Matthews set for national pageant

Will compete Sept. 10-12 in Cape Girardeau

By Theo Tate
Posted 9/2/21

When Eliza Matthews competes in the Midwest National Pageant on Sept. 10-12 in Cape Girardeau, she will have her sights set on one thing.

“The money!” the 7-year-old from Montgomery …

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Matthews set for national pageant

Will compete Sept. 10-12 in Cape Girardeau

Posted

When Eliza Matthews competes in the Midwest National Pageant on Sept. 10-12 in Cape Girardeau, she will have her sights set on one thing.


“The money!” the 7-year-old from Montgomery City said.


Matthews will also look to earn a crown at the event that will have girls from Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas and Arkansas. It is sponsored by America’s Best Pageant, which promotes beauty pageants all over the Midwest.

“It will be amazing,” said Nicole Griffard, Matthews’ mother. “That’s our goal. She has really tough competition at her age.”


Matthews qualified for nationals after being crowned Ultimate Grand Supreme at a pageant in Moberly during the winter. She was awarded the title, “Little Miss Montgomery County.”


The winner at the national pageant gets $500. The first runner-up receives $200. Five $500 prizes for different age groups will be given away.


Griffard said no matter where her daughter will finish at the event, she will be very proud of her for getting selected to nationals.


“I just want her to get up there and have fun,” Griffard said. “That’s all that matters.”

Griffard said Matthews has been doing pageants with America’s Best Pageant for about a year.


“You have to get a Supreme title at more than one pageant to be able to qualify for nationals,” Griffard said. “You have to show great leadership and do community service. We actually got to go last year, but we were just alternates. We got picked at the last minute, so she didn’t have a community title or anything. This time, she was awarded Miss Montgomery County. One person from your area gets to go to nationals.”


Since Matthews started competing in pageants in December 2019, she earned many trophies. She was named Grand Supreme in three pageants this year. On Aug. 7, she was named first runner-up at the Old Settlers Picnic Princess contest in New Florence.


“She’s got quite a few of the five-foot trophies and a few of the three-foot trophies,” Griffard said.


Matthews also did some community service work such as helping out in toy drives and food banks. Griffard said before her daughter takes off for nationals, she’s going to help clean up Wabash Park in Montgomery City.


Matthews competed in pageants in Fulton, Hannibal, Bowling Green and Branson. She recently participated in a regional pageant in Memphis, Tenn.


Griffard said she started signing her up for pageants after they saw a post on Facebook about a beauty pageant looking for girls two years ago.


“We’ve come a long way in a short period of time, from not knowing anything about pageants to doing this,” Griffard said.


Griffard said the most important thing for girls competing in pageants is they have to represent their community in a positive way.


“They don’t allow the girls to be hateful or have bad sportsmanship,” Griffard said. “They will disqualify them. They won’t get anything if they see any of that type of stuff because they want them to grow up the right way and know they’re being positively representing the community.”


Griffard said when Matthews started participating in pageants, she was very bashful going on the stage and facing a large audience.


“The first time she had to speak in public, she couldn’t do it,” Griffard said. “Now, she gets up there, holds the microphone and all of that. It has built her confidence up a lot. From when she first started, she didn’t want to wave or anything. She just stood up there and was frozen. After that, she has really become a little diva.”

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