Miss Ashley Stewart "Rainy" (center) of Chicago is joined by first runner-up Sherry Smith(left) and LaShonda Boyd (right) of Gary after the first "Miss Ashley Stewart Fashion Pageant" in Gary. | Photo provided
Updated: May 5, 2014 3:32AM
Last Saturday I had the distinct pleasure of serving as a judge for the first Miss Ashley Stewart Fashion Pageant at its store, 3602 Village Shopping Center, Gary.
Ashley Stewart is a popular clothing store for full-figured women who enjoy wearing modern, beautiful styles that complement curves from sizes 12 to 26. I was asked by one of the contestants, Sherry Smith, and the store’s co-manager, Nacole Beverly, to be one of three judges, and I was happy to say yes.
Let me tell you, this wasn’t just a pageant and fashion show, it was an event. As I parked near the store, I noticed a white stretch limousine with pictures of a woman who turned out to be another contestant.
Upon entering the store I was embraced by that contestant, who went by the name “Rainy.” She was tall, statuesque and outgoing and had an entourage of family and friends holding signs with her photos.
The store was packed with supporters for the seven other contestants and customers who were encouraged to shop throughout the pageant.
The store was festively decorated, a DJ was on hand and Fel Davis, former lead singer of the R&B group Public Announcement, was on hand to perform live for the audience. Local media personality Suzette Hayes-Cross was mistress of ceremonies and had everyone dancing and celebrating beautiful women.
At the judges’ table I was joined by Ashley Stewart’s district manager Joyce Hillard and Living Boldly 2 Modeling Agency’s founder and CEO LaTonia Branch.
Hillard said this is the only Ashley Stewart in Gary (a store inside the Southlake Mall closed over a year ago), and when the staff approached her about a pageant she was just as excited as they were.
“The staff has done an awesome job putting this together. I would love to see this expand as a national pageant,” she said.
In the end, the contestant crowned Miss Ashley Stewart was “Rainy.” First runner-up was Sherry Smith, and second runner-up was LaShonda Boyd.
The winner and runners-up received prizes and plenty of love from the entire store.
Congratulations again, ladies, and again, thank you Ashley Stewart for a great time.
The Alpha Sigma Sigma Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Gary Chapter is hosting with the East Chicago Chapter a College Mega Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at Thea Bowman Leadership Academy High School, 3401 W. 5th Ave.
This fair is for all schools, grades and ages. Activities will include financial aid counseling, FAFSA preparation, educational workshops, a Partners for Progress Youth Symposium and more. Parents are encouraged to attend with their children.