Beauty pageants have long been seen as being amazing platforms for identifying and rewarding the most beautiful, skilled and gifted women around the world.
However, these pageants have unfortunately also lead to many girls having a false perception of what it means to be [truly] beautiful.
On the 19th of February 2017 an amazing thing happened that will hopefully help in the plight to forever change the way the world perceives real beauty. Justine Clarke, a beautiful 26-year-old woman from Australia officially became the first wheelchair-bound Australian beauty pageant contestant ever when she competed in the Miss World Australia [beauty] pageant, showing the world that real beauty does not mean being unrealistically flawless.
Christopher Luu (Refinery 29) also stated that "Clarke was the very first person in a wheelchair to ever make it to this level of competition. To put that into perspective, the Miss America pageant has been around for almost a century and has never had a contestant with a disability." Wow, the fact that some beauty pageants (outside of Miss World) have been around for so long and have never before had a differently abled contestant, makes this occurrence a truly unique and historic occasion!
Unfortunately Miss Clarke did not progress to the next round of the competition at the conclusion of the pageant; however, this does not mean that the finals are out of reach for her.
According to Luu, "Thanks to an initiative called Beauty With A Purpose, Clarke can still compete in the final round. All she has to do is raise money for children's charities. The contestant who collects the most money will land in the finals."
In an interview conducted with Matt Gilbertson of The Advertiser, Clarke made a statement that "For somebody in a wheelchair to be able to compete is a big thing. I really hope it sends a message that no matter what your race, size or disability - whatever makes you different - you are beautiful."
In the same article (mentioned above), we can read how the beauty who has been confined to a wheelchair answered a question on what happened to her (that caused her circumstances) by simply stating the following: "I don't really want to go in to what happened but I want to be a role model and empower young women". The answer she gave shows me that she does not wish to dwell on negative things in life but rather on things of a more positive nature, which makes her a truly inspiring person indeed.