Jessica Edwards Miss U.S. Plus World 2020
World Class Beauty Queens Magazine would like to welcome amazing Queen Jessica Edwards Miss U.S. Plus World 2020.
Full name: Jessica Lauren Edwards
Title/Year: Miss U.S. Plus World 2020
Pageant System: Miss Plus World
Zodiac sign: Aquarius
Hobbies: Yoga, swimming, crafting, singing and learning to play ukulele
Platform: The Dove Self Esteem Project
Years competed: 18
Countries visited: Two
Likes: stand up comedy, Monty Python, all things autumn, jazz music
Dislikes: Reese’s PB Cups, extreme hot/cold weather, scary movies
World Class Beauty Queens: Please tell us about yourself.
I reside in Virginia with my husband and three daughters. I’m a 300 hour certified yoga instructor, art instructor, published illustrator and professional artist with works on display in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. I’m the founder and director of Miss Abilities Organization, a program that creates accessible pageants and community involvement opportunities for individuals with disabilities. I was inspired by my oldest daughter who wants to be the first Miss America with autism. As we enter our 6th year, I’m excited to say we’re expanding the Miss Abilities program nationally! I’m also the co-founder of the Winchester Children’s Business Fair, a semiannual event teaching children ages 6-17 how to create and run their own business. I’m an internationally certified henna artist; as a 12 year cervical cancer survivor, it’s an honor to be able to create free henna crowns for individuals going through chemotherapy.
World Class Beauty Queens: What does women Empowerment means to you?
To me, women’s empowerment means being a part of a global sisterhood that's inclusive of all women. It means we are highly supportive of each other, growing together, working to learn from and fully appreciate and celebrate one another. It's fixing another woman's crown without telling the world it was crooked!
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about your pageant history.
I was 8 months old when my mother entered me in my first pageant. I continued competing throughout my childhood and teens. I stopped competing at age 18 and didn’t compete again until Miss U.S. Plus World. During my hiatus, I founded a pageant for individuals with disabilities, directed and judged local pageants for state and national level competitions.
World Class Beauty Queens: What inspired you to do your first pageant?
I grew up watching the major televised pageants with my family. I loved the glamour, the poise, the talent. I loved seeing such beautiful and accomplished young women making a difference in the world and I dreamed of becoming one of those women.
World Class Beauty Queens: Why did you choose to compete for your current title?
As a mother of three girls, I want to be a role model. It’s important that I teach my daughters to have confidence and never let anything stop them from reaching their goals. I couldn’t tell them they’re beautiful and worthy while also being negative about myself. Miss U.S. Plus World was an opportunity for me to show my daughters and young women from all over the world that photoshop is just a prop and beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colors.
World Class Beauty Queens: To those unfamiliar with your pageant system please tell us what is it about?
The vision of the Miss U.S. Plus World/Miss Plus World Pageant is to showcase the diversity, creativity, leadership, style, grace and beauty of women worldwide. The Miss U.S. Plus World/Miss Plus World Pageant is dedicated to promoting, elevating and celebrating the accomplishments and humanitarian services of women from across the nations. It is our goal to build a sisterhood of confident and influential women who share their cultures with each other and the world as they promote education, peace, wellness and cultural awareness. Contestants must be a size 12 and up and there are two categories: Miss Plus World (ages 20-35) and Ms Plus Intercontinental (ages 36 and up)
World Class Beauty Queens: What are you being judged on during the competition?
All delegates for Miss Plus World compete in Evening Gown, Panel Interview, Denim Couture, National Costume and Responsibility. In addition to both the Miss Plus World/Intercontinental titles, two international Miss Plus World/Intercontinental Humanitarian titles will be awarded. Each delegate must also prepare a video that highlights her humanitarian and volunteer efforts for the judges.
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about your experience during the competition.
This year because of the global pandemic, Miss U.S. Plus World was held virtually. Contestants had to submit videos answering “on stage” questions, fun fashion modeling and participate in a Zoom interview with the judges. I’m so grateful for today’s technology because without it, our pageant wouldn’t have been possible and I wouldn’t have been able to connect with such amazing women!
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about your platform or what cause do you volunteer for.
I’m an ambassador for the Dove Self Esteem Project; providing self esteem education to help build a generation of confident young women. In addition to my platform, I enjoy volunteering for our local food pantries, SPCA, Relay for Life my program Miss Abilities Organization and more! Volunteering is more important to me than anything and I’m honored to be able to use my title to make a difference in the world.
World Class Beauty Queens: What appearances have you done with your title?
•Appearance at the HOPE Candlelight Vigil hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Stephens City VA Chapter
•Packaging and distributing farm fresh foods to 300 families in need with Winchester Rescue Mission
•Attending and supporting a fundraiser for University of Virginia Cancer Center
•Five monthly virtual appearances through Read with a Queen reading empowering books to children via Facebook live
•Participating and fundraising for the St. Jude Virtual Run/Walk
•Volunteering with the local SPCA and donating handmade treat bags and blankets
•Judging the Miss Regal Elegance North Carolina 2020 pageant
•Prepping and distributing 200 backpacks filled with supplies to Latino and Minority Communities with The Backpack Drive
•Attending the RIM Black and White Masquerade Awards Banquet in Orlando FL
•Guest speaking at the Polka Dot Powerhouse Jacksonville FL Chapter June 2020 virtual meeting
World Class Beauty Queens: What are some of your achievements?
