RAYZ organizes a different kind of beauty pageant for its clients.
Contributed By Tan Pei Qi
What defines beauty? To many, appealing physical looks is what “being beautiful” means. But to this special group of people, beauty is defined from what’s inside a person. The RAYZ Pageant DAZZLE 2011 celebrated this form of beauty.
RAYZ is an outreach of City Harvest Community Services Association for people with special needs. Its aim is to equip its clients to better interact and blend with a wider social circle; hence, RAYZ constantly highlights to their clients the importance of personal care, grooming and confidence.
Through the pageant, RAYZ targeted teenagers and young adults with special needs, to spur them on in their quest for self-confidence, and at the same time, to help them realize the talents they each possess.
The pageant was held on May 21, at City Harvest Church’s Jurong West premises. The hall on the fourth floor was filled with a crowd of 450, including friends and family members of the contestants. The preliminary activities were geared to help RAYZ’s clients. Albert Chou, a dentist, spoke to the audience about the importance of proper dental hygiene. Following that, Catherine Koh, director of Shineon School on Stage, spoke on the topic of personal grooming and more importantly, issues on self-esteem and self-acceptance.
The pageant began with an item by all the contestants, a performance of “I Wanna Know You,” originally sung by Miley Cyrus and David Archuleta. The opening act brought the house down—the hall resounded with applause and loud cheers.
A total of 11 contestants took part in the pageant—six males and five females, all between 15 to 26. The criteria for winning the titles of Miss and Mr. Dazzle 2011 were confidence and a strong stage presence.
To prepare for the pageant, each contestant had to go through at least two hours of training, typically, catwalk, makeovers and stage poses.
Eighteen-year-old Wilkinson Wang had always been an introvert. Being watched by a crowd was a tall order for him, so it was a turning point for him when he finally made the decision to participate in the pageant. Prior to the event, he had learned to interact with different people, with the help and encouragement of RAYZ’s workers and volunteers. Throughout the training, Wang’s ability to engage meaningfully with others improved considerably.
“The pageant has been a platform for Wilkinson to come out of his shy self and let others see a different side of him,” said Santhi Singaram from RAYZ. “It has boosted his self-esteem and self-confidence a great deal.”
Singaram added that previously, Wang would keep to himself; however, through taking part in the pageant, he has widened his social circle and made many new friends.
Chan Huixian, 26, was crowned Miss Dazzle, and the Mr. Dazzle title went to Aaron Ng Chee Seng, 21. They each won a personal digital assistant.
This was one pageant that succeeded in bringing its contestants a level higher in self-confidence. It proved to each one that he or she had what it takes to be beautiful, inside and out.