. 

“[They’re] wonderful ladies, and they’re beautiful,” she said. “I love their strong confidence.”

Clark said she was excited to see that the girls did different talents. She said the Hip-Hop dance and monologues were new to her, but she loved them.

 “Every girl came out and showed their own personality,” she said. “They might do the same thing, but each one was different in their own special way.”

Clark said she enjoyed the pageant and can’t wait for next year. 

The winner of Miss Omega was Patterson, N.J., freshman Najaiah Shearin, also known as ‘Jersey from New Jersey’ during the pageant. 

She won a book scholarship and will coordinate next year’s pageant.

Shearin said she didn’t think she was going to win.

“[The pageant] had its ups and downs, but it was all worth it,” she said.

Shearin said she’s definitely grown as a person after the pageant. 

 “As a larger female, I can be beautiful,” she said. “My advice to future contestants is that no matter what, be yourself — that’s what gets you where you need to be.”