Join in the pageantry
Now in its third year, Yokota Air Base’s Sakura Scholarship Pageant is organized by a private group to celebrate military and civilian spouse contributions to support the mission in Japan and provide educational scholarships to the winners and runners’ up. Slated this year for March 28, we asked the pageant director, Angie Johnson, to tell us what it’s all about.
Q: How can people enter the pageant?
A: Registration for the 2015 Sakura Scholarship Pageants began in January and runs through Feb. 27. There are only 20 spots available for each category, so it’s important to register early. Join with a friend and grow together. The New website is www.mrssakuraorganization.com. The group can also be found on Facebook at “The Mrs. Sakura Organization,” or you can email MrsSakuraOrganization@gmail.com.
Q: Who is eligible?
A: The Mrs. Sakura category includes any married woman in the Kanto Plains that has SOFA status. … The Ms. Sakura category includes all unmarried women. If she has never been married or is no longer married but is attached to this base or another here in the region, she qualifies. The Miss Teen Sakura category includes all high school girls with SOFA status, and the Cherry Blossom Princess category includes all girls age 10-14, as long as they have a base ID and/or are eligible to live or attend school on a base in the Kanto Plain.
Q: So, is this just another beauty contest?
A: No! This is not like the Miss America or Miss Universe pageants that are broadcast on national TV every year. There is NO swimsuit competition. There is NO talent competition (except for the teens and blossoms). And you don’t need to be a model or a stereotypical beauty queen to win. This is a grassroots competition that is run by military members, DOD and spouses for military members, DOD, spouses and family members.
We appreciate all that these ladies do every day in their community here on base and in the surrounding areas. It’s tough being away from family and friends in the States, but they make sure the mission is accomplished, nonetheless. They work hard, but this is their chance to take a break and get some much deserved adoration from the audience. We lift each other up and encourage everyone to step outside their comfort zone and accomplish new things. This pageant is more like a family joining talents to create an entertaining show. And it should be on every Yokota woman’s bucket list!
Q: What are the pageant categories?
A1: Competition categories for Mrs./Ms. Sakura include:
- Interview: This is similar to a job interview where contestants sit with the judges in a panel interview setting and discuss their qualifications and why they would like to represent Yokota and the Kanto Plain as Mrs./Ms. Sakura.
- Fitness: Not just working out at the gym, but includes how women stay mentally and emotionally fit. For this category, each contestant will select one outfit that best represents how they stay fit, modeling it while the MCs discuss their numerous activities.
- Evening Gown: who doesn’t love to get dressed up every now and then? This category allows all our ladies to pick a gown in which they feel good and model it, (the married contestants even get an assist from their husbands), all with the pomp and circumstance of an Honor Guard sword cordon.
- On Stage Question: The top competitors will get the chance to show how well they can think on their feet by answering a randomly selected question.
- Contestants have a chance to win additional prizes and gain points toward the ultimate goal by community service, volunteerism, and helping out with putting on the pageant.
A2: The Miss Teen Sakura Pageant includes interview, talent, evening gown and on-stage question as well, with bonus points for good grades and volunteerism.
A3: Cherry Blossom Princess categories include top model, talent, on-stage question and party dress.
Q: What are some of the highlights of the event?
A: There are many exciting things during the pageant like the opening number when all the contestants perform a dance routine and then introduce themselves, and the first look at the ladies with their husbands as they walk through the sword cordon, and all the entertaining acts that allow the ladies time to get changed backstage. But the highlight is the announcement of all the winners, including the Audience Choice award. During the pageant, audience members are given the opportunity to vote on their favorites with their dollars and cents. The winner may not be the same as the one selected by the judges, but it gives the audience a real sense of ownership in the results.
Q: What is the biggest challenge to being a contestant?
A: The most challenging part about being a contestant in the pageant is probably making the decision to do so. Once the decision is made, there is immense support for all the contestants. The ladies get to participate in a pageant workshop on Feb. 28 during which time they will get tips and pointers, and they will get to know their fellow contestants. Also, the contestants will meet the Mrs. Sakura Organization board members, pageant director and committee members who are all there to help them stretch to meet new goals. Pageant rehearsals start on March 16 and continue through dress rehearsal on the 27th. These practices will get all the contestants ready for the big day and will help them shine.