Maris Ferreira sees the beauty in every woman. Ferreira said that every lady, no matter what her age, is special and has something special to share with the world.
Ferreira, a sophomore at William Paterson University, was selected to be the director of the New Jersey Miss Amazing Pageant, a program for girls and young women with disabilities designed to help them build their confidence and self-esteem. The program will be held May 12 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Ridgewood.
“Everyone has something to share, everyone has something that makes them special,” Ferreira said. “They just need a place where they can express themselves. It isn’t always easy for disabled people to do that. But hopefully this event can provide them with an opportunity for that to happen.”
Participants are placed into seven age divisions, ages 5 to 35. Girls, except 5- to 9-year-olds, participate in three areas of competition:
Interview: participants are asked simple questions by the judges.
Introduction: contestants will state their name, age, and favorite things, i.e. animals and trains.
There is also a portion of the show where ladies will dress up in their best formal dress and be escorted on stage.
Ladies may also participate in an optional talent portion of the competition. Contestants may choose to perform a brief dance routine, sing a song, or recite a poem; maximum length is two minutes.
“For some of these people, they’ve never something like this before and they’ll no doubt be nervous, but that’s okay,” Ferreira said. “This may be what gives some of them the confidence to break out of their shell and try something new.”
Every participant will receive a trophy. One representative from each age division will be selected to travel to Nebraska for the national competition. Medals are also awarded to the winners and runners-ups of the talent competition.
Although only girls may enter the program, boys can also be a part of it. They will have the opportunity to escort the participants onto the stage during a portion of the pageant and receive medals for their participation.
“Just because there are people out there who are different, doesn’t make them any less special than anyone else. We all have talents and have been afraid of going up in front of a group at one point or another in our lives,” Ferreira said. “This pageant is no different for these girls. There’s something special that happens when you finally conquer something you’re afraid of and to see someone do that, no matter how old she is, that’ll be amazing.”
For more information visit missamazingpageant.com, join the pageant’s Facebook group, or e-mail Ferriera at firstname.lastname@example.org.