In life, we all experience different journeys that shapes the person we are and aspire to be in the future. The journey may be moving to another state. It could be graduating from college and preparing for adulthood. Or it could be similar to our new PHREAdom Leader’s holistic journey to the crown at the second Miss Plus Size Charleston pageant.
In 2012, the Miss Plus Size Charleston crowned their first winner Nowa Fludd. Alison Parson, 27, heard about the contest from her hairstylist, but had no real desire to participate in it initially. However, it all changed after winner Fludd and event planner Delhman Drayton revived the pageant in 2014.
“Miss Plus Size Charleston is an opportunity to give plus size women the chance to celebrate themselves,” Parson, a member of Delta Sigma Theta said.
Let God groom the Journey
“God is using this to groom me and bring some things out of me,” the contestant said. “I learned accountability, perseverance, and discipline.”Although still apprehensive at first, she originally said no to participating because she wasn’t in the financial or emotional place to take on the challenge. However, with only 16 days away from the event, she feels like the journey helped to develop her character and make her a better person.
Similar to many other pageants, Parson who is from Summerville, S.C., needed to raise funds to support the pageant. She reached out to her family and friends for support as well as ventured into crowd funding. One of her sponsors told her about GoFundMe. She set an overall goal of $2000. Collectively, she is only $475 away from her goal. She received abundant support from her family.
“My family is amazing,” she said.
On April 27, she expects for her family to pack the place.
“Everybody is excited,” she said including herself along with a mixture of other emotions including nervousness, anxiety yet extreme excitement.
Every Journey has a Platform
The issue of mental health is important especially in the black community. Therefore, she made chose this as her platform. As a student at Allen University, Parson received her bachelor’s degree in social science and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional counseling. She also works in the mental health field at Medical University of South Carolina’s Institute of Psychology. She is very passionate about it because African-Americans suffer from those issues a lot because they aren’t knowledgeable on how different situations or circumstances relate to mental health.
“I want to teach and empower those with the signs,” she said. “And save lives.”
Although her platform is primarily for the black community, she shares the same concerns for everyone.
“Journey to the Crown”
Contestant #7 wants the crown.
“If I win, it will be another testimony in my journey,” she said. “I want a voice to inspire, encourage and motivate people.”
The idea of winning Miss Plus Size Charleston is beyond a self-discovery for Parson, but rather an opportunity to let others know that they can persevere and overcome any obstacles as long as they put their minds to it.
Passion to Fight
As a product of a single parent home, Parson battled childhood depression as a pre-teen and teenager. However, she fought her way to overcome it because she knew it could be done. Parson fought the obstacles she faced to keep pushing to the next level.
“We all have a fight in us,” she said.
Hopes to Leave a Mark
The social science major hopes to make a difference in someone’s life every day. Individual have no idea how much of a difference someone’s life could be impact because of a positive encounter, she explained. It’s those impacts and marks that she hopes to leave behind.
Respect is Simple
In its simplest form, she described respect as a foundation.
“It’s like building a house with no foundation,” she said because without respect, everything else isn’t supported and will fall.
Respect was something Parson learned as a child. However, she doesn’t feel like we respect enough.
“Respect is simple common courtesy,” she said. “(Yet) We don’t give reverence to it enough.”
Empowered by the Trailblazers
“(God) is the source of my strength,” Parson said.
She is also empowered by her destiny. “I don’t know what it is, but I know my destiny’s around the corner especially since the pageant,” she said.
Lastly, she is empowered by other trailblazers especially the women in her family. Parson’s grandmother Hazel Parson-Starkes is her number #1 trailblazer. Parson-Starkes served as the second black mayor of Ridgeville, S.C. She served as mayor for 18 years until she retired. Raising Parson and her three sisters, who were dubbed as the “A Team,” her mother is another positive role model.
Ambitions to Do It
“Whatever you’re passionate about, you do it,” the contestant said. “Do all of it, and why not be a diva while you’re doing it.”
She aspires to become a counselor of her own private practice where she also offers workshops, tours, conferences and speaking engagements. The pageant is an opportunity for her to use her platform and do it.
The pageant is April 27 at Burke High School. If you would like to support Parson, visit her Go Fund Me site at http://www.gofundme.com/idsmagfundraising to learn more about her “Journey 2 the Crown.”