•2018 White House Foods Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Leader Award
•DreamBIG Productions 2018 Mother of the Year Award
•2018 SPCA CHAIR-ity Event Featured Artist
•Featured solo art show at Selah Theatre Arts from January 2019 - March 2019
•2019 Star Awards Nonprofit Director of the Year Finalist
•2019 Star Awards Artist of the Year Finalist
•2019 Winchester Heroes Award
•2020 Miss Congeniality, Miss Centerfold Beauty, Spirit Award and Humanitarian Award at Miss U.S. Plus World
World Class Beauty Queens: What makes you stand out from all those other beautiful girls?
Every pageant girl loves being a queen. For me though, my national title isn’t just a pretty crown and sparkly sash. It’s about making a difference and using the title to go out into the world and putting my words into actions. It’s about being an example for the next generation and showing the generation before us that we’ve learned from their example. What makes me stand out is that have continued to actively and positively impact my community regardless of any obstacles.
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about the moment your name was called out as the winner.
I was completely surprised when my name was called - I gasped, I cried, I was so excited! While it was different winning virtually, it was just as meaningful. This has been an amazing adventure!
World Class Beauty Queens: What does it mean to you to be a Beauty Queen?
A Beauty Queen is a girl/woman who exudes poise and elegance. She is a good public speaker and she is passionate about promoting her platform. A Beauty Queen is confident yet humble and kind yet assertive.
World Class Beauty Queens: How did competing in pageants helped your life?
I love public speaking and I do very well in job/tv interviews; preparing for pageants and working with coaches made that possible. My experience in pageantry has also helped me to create my program for individuals with disabilities, Miss Abilities Organization. It’s helped me in connecting with other pageant systems to find volunteers for my program as well as helping me guide two of my three daughters on their own pageant journeys.
World Class Beauty Queens: How did pageants help your selfesteem and body image?
The Miss Plus World pageant system has helped me embrace my body and love who I am. This system helps show that beauty has no size and whether tall or short, plus size or thin, true beauty comes from within.
World Class Beauty Queens: You are an inspiration to all the girls out there. How does it feel?
It feels amazing, but I also acknowledge that it is a responsibility I do not take lightly. Because my platform, the Dove Self Esteem Project, talks to young girls about photoshop and digital manipulation, I make sure to never edit my photos or videos on my title and personal social media pages. And when professional photos are edited, I’m honest about it. Because of the pandemic, we are finding ourselves online more. I want to help young girls learn that things aren’t always as they seem and that we can be beautiful without photoshop!
World Class Beauty Queens: What is your on stage strategy to win the judges over?
To be myself! Judges don’t want to see carbon copies lining up on stage - they want to see personality and individuality.
World Class Beauty Queens: How did you prepare for your competition?
Practice, practice, practice. Oh did I mention practice? I worked with multiple coaches, did as much community service work as I could and listened to the advice of the former winners.
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your tips for learning better pageant walk?
Make sure that the shoes are comfortable - yes everyone loves a fabulous shoe, but if you can’t walk in them then you aren’t going to shine on stage. Practice in the shoes you plan to wear on stage as often as possible. Break them in and get used to walking in them on all types of flooring and stairs.
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your tips for choosing right pageant dress?
Find a shop or designer who is known for working with someone of a similar body type to yours and a portfolio you love.
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your tips for winning interview?
Try to think of interview as a conversation with the judges. I worked with interview coaches, past and current titleholders and did many mock panel interviews. I made sure to be current with local, national, and global news as well because you never know what the judges might ask in interview!
World Class Beauty Queens: What is one mistake that you've done during competing you wish you could redo and fix it?
I wouldn’t change a thing - I worked hard, I did my best and I’m proud of myself.
World Class Beauty Queens: What other mistakes are made by girls during the contest?
I think sometimes contestants can focus too much on the beauty aspect and not as much on the job of being a queen. While beauty and fashion are important, so is being well spoken and having a solid platform that you’re proud of. I’ve seen contestants in the past have very general platforms or who haven’t done anything for it yet, they say they’ll wait until they’re crowned. However, the judges want to see contestants who have drive, initiative and are passionate about their platforms, whether or not they have a crown.
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your plans for 2020 as a Queen?
I plan to continue to serve my community, lead by example and make a difference in the world! I’m also excited to prepare for Miss Plus World in February 2021!
World Class Beauty Queens: What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?
When people think of me as Miss U.S. Plus World 2020, I want them to remember me as a Queen who served her community, worked hard to make a difference, encouraged other to love themselves for who they are and never let anything stop her from changing the world!
International Director: Nanette Weeks
National Director: Shatwaina Lester
Pageant website: missplusworld.us
World Class Beauty Queens Magazine would like to say thank you for this wonderful interview.
Jessica Edwards Miss U.S. Plus World 2020, World Class Beauty Queens Magazine, Photos by Kimberly Needles Photography
HMU by Jensen Brooke Makeup
Interview by Derek Tokarzewski Owner/Editor in Chief Mr United Nations 2018 Platform: Women Empowerment Ambassador to International Foundation for Orphans iffocares.org
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