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Teen beauty pageant contestant to represent NOLA

20th November 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Tyra Johnson
Contributing Writer

Every little girl’s dream is to be a princess. The long sparkly gown, silk gloves to match, and an embellished tiara that could make onlookers go blind is an image girls all over the world envision. This dream is reality for Beautiful Lawson, the New Orleans City Queen for the National All-American Miss Teen Pageant. She will be representing the Big Easy in Anaheim, Calif. from Nov. 21-26 by competing in the Teen division of the nationwide pageant.

Lawson is a 17-year-old graduating senior at St. Mary’s Academy. She said her career as a pageant queen began just this year, in the summer of 2017. Her first pageant, the National American Miss Louisiana, which took place in June, is when Lawson showcased her acting skills, she said. Lawson said her talents qualified her to advance to the National All-American Miss Teen pageant where she will be the voice and face of New Orleans.



“Being able to represent the city where my actual heart is, is pretty cool,” Lawson said. From a supportive family to unforgettable memories, she explained how a large portion of her life lies in New Orleans. Her family and a clear mind are important factors in her pageant career, she said, and it is how she releases negativity to help her focus on the bigger picture.

“I started off as a little girl who was depressed and sad,” she said, “Then I talked to my family who said I can do anything I want as long as I put my mind to it.”

Rhonda Lawson, Lawson’s mother and retired Army Master Sergeant, said before moving back to New Orleans from Belgium, Lawson’s depression stemmed from her environment. Her daughter’s depression greatly affected the way her daughter socialized with her friends, performed in school, and perceived herself, Rhonda Lawson said. She said she would take pictures of her daughter and believes her interest in photography has helped Lawson blossom into the person she is today.

“I would go out and take photos of her and she’d actually get to see what everybody else saw,” Rhonda Lawson said.

She now leads a more outgoing life as a volunteer in the city working on hurricane relief and helping to feed the homeless with her school and church. Starting the pageant scene during the low point of Lawson’s life was the perfect way to begin a new chapter, her mother said, and participating in pageants helped build her daughter’s confidence. But, Lawson said she does not see herself competing in pageants in the future.

“My future goal is acting based. Being in this pageant is a great start off to being an actress,” Lawson said. She said her inspiration is former Disney Channel star, China Anne McClain and Golden Globe award-winning actress Taraji P. Henson, the star in FOX’s series “Empire.” Lawson said she hopes to be as influential as those two strong Black women.

To build her acting career, Lawson performs in plays directed by Trinese Duplessis, who is a director, producer, and founder of T. Duplessis Entertainment. Duplessis said she has been working with Lawson since October 2016. She said she has seen tremendous growth in Lawson’s confidence when it comes to acting.

“She has great potential to do even better in who else casts her in future productions,” Duplessis said.

This article originally published in the November 20, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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