Milwaukie resident heads to America's Miss Pageant
Kervencia Limage's life right now is a blur.
She recently was named the United States of America's Miss Oregon and will compete in the national pageant in February in Las Vegas. At the same time, she is studying for a degree in psychology at Portland State University, working on getting certified as an esthetician and is a nutrition aide at Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center.
Limage, a 27-year-old Milwaukie resident who was born in Haiti, also founded an elementary school in Haiti with her sister. Education in that country is expensive, she noted, so she and her sister started a free school for 45 low-income students in the first and second grades. Limage and her sister hope to expand the school to more grades in the future.
Focus on pageant
For right now, though, Limage is preparing for the national United States of America's Miss Pageant on Feb. 14-16. Her godparents are the ones who recruited her for the USOA's Miss Oregon Pageant, where she represented Clackamas County.
Her godparents are pageant trainers, so they taught Limage how to walk in six-inch heels and how to answer interview questions onstage, in front of judges and the audience.
The USOA's Miss Oregon event, which is separate from the Miss Oregon competition that feeds into Miss America, was the first time Limage had ever competed in a pageant.
"It was eye-opening for me; I have so much respect for women in pageants," Limage said.
"It takes a lot of courage; the swimsuit competition was the most nerve wracking," she added.
For her, the pageant experience is about empowering and uplifting young women.
"It helped build my self-confidence and changed my life in a positive way," Limage added.
Mental health awareness
In Las Vegas, she will compete in swimsuit, evening gown, personal interview and onstage question. Her platform, a social issue she feels passionate about, is mental health awareness.
The issue is personal to her, as she has suffered depression and said she lost her sense of self and went down a dark path.
But she had the courage to "rediscover myself, and I'm thankful that I'm here today," Limage said, adding that she's currently in the early stages of putting together a documentary about people living with mental illness.
Her defining characteristic, Limage said, is her desire to help people and give back to the community.
She can do that now with appearances as USOA's Miss Oregon, and in the future, when she has her own esthetician business.
"I want to have a safe space where women and men can learn how to take care of their skin," she said.
Limage added, "I want to make people feel good about themselves. I want to build community in my shop, where people can feel relaxed and beautiful."
For more information about the United States of America's Miss Pageant on Feb. 14-16, visit unitedstatesofamericapageants.com.
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