Miss Omega Pageant focuses on a different body type

(L to R) Bowling Green Ky. contestant Antwanica Duncan, Mundfordville, Ky. contestant Shantera Rice, Louisville, Ky. contestant Adria Joseph, and Nashville Tenn. contestant Casandra Groves strike poses at the end of their opening routine at the Miss Omega pageants last Friday.

Jacob Parker

The Miss Omega Pageant, tailor-made for women sizes fourteen and up, welcomed more than 200 people into the Downing University Center Auditorium Friday night.

Louisville junior Denise Smith said this pageant, hosted by the Omega Psi Phi fraternity for the seventh year in a row, is special because it allows women of different body types to participate and feel comfortable.

“Every other pageant on campus is structured around smaller women, and it’s the same thing over and over,” she said.

Smith said that the ladies participating in the pageant are an inspiration.

“I have a lot of respect for these ladies, it takes a lot to get out there on that stage,” she said.

During the competition, the women wore four different outfits: business attire, club clothes, formal clothing and lingerie, in addition to participating in a talent portion and question and answer session.

Louisville senior Lydia Frempong, who coordinated the pageant, said the lingerie performance is for the women to exhibit confidence.

“It says, ‘I can be sexy while being plus-sized,’ showing confidence and individuality,” she said.

Frempong said the pageant was a great way for the women to come together.

“It’s a way to build not only teamwork, but self-esteem and friendships,” she said.

But the pageant differed this year in order to pay homage to Cheryl Williamson, a pageant participant who died last fall.

“We changed the intro this year to honor Cheryl, and we also changed the perseverance award to the Have Hope award in tribute,” Frempong said.

The biggest challenge, Frempong said, was convincing the women to persevere, but that the end was result was impressive.

“As the pageant coordinator, it was really difficult to get eight out of 10 girls that had never done a pageant before to do it, and for them to turn it on like that on the day of–I was proud,” she said.

Frempong said she’s also proud of the women overcoming their obstacles.

“I’m just really proud, seeing some of the girls go from not having the confidence to do it to being able to do it,” she said.

The contestants were judged based on clothes, confidence, overall look and crowd response.

The winner, Contestant No. 10, Bowling Green sophomore Toyonna Sweatt, said it was unreal when she was announced the winner.

“When they said, ‘Contestant No. 10,’ I almost forgot it was my number,” she said.

Sweatt said she hoped the event would help show people that they are beautiful in their own skin.

“Personality comes first, it’s not all about what shape you are or what you look like,” she said. “God made us all in different ways.”