Beauty is more than just skin deep.
Michelle Heston and her daughter Shelby Heston of rural Woodburn will be participating as a mother-daughter team in the America’s SUPER Pageant.
For Shelby, 16, a sophomore at Clarke Community High School, this will be her first pageant. She will be representing Iowa’s SUPER Teen.
Shelby said she was influenced to join a pageant because of her mother participating in pageants.
“Well, like seeing her onstage, she looked happy and stuff, and looked like she was having a good time,” Shelby said. “And, she got involved with everyone there and she met new people. And, I thought, maybe, it’d be a good experience to try.”
According to the America’s SUPER Pageant website, the pageant is a personal development opportunity for women of all ages throughout the world.
The delegates who represent its state, country and international titles have beauty, style, poise, intelligence, confidence and a strong desire to improve the world around them by promoting a personal platform and/or the national Safety Belt Use and Awareness Platform.
The pageant, which is June 21-23 in Hamilton, Mont,. near the historic Bitterroot Valley, gives women the opportunity to advance their personal goals, while acting as a role model to those around them.
America’s Super Teen, Miss/Ms./Mrs. competition is directed by Janet Bierer. and is being held in memory of her daughter Allanya DaRay Thorning, who died July 18, 2010, in a car accident.
Delegates may have their own platforms, but also agree to promote seat belt use.
Michelle competed in the pageant last year, and she is no stranger to the pageant system. Michelle was Mrs. Iowa International in 2011 and Iowa’s SUPER Mrs. in 2012. She was asked to return this year as Iowa’s SUPER Mrs.
Throughout the year, Michelle gets involved with Special Olympics and the Dystonia Foundation based in Chicago because she has dystonia.
Dystonia is a movement disorder that causes the muscles to contract and spasm involuntarily. It affects 300,000 people in the U.S. alone, and there is no cure. But, there is treatment.
As for seat-belt safety, in June, Michelle will be taking the car-seat safety-check course to become a car-seat technician.
In southern Iowa, there’s only one car-seat safety checker who is based in Albia, Michelle said.
“I will continue on with this because I really, really think that it’s an important issue. My own two daughters, this past fall, were in a serious car accident,” Michelle said. “They would have died, they would have went through the windshield, had they not been wearing seatbelts. It really, really was an eyeopener. Accidents really do affect everyone.”
Michelle said, in 1992, her best friend, who was also her cousin, was killed in a car accident
When asked what she would say to a person who wasn’t wearing a seat belt, Shelby said, “I’d tell them to either put on a seat belt or get out of my car because it’s important to buckle up.”
With the pageant almost a month away, Shelby said she’s looking forward to meeting new people and getting the word out about seat-belt safety.
Also, Shelby has spoken on Pageant Live, an online forum where women can talk about pageants and what has inspired them. It gives tips, including what to wear, public speaking and how to win a pageant. The forum also focuses on women and world issues.
Michelle said, since the pageant last year, she’s looking forward to seeing some of the returning queens, who have become good friends. She’s also hoping to win the national title, but added, everybody else is, too.
“I’m just looking to expand my horizons and learn more about myself because that’s really what pageantry in the last three years has done for me,” Michelle said. “It has taught me who I am, which was so much more than what I ever thought I was.”