The head that wears the crown: Ardmore resident crowned International Ms. Tourism 2022
Late last month beauty queens from across the nation flocked to Pigeon Forge, Tenn. to compete in the Worlds Miss Tourism pageant. The pageant holds competitions for women and girls in a wide range of age categories ranging from children all the way up to women in their 70s and 80s, and Ardmore resident Michelle Douglas was in attendance to compete for the title of Worlds Ms. Tourism 2022.
Douglas received first runner-up to Worlds Ms. Tourism and instead received the title of International Ms. Tourism 2022. She also came home with the titles of Worlds Ms. Tourism Fashion Model, Ms. Tourism Photogenic and Ms. Congeniality.
But Douglas said the best part of the entire experience was all of the new friends she made along the way.
“I met so many wonderful women, and I cannot stress enough how amazing they all were,” Douglas said. “We were all there for a common goal, but we were also all supportive, uplifting and encouraging. We cheered each other on no matter what.”
For example, during the talent competition, a vocalist forgot her words and began crying after leaving the stage.
“As soon as she got backstage she started crying,” Douglas said. “I was up out of my seat immediately, and a contestant from Delaware and I were there to support her. We pointed out how great she was and the strength it took for her to make it through to the end. She was so discouraged that she wanted to leave, but with everyone's support she made it through the rest of the pageant.”
Douglas was also there to help any contestant with a minor wardrobe malfunction.
“My daughter and I compete in a lot of pageants, and I actually make a lot of our gowns,” she said. “So I've always got a sewing kit on me, and if I saw an undone hook or loose string, I was there to fix it.”
Douglas' helpful and supportive nature was recognized by the other contestants, and they voted her Ms. Congeniality. In fact, the only vote cast for another contestant was the one Douglas cast herself. She was chosen by everyone else.
“I was so surprised I was in tears when they called my name, and I was blown away that every single woman in the Ms. Category voted for me,” she said.
While she is proud of all of her titles, being named Ms. Tourism Fashion Model comes with a special perk.
"I've been invited to go to New York City to walk at Fashion Week in September," she said. "I don't know which designer I'm walking for yet, but there are seven of us from the pageant who are going. It's going to be like a reunion."
Douglas has set up a Facebook Page for International Ms. Tourism 2022 that includes more information and behind the scenes photos. She also encourages anyone interested in becoming involved in pageants to contact her there.
"My advice for anyone how wants to try out a pageant is to start small so you don't intimidate yourself," she said. "There are several local directors that do pageants in the area, and I'm happy to get anyone that information. Young and old, boys and girls, there is a pageant out there for anyone who would like to participate."