Author Margaret Wolfe Hungerford once wrote that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” The phase in its current form appeared in the book “Molly Bawn” in 1878. The first annual Glam and Glo Altenative Beauty Pageant, set for Saturday at Chilhowee Park and Exposition Center, aims to present an event that will show that beauty comes in all forms.
The co-promoters of the event are Sarah Claxton, owner of Envied Clothing, and Melissa Merrick, owner of Southern Belle Events.
“I have been friends with Sarah since high school,” Merrick said. “Earlier this year she was trying to participate in a beauty pageant, and the (promoters) wouldn’t let her because of her tattoos. I talked to her, and we agreed to have a beauty pageant for all types of women.
“Basically, we wanted a pageant which expressed individuality. The show is not about a popularity contest. This is all about how the girl presents herself. It is not about what you are on the outside, but who you are on the inside as a person.”
According to Merrick, social norms have changed dramatically for women.
“Society has had an idea of what beautiful is,” she said. “In reality, beauty does not come in one shape, size or skin color. Beauty comes in all forms. Over the years, society has wanted women to look and act in a certain way. Things are different now. We just don’t have two genders — the traditional gender roles are out the window.
“Take tattoos for instance. For a long time, it was looked down upon for a woman to have tattoos. Now it is (common) to see a woman with tattoos.”
Twenty-five contestants will compete for the crown of Miss Alternative.
“We really didn’t have any guidelines for entering the event except for just be yourself,” Merrick said. “We want women to be themselves without having to worry about what everybody else thinks about them. The only other rule was that you had to be 18 or over to participate.”
The beauty pageant will be presented in three categories. First the contestants will introduce themselves and explain why they are unique, followed by the evening wear category.
The final portion will consist of questions for the participants.
“There will not be any questions asking the girls what they would do to achieve world peace or how they would end hunger,” Merrick said. “The questions will be geared for honest answers on what the contestant thinks of herself and (the world) around her.”
After the beauty pageant, Envied Clothing will present the Purge Fashion Show. The event is based on the movie “The Purge,” where in the future murder is legal for one day each year. Some people that purge (act of killing) in the film wear disturbing yet creative masks. Models in the show will adorn “Purge”-themed masks and gear.
The Alternative Beauty pageant also will feature vendors, makeup tutorials and plenty of opportunities for shopping. The show is for all ages. Admission is $10, and children 12 and under will be admitted free. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 11 a.m. and the pageant starts at 1 p.m.