by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—Morgan Roberts of Sugar Grove had to think long and hard about whether or not she wanted to enter the Miss Plus America pageant. She knew it was a big-time commitment for a 19-year-old who is employed and currently attending Waubonsee Community College.
She entered the pageant anyway, and on May 6 earned the title of Miss Illinois Plus America 2012.
Not bad for a girl’s first pageant competition.
Roberts, a 2011 Kaneland High School graduate, said she first heard about the Miss Plus America pageant last year. The organization was founded by Melissa Stamper in 2002.
“(Miss Plus America) is a fantastic organization for woman who are a size 14 and up. Melissa’s goal is to show that everyone is beautiful regardless of their clothing size,” Roberts said. “In order to compete at a national level, you must first win at your state pageant.”
The victory earned Roberts a trip to the national pageant in Memphis, Tenn., in late June. She said her goal at that point was to make the top 15 in the competition.
She made the top 15 all right, securing the second runner-up spot in her division.
“ It was such an honor to represent Illinois at nationals … my goal was to make top 15, so the fact that I got second runner-up in the competition was awesome,” she said. “I am new at this, and for many of the girls, this was not their first year competing.”
Roberts platform during the Miss Plus America pageant was the American Cancer Society—a cause very close to her heart.
“I chose this charity because I lost both my grandmothers to cancer, and my mom was also diagnoised with cancer in August of last year,” Roberts said. “I want to help those with cancer. Even though my mom is now moving on from having had cancer, I want to help other cancer patients and their families. Cancer does not just affect the patient; it affects the entire family.”
Despite her immediate success in the beauty pageant field, Roberts said she’s unsure if she’ll enter any future competitions. Her focus right now is to complete a Bachelor of Arts degree in special education. Roberts said she doesn’t have much free time these days, but when she does, she enjoys doing Zumba and watching anything on TLC.
Despite her busy schedule, Roberts has some advice for all girls, including those who want to enter beauty pageants.
“My advice to girls everywhere is (that) you are beautiful. A lesson that I have had to learn is that confidence, just as beauty, is not something that you can buy; it comes from within,” Roberts said. “My hope is that I can be a role model to other girls who have struggled with their body image, and along the way bring about more awareness for cancer research.”