1st Ms. Full-Figured USA Texas pageant aims to redefine standards of beauty

Rosie Nguyen Image
Saturday, October 22, 2022
First Ms. Full-Figured USA Texas pageant aims to redefine standards of beauty
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A new pageant in the state of Texas aims to redefine beauty standards, create opportunities for sisterhood, and celebrate plus-sized women.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A new pageant in the state of Texas aims to redefine beauty standards, create opportunities for sisterhood, and celebrate plus-sized women. This weekend, five contestants will compete for the first-ever Ms. Full-Figured USA Texas title.

Although this is the first time this pageant has been held at the state level in the Lone Star State, the national system itself has existed for 33 years with chapters across the country, including Alabama, DMV, Georgia, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia.

"I didn't see any representation on any runway that really signified who we are as full-figured women. Size has no barrier on beauty," Theresa Randolph, CEO and Founder of Ms. Full-Figured USA said. "Right now, you have a movement. The big girl movement, thanks to a lot of our celebrity friends like Queen Latifah and Lizzo."

Contestant Itzel De Leon said she's been competing in pageants for eight years now, but this is the first time she's found a system where she truly feels that she is being celebrated for who she really is.

"I don't have that insecurity that I had in other pageant systems. That insecurity is always in the back of my head. As much confidence as I exude on stage in person, I can't help but think they're discriminating against me because of my size," De Leon said.

Tiffany Gardner admitted she's more of an introvert but preparing for the pageant has brought her out of her shell and encouraged her to move out of her comfort zone.

"It brings out so much willingness and outgoingness from me personally. This pageant has helped bring out a showmanship in me that I'm very excited about, especially what we've put together and what's been put together for us," Gardner said.


Tiera Williams, the director of the Texas state pageant, said their age requirement is from 18 and up. She explained there are three categories: Full-Figured for women between the sizes of 12 to 18, Plus for those between sizes 18 to 26, and then Exquisite for contestants who are ages 40 and up.

This year, the pageant's five contestants competing in Texas are:

  • Shambretta Johnson, 20. She has a background as a certified nursing assistant and is currently pursuing an associate's degree in the medical field. Her platform is about mental health, inspired by her own battles with depression.
  • Itzel De Leon, 29, lives in Mission. She is currently a student at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley studying education and communications. Her platform includes multiple causes, but she is currently focused on improving the welfare of the Mexican community and providing resources to young children.
  • Lakrisha Cooper, 42, lives in Irving. She is a mother of three children, finishing her MBA program, and working as a healthcare consultant. Her platform is about helping special needs students after they finish high school, inspired by her own 16-year-old son who suffers from a traumatic brain injury.
  • Tiffany Gardner, 47, lives in Whitney. She is a childbirth educator and doula. Her platform is maternal mental health and postpartum support, inspired by her cousin who passed away.
  • Porsha Pruitt, 52, lives in Houston. She is pursuing a Bachelor's degree at Grand Canyon University in business, administration, and human resources. Her platform is organ donation and improving conditions in communities of color.

The Ms. Full-Figured USA Texas pageant will take place Saturday, Oct. 22 at the Box Creative, located at 7111 Homestead Road in Houston. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the show will begin at 6 p.m. Tickets purchased in advance are $35 or $50 at the door.

Some of the criteria contestants will be competing in include photogenic, talent, swimwear, sportswear, and evening wear.

Williams told ABC13 they will award two winners, Ms. Full-Figured USA Texas and Ms. Exquisite Full-Figured USA Texas. The winners will win a sash, crown, and cash prizes. Both will go on to compete at the national competition next year in Atlanta, Georgia.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Ms. Full-Figured USA Texas website.

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