beauty pageants

‘Love being 60’: Texas pageant contestants show age is just a number

Reuters
‘Love being 60’: Texas pageant contestants show age is just a number

Past pageant winners Esmeralda Ybarra Hetrick, Kathryn Gordon, Joyce Brown, and Debbie Carroll Boyce chat in the dressing room before the Ms. Texas Senior America Pageant in Dallas, Texas, U.S., July 24, 2021. Picture taken July 24, 2021.

REUTERS/Shelby Tauber

The Ms Texas Senior America beauty pageant is for women between 60 and 75 years old and features baton twirling, belly dancing, push-ups, and more

Piano teacher and grandmother of seven Kimberly Ghedi used to think 60 was a death sentence.

But since reaching that milestone, the 63-year-old started working out, got married – and entered the Ms. Texas Senior America beauty pageant in Dallas on Saturday, July 24.

She won.

“My self-image has changed, because I feel like there’s beauty in the wrinkles and I feel like there’s a lot to be said about being a woman that’s mature,” she said.

The pageant, for women between 60 and 75 years old, featured baton twirling, belly-dancing, a rendition of Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to Be an American,” and some one-armed push-ups, as a Texas flag stood at the side of the stage.

Unlike in younger women’s contests, there was no bathing suit competition. Just a celebration of women finding their second wind.

Ms. Texas Senior America Pageant contestants line up for a group photo before the start of the Ms. Texas Senior America Pageant in Dallas, Texas, U.S., July 24, 2021. Picture taken July 24, 2021.
REUTERS/Shelby Tauber

“I’m feeling better about myself than any other decade in my life,” said the prior winner, Joyce Brown, a retired engineer and a tap dancer. “You can flourish wherever you are, rather at 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 – it’s all about your mental state and what you make of it.”

“I am loving being 60,” Brown said.

The 1991 champion, Vivian Kleinwacher, marked her 100th birthday at the event, waving to the audience as she received a bouquet of flowers. Her sash said, “100 & FABULOUS.”

Ghedi blew kisses to the crowd and wiped away a tear when she was crowned. She said she wanted to help older women find their voice.

“We get discounted a lot of times, because we’re older,” she said. “And I think that that’s just a big misnomer with society. I started working out when I was 60. I never worked out. And now I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in – even when I was 19 and skinny as a rail.” – Rappler.com