DENVER — This summer, four Colorado women came home with high crowns and new sashes after competing in national pageants.
Arica P. Quinn was crowned Miss All World's Beauty Elite 2021, Teresa Hailey became Miss Legacy USA 2021, Brie Styles earned the Miss Curvy Plus USA 2021 crown, and Kelly Loggins was crowned Miss Elite Legacy USA 2021.
Quinn, Hailey, and Loggins have all competed in pageants before, but this was Styles' first competition. All four women use pageantry as a way to amplify causes important to them.
Quinn, for example, is passionate about helping adult women heal from sexual abuse trauma.
"Pageantry allows me to push my platform and to be able to stand somewhere and say yes I was this, but I’m now this," Quinn said. "I was a sexual abuse survivor but now I’m a national pageant queen and guess what, you can be a national pageant queen too."
Queen to Queen is an organization Quinn started to provide healing spaces for those survivors.
Hailey is passionate about reducing and or eliminating police brutality. She said she works closely with Denver and Aurora Police to help strengthen community-police relationships.
While pageantry allows her to share her cause with the rest of the country Hailey said it's also helped her improve speaking and interview skills.
Loggins took a break from competing in pageants nearly five years ago. In 2019, her grandson was shot and killed at a Juneteenth celebration in Aurora. She and her family are still healing from that trauma, but Loggins said competing in pageants became a good distraction.
"It was a good distraction so that I could put those tears to work to help someone else and to remember that God is in control," she said. She plans to get involved in youth violence prevention programs and raise awareness. For now, she's dedicated to giving blood donations and uses pageantry to encourage others to do the same.
Styles wanted to start competing in pageants as a way to honor her mother, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Styles is now an advocate for breast cancer awareness and uses pageantry to share that message.
"It makes me feel empowered," she said. "That's part of the reason I wanted to compete."
She also uses that platform to increase body positivity.
"Beauty wasn’t always associated with women of my size or my color so I wanted to change that."
Styles said she now receives messages from other young women seeking advice on how to get into modeling and pageantry.
"I just tell them the same thing, just be yourself...I never imagined being a role model to anyone, but you know, look at me now."
Most of the women plan to compete in the next national pageant competition in March 2022.
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