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Challenging Stereotypes Of Beauty - Dania Denise Is Showing That You Don't Need To Be Tall To Win A Crown

Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes!  It’s crazy that lack of height somehow contributes to lack of beauty.  That’s the age old stereotype they at USA Petite Miss are here to break down. Consider this Miss America crowned their first beauty queen in 1921 and she was 5’1″, after that there have only been five petite queens throughout the pageants history.  That’s crazy! Exactly, why the USA Petite System was created for petite women 5’6″ and under.  And over hundred thousand petite women have joined the petite fashion movement!

The USA Petite Pageant was founded in 2009 by Hazely Corp. The areas of competition include swimsuit, evening gown, judge interview, and on-stage question.

Here are the current titleholders : 

- Teen Ambassador Petite 2017: Codie Kramer
- USA Petite Teen 2017: Angelika Gonzalez
- USA Petite Miss 2017: Jenna Kienbaum
- USA Petite Ms. 2017: Neisha Molina
- USA Petite Mrs. 2017: Leah Jensen

The USA Petite system has been around for several years but does not have official state prelims in all 50 states. The beautiful Dania Denise, who won the crown of USA Petite Ms in 2015, is committed to changing that, starting with her home state of California and establishing the California Petite competition - "After being crowned USA Petite Ms. 2015, I fell in love with the USA Petite system. The fact that this system exists is the reason I was able to continue pursuing pageantry in my 30s and gave me a renewed sense of purpose. I knew I wanted to bring those same opportunities and platforms to other women who are not only older and have “aged out” a long time ago in the other systems but that happen to be shorter than most pageants would care to represent" - she explained.

Petite women have always been overlooked in many aspects and Dania knows that by growing the USA Petite system and implementing State Preliminaries in all 50 states is what it will take for petite women of all shapes, sizes and ages to have their shot in the pageantry spotlight."It is because of the need for this demographic to be properly represented that I wouldn’t consider becoming a director in the Miss USA system or any other system at this time. I’m exactly where I belong and where I’m needed and it feels great!"

 I had the opportunity to interview Dania on her pageant experience as a titleholder and director. Lets know a little more about this beautiful and inspiring woman through this interview!


You are the state director of the USA Petite System in California, what does it entail ?

As the State Director for the California Petite Pageant, this State Preliminary is specifically for Teen, Miss, Ms. and Mrs. contestants who are 5’6” in bare feet or shorter. It is my responsibility to run the pageant from marketing and recruiting to selecting contestants, running the orientation and overseeing the competition weekend and emceeing the finale stage show. I also have a co-director who is my right hand and will be running things behind the scenes while I am on stage emceeing the pageant on-stage.

The areas of competition consist of Interview, Swimsuit for Teen, Miss and Ms. divisions (we have Fun Fashion for the Mrs. contestants), Evening Gown and On-Stage Question. There is no Talent portion.The winners in each division go on to compete at the USA Petite national pageant in Florida. The USA Petite Teen and Miss winners go on to compete at the international level, the Universal Petite Pageant, which takes place on a cruise that goes to the Caribbean and Mexico. The USA Petite Ms. and Mrs. winners do not compete at the international level but get to go on the Universal Petite cruise for free to support their sister queens.

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Social media seem to play a major role in pageantry nowadays. Do you think this is advantageous to your organization? Why or why not? 

Absolutely! The only way people know who you are and what you are doing is to be on their radar. Not only does social media allow for the standard marketing and promotional methods to get my pageant message out to the masses, it has given me the chance to connect and stay in touch with my USA Petite family, my sister queens and those interested in supporting this system.Additionally, I love doing short videos to educate and inform the general public about pageants, debunk the negative stereotypes and explain how the industry works. Reaching those groups would be next to impossible if it weren’t for the social media sites we enjoy and use as a part of our daily lives.

Did you face any moment of disappointment with yourself during the pageant journey, and how did you overcome it?

I didn’t face any disappointment with myself during my pageant journey but I do regret not trying to get back into pageants sooner. I had automatically assumed after I aged out at 26 that there was no pageant system that would want me so I didn’t follow my gut and ignored the pageant bug I had inside. I believe in the saying, “Better late than never,” but can only imagine how much more I could have done in my pageant career if I had sought out a system like USA Petite sooner.

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We’ve all seen the stereotypical portrayals of pageant contestants, a la Miss Congeniality, spreading peace, love and beauty throughout the world. How do you think your organization will make a difference ?

Because California Petite and USA Petite is a system focused on shorter women and divisions that reflect “real” women (i.e. contestants in the Ms. division are age 24-40 and are allowed to have kids but can’t be married, and our Mrs. division for contestants 30+), we automatically make a difference based on those factors alone.

For all the young ladies and women out there that have always thought, “What if?” when it comes to doing pageants, we are here to say, “Why not?”

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What would you advise any young girl out there who has a dream of being a queen one day?

Make sure you want to do pageants for the right reasons. Find a pageant system that truly fits you and represents the same ideals you have. Whether the pageant is large or small, take the leap with both feet and enjoy every part of the experience. Even if you do not win, that doesn’t reflect on who you are as a person. You can be a queen in any aspect of life, not just in pageants. We all carry an invisible crown and that requires you to keep your chin up or the crown will slip.

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Who is your ideal beauty queen ?

I don’t have a specific individual I can name but I do know that the traits I feel an ideal beauty queen should possess include being relatable, personable and matches what is on paper. Being genuine is key in my book. No one likes to admire and idolize someone, only to find out they are anything except who they portray themselves to be.

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