Asia's first pageant for young women with special needs held in Manila

Alixandra Caole Vila ( - October 7, 2015 - 3:48am

MANILA, Philippines — To celebrate the uniqueness in every special person, a pageant for young women with special needs was staged Wednesday.

Miss Possibilities is the first pageant of its kind in Philippines and in Asia. Headed by former two-time Miss Thailand and Mrs. World, Suzanna Pavadee Vicheinrut Yuzon, the event aims to let people know that everything is "possible" with girls, even with those who have special needs.

In an interview with, Yuzon shared that the idea was fueled by her daughter Johanna, who was born with Trisomy 21 or Down Syndrome, a condition that occurs when there is a third copy of the 21st chromosome

In her own words, "Because of her, I really have a heart for girls with special needs."

For the love of a daughter

"My daughter is almost three and she has Down Syndrome. In our society, we see that even getting them (people with special needs) to preschool now is hard, and as a mother, it hurts," Yuzon said.

Inspired to create social awareness about the needs and important roles of those like her daughter, Yuzon posted on Facebook a picture of a poster of an upcoming pageant for young ladies with special needs that she saw during her vacation in her home state in California. 

"Miss Possibilities" is the first pageant of its kind in Philippines and in Asia. Pioneered by former two-time Miss Thailand and Mrs. World, Suzanna Pavadee Vicheinrut Yuzon, the event aims to let people know that everything is "possible" with girls, even with those with special needs. Toledo IV

“Sana, one day in the Philippines," is what she wrote in the photo caption, hoping that someday the event of such a kind would happen in the Philippines.

Yuzon's Facebook post started to pick up, but the one comment that brought about a call to action was that of her friend Eric Teng of the Mango Tree Restaurant group. Teng has been a strong supporter of the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines and generously offered his restaurant in Bonifacio Global City as the venue for the event focused on girls and helping them realize their beauty inside and out.

15 young women redefine true beauty

The group behind Miss Possibilities went to different schools to search for the girls aged 12 and up to join the event.

"We can only accommodate that number, given the space that we have," Yuzon said.

Apart from the school visits, the group also put up posters in different therapy centers and schools to let people know that they are welcome to join. Yuzon said it was really not that hard to look for the participants. 

"I thought it would be harder. But then suddenly, we had people contacting us here and there. First, we planned to set up only tables but then people started to come and everyone was just standing because there aren't enough tables left anymore," she proudly said.

"One of the members of the family of the participant said there are 40 of them here because they are just so excited and they never really had anything like this before," she added.

Check out some of the participants in the video below:

Philstar/Efigenio Toledo IV


Confidence, not competition

All girls in puberty undergo a phase when they start to doubt themselves, and girls with special needs are not exempted from this.

In Yuzon's own words, "Everyone even with or without special needs go through trials and challenges."

A participant goes on stage to show her incredible paintings during the Miss Possibilities event held in Mango Tree Restaurant on October 7. Toledo IV

Through Miss Possibilities, girls with special needs will meet other girls similar to them and realize that they are not the only ones going through the tough stage in life.

"People with special needs don't often see other people that are similar to themselves. This is where they can make friends with the other participants who are the same as them," explained Yuzon.

Yuzon emphasized that the pageant is not meant for competition, but to serve as a platform to showcase the girls' beauty and confidence.

“We are defining the true meaning of pageant, where we will celebrate and showcase each girl individually. They will all be crowned with their own titles," she said.

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