More than just beauty, The Miss Southwest Florida Pageant is about giving young women the opportunity to pursue their dreams by receiving a scholarship. That is the sole purpose of the crown explains Executive Director Ms. Kimberley Quimet. Kimberley is no stranger to the world of pageantry who has taken several titles herself over the years. Her mom Joyce who was there to support her daughter’s efforts said, “it’s about the women building their self confidence and skills needed to pursue their goals in life. I wasn’t a pageant mom as portrayed in those reality shows, my daughter pursued the circuit entirely on her own and everything she achieved was through her own hard work and determination”. That’s the exact message Kimberly and her hard working board strive towards.
Several fundraisers are held throughout the year to raise money for the event and provide the scholarship fund which is $27,000 to the winner. Linda Hansen a Board Member and one of the primary sponsors; City Mattress explains the process. “We have a recruitment process where you are discovered. The program is called You have been Spotted. where you receive an invitation to fill out a application and receive an interview with Kimberley herself. If you meet the requirements then the process begins, the ladies will begin making public appearances and working charitable events. The idea is to make you comfortable in front of an audience and help you with your public speaking skills. This will help build confidence with the contestants.”
The contestants must compete in four categories; public speaking and appearance, talent, swimsuit, and evening wear. This particular division has twelve contestants to compete for the title. The pageant is a preliminary to Miss Florida and Miss America. Pageant experience is not required and they are still searching for more contestants. There is noentry fee and the women must be between the ages of 17 – 24. Interested young ladies may retrieve information off their website at www.misssouthwestflorida.org
In addition the pageant is looking for sponsors to help fund the actual event as well as host pageant events such as the one held on Marco Island. The two contestants Miss Vanaequa Glenn from Lehigh Acres and Miss Bridey Kearns from Cape Coral were treated to a beautiful cruise on a yacht thanks to the folks at Pearl Yacht Brokers and Captain Ed Ehlen and Captain Bill Carlson. Bridley enjoyed the cruise and was thankful for the gorgeous day on Marco Island as the cruise included a swimsuit photo session. Local contestant, Katherine Borden was not available to attend the event.
Afterwards the ladies, their siblings and pageant organizers were treated to an afternoon of pampering at Rick’s Island Salon. The wind blown hair was transformed into beautiful looks for the ladies. Everyone came out of the salon doors a winner. Next was a delicious luncheon provided by staff manager and organizer of the event for CJ’s on the Bay, James Hubbard. Vendors from Mary Kay, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bombay Bangles were on hand to support the event. Miss Chandra Simmons, third runner up from 2010, looking very much like a beauty queen herself came to support the event by bringing Saks Fifth Ave to the venue.
The event will be held at Hodges University on February 20th at 3:00 pm. Pageant organizers are very excited to have Hodges University on board as the hosting sponsor and are thrilled to have a venue that will accommodate their audience. Last year it was “standing room only” for many pageant friends, family, and fans.
For more information on how to be a contestant or become a sponsor contact Kimberley at KimQui@Comcast.net or log into the website.