Miss Michigan Plus representatives head to Atlanta to compete

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published July 20, 2015

 Miss Michigan Plus America Pageants board chair Darlene Williams crowns Brown.

Miss Michigan Plus America Pageants board chair Darlene Williams crowns Brown.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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FARMINGTON HILLS — Jade Williams, 21, of Oak Park, is used to being told “no” because of her epilepsy. She’s also used to surpassing people’s expectations.


Williams, a college scholarship recipient and self-taught musician, is a 2015 Miss Plus America Pageant contestant in the Miss division, and she wants to reach others through her platform of excelling regardless of what others think.


“I really want people to know just because you are epileptic you can do certain things,” she said.


The Atlanta-based nonprofit organization Miss Plus America Pageant is for plus-size women and teens ages 13 and older, and sizes 14W and up.


The Miss Plus America finals will be July 27-Aug. 2 in Atlanta.


Williams and Amelia Mimi Brown, of the Ms. division, are representing Michigan.


Williams said she joined the pageant last year when her mother became the Michigan pageant director.


“At first I didn’t want to do it. Then I got more involved (and) I started loving it,” Williams said.


In mid-May, Williams won a spot in the pageant finals after competing in the semifinals.


During a July 2 special City Council event, Williams and Brown, of Farmington Hills, were recognized by Mayor Barry Brickner through a proclamation. Brown was also crowned that day after being selected to represent because no one competed in her division. 


“I am proud to represent our state as Ms. Michigan, as it … allows me to bring awareness to my dual platform, Speak From The Heart, promoting awareness of heart disease in women, and Saving Our Youth, a youth leadership program focused on improving confidence and public speaking skills in youth,” Brown said in an emailed statement.


Brown said the experience of being crowned was “awesome.”


“I was really excited and enthusiastic,” she said. “I had quite a few family and friends to support me. It was neat to chat with (Brickner).”


She said that Brickner told her the city has a “history of beauty queens.”


“Some were in Miss America and Miss Michigan USA — that was great to know there is beauty throughout Farmington Hills,” she said.


Williams, who has had epilepsy since she was about 2 years old, said her platform encompasses the Epilepsy Foundation Program.


“My hope is to talk to people who have epilepsy and deal with being plus size,” she said. “You can be who you are even if you have epilepsy. Certain people think if you are plus size you can’t run, jump, do anything; and even if you have eplisley you can’t do everything — that is not true.”


Williams said that when she was 9 years old, she was told that she couldn’t be in the band because of her epilepsy.


“They told me I couldn’t read the music and play an instrument at the same time,” Williams said.


By the age of 10, Williams was a self-taught musician and has been playing the clarinet and bass clarinet for 10 years.


People also tried to tell her that she couldn’t go to high school, but she had an 11th-grade education in ninth grade.


“I kept going and going,” she said.


Her going got her accepted into a college in North Carolina through a marching band scholarship.


Williams said she feels pretty good about the pageant finals.


“I’m not nervous,” she said. “I’m just going to go in there and rock it. If I leave out of there and say I did my best, I will be happy with or without the crown.”


Brown said the pageant will help her further promote her platform, which she chose because of a loved one’s heart disease-related death.

“(It) changed our lives forever,” Brown said in an email. “It’s vital to educate women about this deadly disease.”


Brown, a leadership development consultant, professional speaker, trainer and TV personality, said she is looking forward to competing in the upcoming pageant.


“I’m just honored to represent the state of Michigan for Miss Plus America pageant,” she said.


Williams’ mother, Andrea Williams, said the pageant was started 14 years ago by a woman who wanted a pageant for plus-size women.


The pageant’s categories are teen, 13-17 years old; Miss, 18-29 years old; Ms., 30 years old and up or married; and Mrs., married or over 18 years old.


Andrea Williams said that although there was no one in Brown’s division, she still wanted to compete and “had a desire.”


“They both have this desire to spread and get more education and information out into the public through those platforms,” she said.


Andrea Williams added that she wants all women to know that regardless of their size, color or creed, “you are enough.”


“What you do, you are still enough, and I think we need that in this day and time because a lot of people are trying to be someone, and that person is already taken, so might as well be the best you you can be,” Andrea Williams said.


For more information, go to www.missplusamerica.com or missmichiganplusamericapageant.webs.com.

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