Thursday, September 10, 2015

Miss Possibilities: First pageant for girls with Special Needs in Asia

For the first time in Asia, the very first pageant for young women with Special Needs will be held right here in the Philippines. This will be THE pageant of the year where “Beauty Knows No Boundaries.” Miss Possibilities will be held on Oct 7, 2015 at the Mango Tree Restaurant at Bonifacio Global City.

This pageant came to light because of one mom’s wish to celebrate the unique in every special person through a fun and inclusive event.

Suzanna Pavadee Vicheinrut was on a family vacation in her home state in California when she saw a poster of an upcoming pageant for young ladies with special needs. She posted a picture of the poster in her personal Facebook page with the caption “Sana, one day in the Philippines”.  

This hope was sparked by Suzanna’s daughter Johanna, who was born with Trisomy 21. Down Syndrome is a chromosomal condition that happens randomly. Trisomy 21 or Down Syndrome, occurs when there is a third copy of the twenty first chromosome.

We receive 23 chromosomes from our mother and 23 chromosomes from our father. This means that every typical individual has a total of 46 chromosomes paired in 23 sets.  Joey has a “a little something extra,” because she has a third copy on her 21st pair.

However being a hands on mom who balances the many responsibilities of raising two girls, managing her own career, and married life can push some things to the back burner. The idea of having a pageant for these girls would have to wait just a little while longer.

Suzanna’s Facebook post though continued to gain a lot of positive responses but the one comment that brought about a call to action was that of her friend Mr. Eric Teng from the Mango Tree Restaurant group. Mr. Teng has been a strong supporter of the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines and generously offered his restaurant in BGC as the venue for this event which is focused on girls and helping them realize their beauty inside and out.

Suz called on her family and her network of families who also have loved ones with special needs for support in organizing the event right away. It really helped too that Suz also has experience in pageant organizing. She was crowned Mrs. Thailand in 2003 and has since actively pursued opportunities that presented themselves after the pageants were already concluded. Besides the experiences of preparing, competing, and the eventually taking home her titles; the opportunities which followed each of the pageants allowed her to explore the fields of television, radio, magazines, writing, and modeling.  Her exposure provided her with skills and opportunities into creating platforms and events that would make the world a better place for her daughter, Johanna.

“The word pageant does not mean competition,” shares Suz, “We are defining the true meaning of pageant, where we will celebrate and showcase each girl individually. They will all be crowned with their own titles.

Suz does not want these girls to feel like they are competing with one another. She wants them to “feel proud, beautiful and self confident.” In fact, she wants them to go home with wonderful memories, new experiences and new friends. She wants each individual to go home feeling excited to participate in the following year’s pageant.

Suzanna never realized was that her history of pageantry and crowns would pave the way for something bigger than herself. She never could have foreseen all those years ago, that being crowned Mrs. Thailand would incite change, foster acceptance, and further inclusion in The Philippines and in Asia where people with special needs are often discriminated and overlooked. She never knew that her experiences before Joey would enable her to showcase these girls with special needs who are not much different from anyone else.

These girls have hopes, fears, and feelings just like everyone else and will benefit from the friendship, the experience and the feeling of showcasing their moments big and small on that small stage even if only for one day.

That day, even if only one lady will be crowned Miss Possibilities, everyone will go home feeling like a winner simply for the opportunity to do something no one with special needs has ever done before in Asia.

If you would like to know more about Miss Possibilities, please email the Miss Possibilities team at . You can also follow the pageant at their facebook page


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