OHIO VALLEY — Delyssa Edwards, a local pageant director, is adding a state pageant to her resume.
Edwards currently directs, and created, the Mothman pageant, Country Fall Festival pageant and the Liberty Fest pageant, all in Mason County. Being a pageant director is volunteer work for Edwards.
“I do it for the love of my community, state and for the friendships I make through pageants,” Edwards said.
Edwards is now the state executive director of the Miss West Virginia Elementary, Jr. High, High School and Collegiate America Pageant. This pageant is part of a national organization. Edwards said the system began in 2009 and she plans to be a state director who dedicates much of her time to the contestants.
“I was fortunate enough that they found me and asked me to apply for that,” she said.
Edwards said applying to the position took much consideration because she already has three county pageants, she works full time, is married and has two young children.
The state pageant is open to girls from pre-kindergarten through age 28 as long as they are enrolled in a West Virginia college.
In her role as the state executive director, Edwards will work throughout the state to recruit girls to compete in the pageant. She will also manage all the details with holding the pageant — including booking a venue, ordering crowns and sashes, and overseeing the choreography.
The state pageant will include a scholarship for the title holders, as do many pageants. Edwards said she is unsure at this time how that will look and what the complete prize package will include. In local pageants, Edwards has local sponsors who give money to be included in the scholarship for the title holders.
Edwards said that many competitors look at the prize packages when considering a pageant. These packages include various opportunities — such as whether or not the title holders move on to state or national pageants, any travel that is included, scholarship money, etc.
According to Edwards, participating in pageantry also gives girls life skills.
“The skills you learn in pageants — for instance, when you have interviews, you can take that on with you and do really well if you have a job interview,” Edwards said. “Or, when you work on your entry form, you basically are working on a resume about yourself. You take those skills you learn from pageants and you can apply them to the real world.”
Edwards said although she is now directing a state pageant, she will continue directing her local pageants.
“While I’m taking on a bigger role in West Virginia pageantry, it doesn’t mean I’m less committed to the area girls and to my smaller pageants, because that’s what I love,” Edwards said.
The Miss West Virginia Elementary, Jr. High, High School and Collegiate America Pageant will likely take place in January or February of 2021. Edwards said she has to hold the pageant before the national competition in June 2021.
For more details on the pageant, follow the state Facebook page or contact Edwards at 740-245-4427.
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Kayla (Hawthorne) Dunham is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.