First Person: Crowning moment

Courtesy photo Kimberley Eaton-Parmenter of Clovis took home the Miss Plus America crown as the second-oldest contestant.

Clovis resident Kimberley Eaton-Parmenter, 46, won the title of the Ms. Plus America last week. The week-long Ms. Plus America competition awards titles for different categories based on age. Eaton-Parmenter, the second-oldest contestant, said she was shocked when she received the crown.

Pageant family: I’ve never been in a pageant myself, but I know what goes into them. My daughter was in pageants all her life. She was in her first pageant on her sixth birthday.

How it all began: After the Tiny Little Miss New Mexico pageant, which I run, I received an anonymous phone call. A woman told me she has seen me at the pageant, said I was well-spoken and comfortable on stage and said, “I think you’d do well with this,” and she told me about the Ms. Plus America competition. I wish I knew who it was so I could thank them.

First step: I wanted to do it, but I wanted to know it’s OK with the Lord. I prayed and within two days, all doors were opened. We were Dallas bound.

The trip: It was amazing. I made so many wonderful friends and made memories that will last a lifetime. I say it was a positively plus experience.

Fast paced: The competition was crazy. It was being filmed for TV and so everything had to be just so. They weren’t going to wait for anyone. There were times when I couldn’t tell what was going on. One time I got my earring on 30 seconds before they called my name. I’m hoping it wouldn’t fall out and I didn’t even know if my shoe was buckled.

The score: Fifty percent of the score is gathered in the interview. It’s not a beauty pageant. If you don’t do well in the interview you aren’t really going anywhere. They want well-spoken women who are committed to their platform. Ten percent of the score is based on how photogenic a candidate is, 20 percent on the evening gown competition and 20 percent on the cocktail pantsuit competition.

The world of pageantry: In the world of pageantry, anyone over size 6 are left behind. They say “You are beautiful but too large.”

The plus world of pageantry: It is such an honor to represent curvy women. Ms. Plus does not promote obesity. The women I met there, just like me, are large but healthy. We exercise. A plus size woman’s ability to make a difference in their community and the world is the same as anyone else’s.

Kimberley’s view: I’ve never had a problem with my self-esteem. I realize I’m a large person but I’m happy with myself and I want to be the best person I can be.