by MIKE CHAIKEN
Susan Pagan is gearing up for June when the Connecticut resident competes for the title of Mrs. USA Woman of the Universe in Las Vegas.
Pagan, a style and fashion consultant with My Strongest Suit, first entered the world of pageantry in her 20s. Pagan saw pageants as the gateway to a career in modeling. To that end, she entered some modeling pageants as well as Miss Connecticut USA.
Pagan’s first pageant title was Mrs. Connecticut International 1995.
“I absolutely love all of the preparations for competing,” said Pagan of the world of pageants. “Getting wardrobe sorted out, making appearances as I’m working for my platform, and the final stage presentation is the best feeling in the world.”
Different pageants have different phases of competition. Pagan said, “I love the final stage presentation or show. All the excitement anticipation and just being on stage makes me feel alive.”
Pagan, a Brookfield, Conn. resident, said she loves International pageants the best. They’re fun, she said, because she has a chance to get to know and meet women from around the world. Plus, she said it’s fun to travel to the different locations for the competitions
The pageant universe has been changing lately. The most notable change has been the Miss America Organization’s decision to eliminate the swimsuit phase of competition.
“I am not a fan of eliminating any portion of the competition because I believe that all portions are important,” said Pagan.
Swimsuit, in particular, “gives women the opportunity to showcase their confidence on stage perhaps in a less-than-comfortable situation for some.”
Pagan added, “Swimsuit also gives the opportunity to (show) the hard work that you’ve put into (preparing) for the pageant.”
“It gives women the sense of accomplishment.”
Next on Pagan’s agenda is the Mrs. Woman of the Universe, which is in its second year. It’s the sister pageant of Mrs. Universe LTD.”
“I love this organization because it partners with Transcontinental Pageants, which is near and dear to my heart since I am the assistant director, international ambassador for, and the inaugural title holder of Mrs. Transcontinental 2016,” said Pagan.
“In this particular pageant, Woman of the Universe,” Pagan said, “there is no personal one-on-one interview but instead (we make) a forum presentation.”
“The forum theme is no longer than three minutes and you must give a public presentation to the remaining delegates as well as all of the judges on women’s rights in the country you represent,” said Pagan. “It ties in with domestic violence issues.”
“My presentation will bring in my personal platform of homelessness and those living in compromised living conditions,” said Pagan. “As I travel the world, I meet many women, children, and men… who are living in unsafe conditions.”
“I will draw on the emotional abuse women suffer,” said Pagan. “It is every human being’s right to feel loved and a sense of belonging.”
In addition to the forum presentation, Pagan said Mrs. Woman of the Universe has national costume and evening gown phases of competition. There is no swimwear portion of the pageant, she said. But Pagan has been asked to bring a suit for a pageant organized photo shoot.