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Liberian-American beauty queens just descended on Philadelphia




Miss Liberia in the US contestants visit New York City the day before the pageant. (From left) Naomi Glay of Georgia, Alberta Richards of New York, Koisey Hiama of Minnesota, Miss Liberia 2017 Gboea Flumo, Aba Aggrey of Pennsylvania, Rudmita Mark of New Jersey, and Mandie Paygar of North Carolina.

Gardening gloves cover their acrylic nails. Blue jeans protect their ankles from bug bites and poison ivy.
On this Wednesday evening in July, the six contestants of the 16th annual Miss Liberia in the U.S. pageant, which is always in Philadelphia, are wielding pruning shears and stuffing paper bags with leaves in the overgrowth of Morris Park in Overbrook. But after their service project, in the days leading up to Friday’s pageant at the Suzanne Roberts Theater, they’ll don evening gowns, traditional Liberian dresses, colorful headwraps, and, yes, bathing suits — white ones, as per Miss Liberia in the U.S. tradition. They’ll practice strutting in heels to an Afropop beat and waving like a pageant queen. They’ll talk about their platform, the cause they’re advocating, be it mental health awareness or young women’s empowerment.
All are pageant first-timers. Some have traveled from as far as Atlanta and Minnesota’s Little Liberia, while Miss Liberia Pennsylvania — soon-to-be Pennsylvania State University freshman Aba Aggrey — came just a few miles from Southwest Philly, where most of the approximately 3,000 Philadelphian Liberians live. They’re students, administrative clerks, and models, all staying in a house in Center City for the week, and they’re vying for a cash prize, an all-expenses-paid trip to Liberia, and, of course, the crown.


STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
Miss Liberia in the US contestants (from left) Naomi Glay, Aba Aggrey, Alberta Richards, and Rudmita Mark help clean up the Royal Gardens in Overbrook’s Morris Park as part of a Pageant Week service project.

The goal of Miss Liberia in the U.S., according to Agnes Donaldson, a former pageant organizer and now president of the Philly-based nonprofit that runs the pageant, is to cultivate a sense of pride in Liberian American women.

Source: Philly.com


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