Beauty pageant comes to the North Shore

Have pageants lost their place in current culture?

The pageant will be held in Northbrook this weekend |         IL Intl Pageants

The pageant will be held in Northbrook this weekend | IL Intl Pageants

The pageant will be held in Northbrook this weekend | IL Intl Pageants

Jasmine Gonzalez

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Illinois International Pageants announced on Sep. 5 that it would be holding a new pageant from Nov. 10-12 at the Renaissance Chicago North Shore in Northbrook for the girls and women of the North Shore.

Registration for the upcoming event is now closed, but New Trier students as well as those from surrounding schools in the area were offered a 50% discount off of their entry fee if they had registered before Aug. 1. Registration for next year’s event will open Dec. 10.

“The [pageant] is dedicated to making the world a better place through sisterhood, scholarship and community involvement with local, national, and international charitable organizations,” according to their website.

This is the first time the pageant is being held in the northern suburbs.

“I have been doing business in the northern suburbs of Chicago for 10 years now. I have never found a more amazing area filled with companies and individuals focused on making the world around us better,” explained Executive Director and former Mrs. Illinois International 2014, Randi Mox, on her decision to use this location.

This year, Mox is the head of a new leadership team that includes Jessica Carlevato, who held the title of Miss Illinois International in 2014, and Constantine James, a celebrity hair and makeup artist and image consultant, as Assistant Directors. A pageant coach, various former titleholders, and volunteers are also on the new leadership team.

The organizers of the event have also introduced a new Miss Pre-teen division for contestants ages 10-12. The remaining divisions are as follows: the Miss Teen division for contestants ages 13-18, the Miss division for contestants ages 19-30, and the Mrs. division for contestants ages 21-56 who have been married for at least 6 months.

Areas of competition include interview, fun fashion wear, fitness wear, and evening gown. Each area carries a different weight depending on the division.
The pageant mainly advertises the opportunity to win scholarships in order to attract students. Winners also receive packages that include a variety of prizes and opportunities for community service.

“By competing in the system you obtain life skills, additions to college applications, scholarships, prize packages, and opportunities to serve the nonprofit communities and the causes you have a passion for. Our winners also have the opportunity to model all over Chicago and be featured at large scale events, on TV, and in photo shoots,” said Mox.

Bridal Elegance, which, according to the Chicago Tribune, is “the largest name in Illinois for evening wear and pageant apparel,” will be the official National Stage Wardrobe sponsor for all divisions except the Miss Pre-Teen division.

Organizers will be holding a trunk show to provide more information on the event on Sunday, Sep. 10.

In addition to Bridal Elegance and a number of other sponsors, the pageant will be partnering with the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign to bring awareness to heart disease, which is the number one killer of American women, according to their website.

“The North Shore has embraced Illinois International Pageants with open arms and willing sponsorships and support. I know I made the right choice and [the pageant] has found its new home,” said Mox.

Although the event advertises the empowerment of women, there are mixed feelings among students regarding how effective that may be.

“I believe that beauty pageants are a waste of time and resources and perpetuate the social expectations of gender and beauty,” said senior Kimberly Tan.

The chance to win scholarships is often appreciated by students thinking about college. However, many students are unimpressed with the idea that you have to be “beautiful” to have these opportunities.

“I don’t think people should be rewarded for being beautiful,” added senior Eliot Smith.

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