Faces of Awareness


Becky Ringen
Miss Minnesota 2006

As author Marianne Williamson said, “In every community there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart there is the power to do it.â€

In other words, don’t just sit there, go out and make a difference.

That’s exactly the mission of Minnesota International Pageants, home to the Mrs., Miss, and Miss Teen Minnesota Pageants. Making a difference has been the platform-based pageant system’s mission for the past two decades, and in 2008, they will celebrate their 20th anniversary through a special partnership with the American Heart Association.

Danielle Epps
Miss Minnesota 2007

“As a pageant system, we celebrate the beauty and accomplishments of Minnesota women,†explains Allison Stavrakis, state director of Minnesota International Pageants. “To celebrate our 20 years of making a difference, we are joining together to keep women healthy and free of heart disease–something we all care about very deeply.â€

On the surface, the International Pageant System and American Heart Association might seem like unlikely partners, but at their core the two organizations share many of the same values. They both promote healthy living; they both work to empower women through information and education; and they both strive to make a positive difference.

Sarah Wall
Miss Minnesota 2005
Miss International 2005

Minnesota International Pageants are different from other pageants in that they are platform-based. What this means, Ringen says, is that each titleholder (Mrs, Miss, and Miss Teen Minnesota) spends her year promoting an issue close to her heart through education, prevention, and advocacy. In addition, the International Pageant System as a whole chooses to support a local cause. In the past they’ve focused their efforts and attention on Goodwill Easter Seals. This year, they’re shifting that focus to the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement. (They will still be involved–on some level–with Goodwill Easter Seals.)

The partnership will bring together the best of both worlds. Local pageant contestants and titleholders will be visible advocates for Go Red For Women, sharing the message with more women in more places, and in turn, the association will highlight the community aspect of all three pageants.

“We are very excited at the American Heart Association,†says Becky Ringen, Miss Minnesota 2006 and the new corporate events director for the American Heart Association’s Twin Cities office. “The unique position and passion of the International Pageants System’s titleholders will help us spread the word and raise awareness about heart health.â€â€‰n

Miss Minnesota photos by Paula Preston