Diasporian News of 2014-07-22

Untold Stories Behind Miss Ghana USA: Part 4

I heard about the pageant through a friend, who suggested that I participate in the 2014 pageant. I sent in an application, and got chosen as a finalist. Upon being chosen as a finalist, I came across something alarming. A man claiming to be an e-board member (of which I have evidence via screenshot) had worked with one of the contestants in this year’s pageant. It immediately drew my attention because it contradicted one of the pageant’s rules advertised on their website (the same rule that convinced me to do this pageant in the first place): “You must be in excellent physical and mental health. Employees, officers, directors and agents of Miss Ghana USA and/or of any of their respective licensees, assigns, parents, affiliated and subsidiary companies and the immediate family (spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, son, regardless of where they live) or members of their same households (whether related or not) of such employees, officers, directors and agents are not eligible to be contestants in the Miss Ghana USA nor participate in this application process.” Questioning the fairness of the pageant, and how it was okay for an affiliate of the pageant to have working relations with a contestant, I contacted pageant director, Ellen Osei to ask her the extent of which their rules were being measured and ensured. Please be aware that I initially refrained from mentioning ANY names, as my intent was not to get anyone in trouble, but to make sure that everyone was being an equal opportunity to pursue to crown. Unable to give me a clear answer, she asked me what I was talking about, and then I explained. After the conference call, I took her word that the pageant was fair. Later on that evening, I received an email from the director, basically reiterating the bulk of our conversation, however, this time, portraying me as an aggressor...my inquiry was not by any means geared towards my fellow contestants at the time, but more towards the organization, and what they were falsely advertising on their website. She then concluded her email by saying. “'Another thing is that we want you to enter this pageant as a strong and confident individual, with a positive self-focus' ---as if every young girl who managed to make it as a finalist in this pageant isn't already confident and strong #justmythoughts. Anyway, back to her quote---'... This is what makes you a great and competitive contestant. If you do not feel secure, and that your chances at winning are fair…re-evaluate your participation in the pageant” I was very truly hurt by what the director of the pageant said to me. To basically call a young innocent girl insecure…that was mean, and a form of bullying in my opinion. Bullying is defined as: “to use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants”. Being a pageant director, vice president, and co-owner of Miss Ghana USA, Ellen Osei used the superiority of her age (given that she is much older than I am), and position to formally intimidate and belittle me. To belittle someone, to me, is uncalled for, classless, and unprofessional. I mean, I believe that the pageant director, Ellen, should know that much like every woman who has graced this earth, she is also uniquely beautiful; belittling a young girl and attempting to lower her self-esteem, will not make her any more or less physically beautiful. I actually respected her to some degree due to her founding Raising Hope, a charity organization, and her being an occupational therapist. However, after she said this to me in private, my viewpoint of her totally changed; I realized that her rude behavior in private totally contradicts the misleading act she puts on in public. However, it was no surprise to me, given that many people approached me, and personally warned me of how rude she really is. I asked the questions necessary for me to be the “best I can be”. What was more disappointing was how unprofessionally things were handled. I dropped the pageant, not because I thought I was better than everyone else, given that I even commended a 2014 participant in the email, but because of the unprofessionalism exhibited by the organizer. The tonality of her message is what drew me away. I believe that for an organization claiming to “empower young women”, the last thing an organizer, such as the vice president, director, and co-owner of a pageant should do, is hint that a young girl is insecure for asking questions that the organization could not answer. It is a complete insult to who I am, and how my parents have raised me. Nowadays, given the amount of girls that have fallen victim to bullying in our generation, young girls turn to hurting themselves and walk around with a low self esteem all because someone by the title of “pageant director” called her insecure. What happens to those poor innocent girls who take bullying close to heart? What if the poor young girl ended up hurting herself? Then what would’ve happened? I’ll leave that for you to conclude. Fortunately, rather than letting her mean brutal words bring me down, I used it as a reason to speak up against the injustices that this pageant has been committing. I am a strong girl who stands up against unfair and unequal treatment. I believe that the truth must come out. I responded to the pageant director by saying, “Another thing is that I have entered this pageant as a strong and confident individual, with a positive self-focus