Positive Pageantry: How ‘Positive’ is it Really?
Positive Pageantry released the finalists in its inaugural award programs, Top 12 Most Inspiring Teen, Top 12 Most Inspiring Mrs., Top 12 Most Inspiring Miss, Top 12 Most Inspiring Preteen, Top 12 Most Inspiring Princess, and Most Impactful Personal Platform, a few days ago. Positive Pageantry is the brainchild of Jackie Watson, the founder, owner, and president of the USA National Miss Scholarship Organization. The Positive Pageantry website states,
“the initiative is led and managed by the USA National Miss Scholarship Organization LLC, but it is for ALL pageant systems, contestants…Scholarship winners are selected by an advisory board.”
Yet we found that these awards heavily favor USA National Miss Pageant System and its titleholders.
Top 12 Inspiring Teen
The Top 12 Inspiring Teen finalists includes three current USA National Miss Titleholders, USA National Teen, Julianna Corsi, USA National Jr. Teen; Naia Torres; and USA National Miss New England Teen, Lillie Mahan. While these young, talented teens are very deserving, they represent twenty-five percent of the finalists, while the other pageant systems each only represent 8.33 percent. The over representation of USA National Teen titleholders gives the USA National Miss Pageant system a clear advantage over the other pageant systems with a queen in the race.
The over representation of USA National Teen titleholders gives the USA National Miss Pageant system a clear advantage over the other pageant systems with a queen in the race.
Top 12 Most Inspiring Preteen
Finalists in the Top 12 Most Inspiring Preteen category have just a .6 chance of winning while a UNM Title holder has .33 chance of winning. In other words, there are four UNM titleholder finalists, Allie Ingram, USA National Preteen, Georgina Paez, UNM Role Model Preteen; Emily Bourdon, UNM Maryland Preteen, and Zymiria Powell, UNM Alabama Preteen. This makes it more likely that a USA National Miss title holder will be chosen over a non-USA National Miss title holder.
Top 12 Most Inspiring Miss
A Top 12 Most Inspiring Miss USA National Miss titleholder has an equally greater chance of winning as much as one does in the Top 12 Most Inspiring Preteen category. There are are four out of twelve spots occupied by a USA National Miss Pageant System as opposed to one for other pageant systems. They are Michaela Abelgas, USA National Miss; Olivia Miller, UNM Miss Ohio; Abigail Davis, UNM Miss Buckeye State; and, Kaitlyn Kennedy, UNM Miss Manhattan.
Top 12 Most Inspiring Princess
Pageant systems that have a queen in the Top 12 Most Inspiring Princess category don’t fare any better, unfortunately. USA National Miss has four titleholders in the running: Tessa Marino, USA National Princess; Mila Lucas, UNM Northeast Jr. Princess; Emory Cooler, USA National Jr. Princess; and, Bianca Villalobos, UNM California Princess.
Most Impactful Personal Platform
In the Most Impactful Personal Platform category, it’s more of the same, the category is stacked with USA National Miss titleholders. For every two finalists, there is a UNM titleholder:
Sarah Pennington, USA Ambassador, “Mental Health Awareness”
Lynette Arce-Garcia, UNM Florida Princess, “Fight Against Bullying”
Anna Banks, UNM Alabama Jr. Teen, “Think Before You Speak”
Victoria Etheridge, UNM South Carolina, “Vic’s Vision”
USA National Miss & UNM
It is important to note that the designations USA National Miss and UNM refer to the USA National Miss Pageant System. In the announcements, they use UNM and USA National Miss interchangeably which confuses the reader especially those not thoroughly familiar with the system. Ultimately, it may lead one to believe that UNM and USA National Miss are referring to two separate pageant systems when, in fact, they are the same.
The Board & Selection Process
The Positive Pageantry’s website lists Kayla Watson, as board chairwoman and Teresa Scanlan, Miss America 2011 as a featured advisory board member. Kayla Watson is also listed on the USA National Miss website as Vice President of Creative Development & Producer. It is not fully clear how the finalists were selected and by whom. Finally, when we checked Positive Pageantry’s website, we found no official rules, terms and conditions, or rules and regulations that would govern the contest or the selection process. Is it anything goes?
The Category with the Best Chance of Winning
It is clear that USA National Miss title holders have a great advantage and by contrast, there are no USA National Miss titleholders among the Top 12 Most Inspiring Mrs. and it can be surmised that this is due in part to the USA National Miss not having a Mrs. division. Those that enter and become a finalist in the Top 12 Most Inspiring Mrs. have the best chance of winning overall because there is not a single USA National Miss title holder in the running and the odds are not overwhelmingly stacked against other pageant systems.
On average, a USA titleholder has a one in three chance of winning while while a non-USA National Miss titleholder only has a one in twelve chance of winning by the odds.
All of the finalists are lovely young ladies and Mrs. and are deserving of accolades and we are not pointing out the favor shown to USA National Miss titleholders to diminish their hardwork.
One wonders if the Positive Pageantry Awards and the idea itself is just a vehicle to promote the USA National Miss Pageant System and positive pageantry not so much. We will have to wait until the winners are announced on November 17th to see how this all plays out.
Admittedly, it is shrewd, sly and slightly genius but is it ethical and truly positive? Should USA National Miss title holders be limited? Should Watson solicit an entirely unbiased award selection committee and recluse her and her employees from the selection process? Should USA National Miss title holders be barred from participation to ensure no bias? Please comment below!