Senior Pageant Queens Show The True Beauty That Comes With Age

The pageants are really not about looks.
Two contestants work on their hair and makeup backstage. 
Two contestants work on their hair and makeup backstage. 

For the older ladies of Ms. Senior Arizona, pageants are about so much more than just a silly tiara. For the last 27 years, the state pageant has been a place where older women go to make friendships rather than to cut off the competition.

"They build a relationship with all the ladies," executive director Herme Sherry told The Huffington Post. "You come away with a whole new group of friends and gain so much confidence."

There are no questions about solutions for world peace or swimsuit competitions. The women instead model evening gowns, show off their talents -- whether it's tap dancing, yodeling or performing a monologue -- and most importantly, sum up their life philosophy.

The women must be over 60 to participate, and they've had contestants well into their 90s. 

"So many of them have raised families, had careers, and gone through all kinds of things," Sherry, a former pageant winner herself, says. "They are so excited about doing something for themselves now, because they've spent their lives doing things for others." She says many women get help developing their talents and go on to perform at local senior centers. The proceeds from the event ticket sales go to a charity that supports survivors of domestic violence.

The winner gets the honor of representing Arizona in the national competition, Ms. Senior America, later this year. The Ms. Senior America pageants have been around since 1971, the brainchild of a classically trained singer named Dr. Al Mott.

But what makes the women in these pageants so beautiful isn't really about looks at all. 

"They know what life's about and they have wonderful souls," Sherry says. "And they are so excited about doing something new." 

Check out some photos of the beautiful contestants from this year's pageant below. 





Ms. Senior America Portraits Inspire Us To Age Fabulously