Just like Sandra Bullock’s character in “Miss Congeniality,” Aisha Manus of Grovetown really does want world peace, and that’s what she told her fellow contestants in her acceptance speech of the same award at the Mrs. United States pageant in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
“I felt so very lucky that my peers chose me that I was crying up a storm when I accepted my award,” she said.
The pageant was held Oct. 11-15 at the PGA Resort, with 25 states in attendance for the Mrs. division. Social distancing and masks were used when possible, and participants were administered temperature checks to make the pageant as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seating for the competition was restricted to a very limited audience.
Over the three days, Manus participated in a parade of state costumes where she dressed in her old Girl Scouts uniform (the Girl Scouts were founded in Georgia in 1912). In a closed-door interview, she answered five questions from five judges. She sewed her interview dress, swimsuit and evening gown for the competition, and her opening number gown was designed by Johnathan Kayne. There was a side competition for a place as an ambassador for his brand, and Manus was one of seven finalists for the spot.
All contestants were given 30 seconds to bring their personal platforms to a national stage. Manus’ platform is ending the stigma of menstruation and tackling period poverty through the charity Cloth Connection Outreach.
While she did not place in the pageant, she said it does not matter because she plans to use her title as Mrs. Georgia and Miss Congeniality to make a difference
“This pageant changed my life,” she said.
Manus is available for appearances and can be contacted at [email protected] or through her Instagram account at @mrsgeorgiaunitedstates2020.
She recently published a military children’s book about a little girl with two military parents called “Annabelle the Brave.” She said she never would have done the book if it wasn’t for the support and illustrations of Trena Meyers, Ms. Woman Georgia 2020, whom she met and bonded with because of the pageant.
“It was such an amazing experience to be competing with such smart, determined and downright beautiful women,” Manus said. “If it were not for this pageant, I would not have connected with so many accomplished women, who I can now call my sisters (and) pushed me to be an even better version of myself.”