As pageant and contest season comes around to Second Life, two big factors that will play an important role to most entrants are uniqueness and diversity. Finding a pageant that has both can be a bit hard to come by. Since its birth, Colour of Couture Top Model pageant has cause much buzz around the SL grid. I have decided to sit down with the brain child behind the pageant, Reign Congrejo, to get answers to a some of the controversial questions about Colour of Couture.
Shelby Mayfield: Why Colour ofCouture?
Reign Congrejo: Colour of Couture came to be to represent all of the women of color whom otherwise would never be recognized. I want everyone to understand that women of color come in all shapes, sizes and color. Whether light, medium or darker colours we are all women and should have the same opportunity as anyone else. These women are very unique in nature and should be built up as they are beautiful, witty and most definitely smart. They deserve their day and this is why “Colour of Couture”
SM: What do you hope to accomplish from this contest?
RC: I want to bring awareness to women of color. We work in different industries yet sometimes go unseen. Here in Second Life I want to bring them into the mainstream of fashion as well as charitable works that they have been doing for centuries, just never recognized for their public works.
SM: Who Is Miss Colour of Couture? What is it that yo uare looking for to represent your pageant?
RC: Miss Colour of Couture will be that woman who can represent the celebrated diversity of models in SL. Unique in appearance and styling. Miss Colour of Couture will be a combination of grace and elegance and have a commanding presence on the runway. Miss Colour of Couture will be a welcomed ambassador to the fashion world with a care and ambition to help others.
SM: What will be expected from the winner? How will the winner engage with the SL Community?
RC: Miss Colour of Couture is expected to hold the highest of standards as a model in the fashion industry as well as in any other community. She will represent at all times as a woman of colour and will be responsible for the education on awareness of minority issues that exist behind not only being a woman of color but also just being a woman. She will work forthe International Women of Colour day to bring more awareness to this day and what it stands for. Miss Colour of Couture will work with different charitable organizations that represent such things as women in poverty, women in war, etc. She will be an ambassador in Second life to speak on the relevant issues that many women do not have a voice in.
SM: Tell us more about your RL Sponsor, and how it intertwines with the pageant.
RC: The National Institute for Women of Color (NIWC) was established to build a strong national network for women of African, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian, Hispanic, Latina and Pacific Island heritages and to advance the issuesof Women of Color. In 1988, Suzanne Brooks, then Affirmative Action Officer of Penn State University, began developing a group of practices and traditions to be used when Women of Color Day is commemorated. Ethnic dress, for example, is a characteristic tradition at Women of Color Day events, as are awards presented to “Outstanding Women of Color.”
RC: Of course, one need not be a woman of color to have the spirit of women of color, which includes a willingness to cooperate and collaborate, a love of culture and the desire to honor women of color for their contributions and achievements.
RC: This will intertwine with our pageant as Ms. Brooks believes heavily in the empowerment of women of colour and wants to show her personal as well as business support in thisventure. This is not the only RL supporter as we have two more that will be joining us for the competition in 2013; one company holds a woman of color pageant yearly in the northern states and wants to simultaneously run the pageants together for more unity, the other company is one that puts on high end fashion shows around the world using women of color so please stay tuned.
SM: Though there are only a few competitions specifically targeted to female avatars of color, what do you think makes this contest stand out from the rest?
RC: The difference is color lines exceeds being of AfricanAmerican decent as well as you not having to be a woman of color who sit sbehind the screen, you just have to show your interest in helping to bring awareness to these women and their fight for different causes that wouldotherwise go left un-noticed. We are the first competition of this magnitude to have sponsorship from a RL company, which means there is a need to spread the word through more than just emails, phone calls, and advertisements. Using SL is an entry to bringing information to many women all over the world.
SM: There has been much controversy with some who think that allowing avatars that are not from an African American background in RL, or who do not represent a black avatar 100% of the time on SL is unfair, and does not truly represent women of color. What response do you have to those who feel like this?
RC: Women of color are not just based on African American women, but the uniqueness of many women of color from around the world. All of the women in Miss Colour of Coutur eare women of color: Asia, Philippines, Samoa, Italy, South Africa just to name a few. Color comes in many different shades and this pageant is to bring awareness to many that there are others out there that do represent this class of women. I come from a latin heritage and therefore this makes me a woman of color. Because your skin is light does this omit you from being a woman of color? Absolutely not. Many albinos ar eactually people of color depending on where their origin is. Women of colo r= any race other than Anglo Saxon. I think the definition states it all.
If you wish to keep up with the pageant, please visit thepageants blog here: http://colourofcouture.wordpress.com/
Flickr Pool: http://www.flickr.com/groups/colourofcouture/pool/
RL Sponsor Website: http://www.womenofcolorday.com/