By: Rinamay Lopez

When someone says the words “beauty queen,” it’s typical to imagine a big, shiny crown and a woman with a great smile. That is what some people may think when they hear of the Miss UVU Pageant, the oldest tradition on campus sponsored by UVUSA. This year’s event will take place on Oct. 19 in the Grande Ballroom.

Participants, however, consider it to be much more than a beauty contest. They see it as a celebration of womanhood and an opportunity for self development, as well as a chance to travel and receive scholarship money.

“This pageant is for girls to become the best version of themselves. We don’t want to change them. We want to make them better,” said Carly Condie, director of Miss UVU and former Miss UVUSC 2001.

The pageant offers a scholarship to the winner for one full year’s tuition, therefore, there are school requirements involved. Each contestant must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 and be a full-time student, among other requirements. The Miss UVU Pageant is affiliated with the Miss America Pageant, in that the winner of the university’s competition will go on to compete for Miss Utah and possibly for Miss America.

Unlike other pageants, each contestant for Miss UVU is responsible for her own dress, hair and makeup. Every woman has to perform a 90-second talent onstage during the event. Talents range from singing and dancing to painting. Eleven girls will compete this year, each one with a platform supporting a different cause to support her community.

“That’s something that goes hand in hand with our campus,” Condie said. “I had the chance to meet this year’s contestants and found out that every girl is an intelligent young woman, has dreams and is trying to make a difference in our community.”

As the pageant is a competition, there can only be one winner. Regardless of what happens, every girl in the past has walked away from this experience feeling like they gained something. Even if they don’t win a crown, contestants see this pageant as an experience to grow as a person.

Last year’s winner Alisha Lee’s platform was to raise awareness about domestic violence.

“I chose this platform in honor of my mom who is a survivor of domestic violence [as are] a lot of members in my family. I think it’s time to address the issue,” she said.

“I’ve met the girls before,” Hatch said. “I can tell it’s very exciting for them [because] they get to showcase their talents and compete. A lot of pride goes into it.”