Nashua native starts ‘inner beauty’ pageant
By KELLY McGRATH Staff Writer
When watching pageants on television, outer beauty is the one thing people seem to notice: the tall heels, the toned stomachs and the expensive gowns.
But not all beautiful women fit into that category. Some wear larger sizes, a few would rather wear sneakers and many prefer to spend their money on things other than a $1,000 dress. These beautiful women have stories to tell, experiences they’ve overcome, love they’ve displayed and risks they’ve taken. They possess an inner beauty that goes unrecognized all too often.
But in September, two people decided it was time to introduce the world to these incredible women. Together, they created the world’s first online inner beauty pageant, which is ongoing and open to anyone in the United States.
“Women deserve to be recognized and valued for qualities like courage and love, friendship and risk-taking,” said Paula Davis, one of the co-founders of the online pageant, who believes women are too often judged solely on their appearance rather than who they are inside.
Davis, a Nashua native who now lives in Massachusetts, and Andrea Weinstein, a Wall Street lawyer in New York City, co-produced the world’s first inner beauty pageant on their recently launched Web site. The two met 10 years ago, and despite living in different states, they joined forces to create CommitmentNow.com, a Web site designed to empower women.
“We thought it would be important to create a site where it wouldn’t just be the latest diet fad or what celebrities were doing,” Davis said. “This Web site gives people a place where they can express themselves and get information that can actually help.”
Weinstein used the example of a stay-at-home mother who is interested in reading, music and running a business from home.
“She can find all that information and more on the one single site,” she said.
The site contains different sections, including Relationships, Life Stages, Living a Creative Life, Family Love, Fun and Money. Various authors showcase their advice, based on their expertise, under the different areas.
Under the Relationships tab, there is a feature article titled “Getting Past Your Painful Breakup.” In this story, Susan J. Elliott, author of “Getting Past Your Breakup,” provides advice in a question-and-answer format.
For example, CommitmentNow.com asks: What are the best five pieces of advice you can offer to those who feel they will never get over the person who has left them?
Elliott provides five tips, including: focus on you, grieve, do things for yourself, the person who left you is not “the one” because “the one” wouldn’t leave you and get involved in new things.
Under the Family Love tab, there is a feature titled “Parenting a Teen – Without Having a Nervous Breakdown.” In this article, author Beth Harpaz, of “13 is the New 18,” answers questions, including: What is it about age 13 that makes otherwise normal children turn into selfish, Facebook-addicted adolescents?
Harpaz responds by explaining her thoughts on how it is psychological.
“It’s hormones and the fact that their brains haven’t developed the part that allows them to think five minutes beyond the present moment,” she writes.
Harpaz also states that brain function doesn’t develop fully until the age of 21.
Most of the site is interactive. There are message boards where people can post and answer various questions and under each section, and there are places visitors are asked how they handled different situations in their own lives.
But one of the most interactive sections of CommitmentNow.com is the online inner beauty pageant application. The pageant is ongoing for at least another four months and is open to women from across the country.
“You can be 18 or 62, it’s all about who you are and how you live your life,” Davis said.
Along with the applicant’s name, age and occupancy, the online application asks 12 questions, including a strength shown, an act of goodness and something survived. The co-founders said they’ve already seen a large response from women with interesting stories to share.
“Some have focused on something they’ve overcome, while others talk more about family life,” Weinstein said. “One woman talked about helping a friend through an illness.”
Davis and Weinstein said they are still looking into putting together a panel of judges to select the winners. The announcement on what prize the winners will receive should be revealed in the upcoming weeks. A winner will be chosen from each state based on their answers to various questions; their physical appearance will be unknown.
“There are a lot of interesting women with really interesting stories, and we want to give them a chance to be heard,” Weinstein said.
Anyone interested in applying for the online inner beauty pageant can fill out an application by visiting www.commitmentnow.com/home/inner-beauty-pageant.
- The Nashau Telegraph, Friday, November 27, 2009 http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/living/lifestyles/454119-224/nashua-native-starts-inner-beauty-pageant.html?fbc_channel=1#%7B%22id%22%3A0%2C%22sc%22%3A%22http%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fxd_receiver_v0.4.php%22%2C%22sf%22%3A%22loginStatus%22%2C%22sr%22%3A2%2C%22h%22%3A%22loginServer%22%2C%22sid%22%3A%220.100%22%2C%22t%22%3A0%7D%5B0%2C%22loginStatus%22%2C%22InitLogin%22%2C%7B%22session%22%3Anull%2C%22settings%22%3A%7B%22feedStorySettings%22%3A%7B%22one_line%22%3A3%2C%22short%22%3A3%7D%2C%22inFacebook%22%3Afalse%2C%22locale%22%3A%22en_US%22%7D%2C%22connectState%22%3A3%2C%22baseDomain%22%3A%22nashuatelegraph.com%22%2C%22publicSessionData%22%3Anull%7D%2Cfalse%5D