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  • alishabridges4

Navigating the World of Beauty: Entering a Pageant with Psoriasis

Updated: Feb 25


I'm from a small town, and we have something called the Strawberry Festival every year. It's a big event, and people from all over Michigan come to our town to have fun with rides, games, and strawberries. The Strawberry Festival Queen Pageant is one of the most liked events at the festival.


Every year, girls, 15 through 21 years of age compete and put their best foot forward to win the crown. It was my junior year in high school, and I decided to participate in this big event! The fact that I had psoriasis on over 90% of my body hadn't hit me yet as I went to sign up for this great opportunity. There were 5 categories to contend... Dance, talent, modeling, and an interview. We practiced for weeks! My talent was playing the piano.


3 days before my big night, we had dress rehearsals, where we were required to wear our dresses and our dance uniforms. That's when I panicked. I hadn't told any of the girls about my psoriasis, and I stayed covered during our practices. During the process, I never accepted that I would have to face my psoriasis. I tried to put the fact I would have to reveal my skin to the back burner for as long as possible.


At the next practice, I wore a short-sleeved shirt. During the entire practice, I tried to hide my arms from being seen by the girls. When I had to wear our dance capris, I wore flesh-tone stockings. And when it was time to put on our evening gowns, I made up an excuse not to. The anxiety was finally kicking in. I went home so upset! I couldn't believe I made the decision to enter a pageant with psoriasis. I screamed at my grandmother and my aunt. I told them I wasn't doing the pageant, and I quit! The tears wouldn't stop coming. I didn't know what to do!


Once I calmed down, my grandmother came into the room and wiped my tears away. She told me not to quit! She took me to Macy's and bought me body makeup. She said she wanted to do whatever it took for me to feel comfortable.


The body makeup didn't conceal the psoriasis entirely because of the raised and inflamed plaques, but it took me to a point where I was comfortable enough to go out on stage.


That night, I wowed the audience with my talent, stage presence, and interview! And guess what...

I WON!!!!!!!!! I cried so hard! I did it! And to think I was going to quit!


Strawberry Queen Pageant (2005)

I'm the tallest girl with a white dress...


4 teens pageant participants in the early 2000's
Strawberry Festive Pageant

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