on being the best I can be. Had I felt otherwise, I would not have initially sought a position as a finalist. In focusing on myself, my efforts, time, and finances I am putting into my campaign, I was confirming that we, the contestants, were all starting off on a clean and leveled slate.” Ashamed of her immature choice of words in her reference to me as insecure, she then proceeded to make a poor unapologetic attempt to justify her rude unprofessional behavior by saying, “Our job as owners of this organization is to make sure that the integrity of our brand is protected…” Rather than apologizing, this woman had the audacity to justify her immature behavior under the name of protecting the brand, the image, and the look of the pageant. In other words, she, and the Miss Ghana USA organization cared more about making the pageant look good, rather than making the pageant actually and genuinely be good. For if it actually was good, she would have considered the fact that the contestants are the pageant, and that we the finalists, make the pageant. Therefore, for you, a pageant director, of which I am sure many young girls look up to, to call a young girl “not secure” if she does not participate in your pageant, is completely contradictory and opposite of your claims to “…provide an optimal experience for all our contestants as outlined in our mission.” If we were to define insecure as: “refusing to participate in the Miss Ghana USA Pageant”, then the whole world --our sisters, our daughters, our aunties, our grandmothers, and even our very own mothers would all be not secure for not participating in the Miss Ghana USA Pageant. To me, WE ARE ALL MISS GHANA USA. It is clear, that MGUSA’S “mission” is misleading and contradictory to what goes on behind closed doors…much like most of the things this pageant advertises (prizes, pageant houses, and even the infringed copyrighted images of models of whom they have never even seen, on their fliers). It is not just my particular case and scenario that saddens me, however it is the larger and more alarming case of corruption. The bright side is, this is happening in America, where justice prevails. Perhaps they have forgotten that we were all either born into, or raised in the American system; there are certain things that you simply cannot do. For instance, if a man of superior position such as Donald Sterling can get penalized for making an inappropriate comment of a major organization such as the NBA, why can’t an aspiring and self acclaimed “world class organization” such as Miss Ghana USA? These are people’s lives, money, time, efforts, and emotions we are talking about for crying out loud! I personally would NOT recommend that anyone, I mean, ANYONE, participate in this pageant. Honestly, think about it. Young women participate in the Miss Universe pageant because they are actually supported by the organization, and moreover, the owner, multi-millionaire Donald Trump. The winner actually has more to gain than the organizers and Donald Trump. Given the enormous amount of financial sponsors and value that the Miss Universe pageant and title has, the winner is truly empowered and given the best opportunity to fulfill her platform and what she represents. Trump, the owner, does not need the Miss Universe pageant to make a name for himself; he also does not need the pageant to build his reputation or resume because he is the Donald Trump. However, when you take a look at the Miss Ghana USA Pageant, you are dealing with an organization that does not have any significant credentials…I mean, unless the president and vice president would like to argue that they are on the same level as Donald Trump, or have intercontinental, “world class” status. So let me ask you a question: "If the people and organizers of this pageant do not really have that much money, and based off of this series (Untold Stories Behind Miss Ghana USA), their sponsors are not exactly financial sponsors, what money do these people really have? Don't get me wrong; nobody should ever do anything just for the money...young girls should rather focus on implementing their platform. But if Miss Ghana USA is inadequate to financially support you to implement your platform, what is the point of you really pursuing this title? Think about it. A crown and sash?...I can go to the Dollar Store toy section and get that on my own. Since they charge a strictly non-refundable $500 as an entry fee for every contestant, I would rather use that money to help myself pursue my platform through a different source, or simply pursue it on my own. What is the point of me giving it to these people who have such a profound history of false advertisement, and rule bending? Mathematically speaking, your chances of winning are already an average of 1/10 (given that there are 10 regions in Ghana for the contestants to represent); when you factor in their history of false advertisement, rule bending, and unfair private decisions of which they do not want the public to know, your chances of pursing this title and doing something profitable from it (that you cannot already do on your own), is more like slim to nothing. Like I said, to me, every young girl should know that she is beautiful, and secure. Yes, walk proudly with your head up high young African ladies! WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL. WE ARE ALL SECURE. WE ARE ALL MISS GHANA USA! Best, ClaudiaSource: 2014 Finalist
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