HAMMOND, La. (WGNO) - Eighteen-year-old Grace Graugnard is this year's Very Special Miss Louisiana Pageant Ambassador, and it's her personal goal to be the biggest cheerleader for pageant participants.
"It's letting your personality shine through and being a great beacon of light for other people. That's really what these pageants focus on," says Graugnard.
But what separates this pageant from other pageants is not only the girls, teens and women who are participating, this pageant is a fundraiser for TARC - a nonprofit in Hammond that provides services to people with disabilities and their families.
Graugnard is hearing impaired. She received cochlear implants and went to speech therapy as a child, she says.
"At the same time I still go to a main stream school, as they call it," says Graugnard.
Graugnard plans to study international relations and English or creative writing in college, and she has quite the pageant resume to boot.
She was crowned Teen Miss Gonzales Jambalaya 2015, Miss Ascension Teen USA 2016 and competed in Miss Louisiana Teen USA as well.
"You know it's not fake, you know it's something that comes from the inside and it's this warmth that you don't really get anywhere else," says Graugnard.
This year's Very Special Miss Louisiana Pageant theme is "Under The Sea." It would not be possible without support from the community.
Professional make-up artists and hairstylists volunteer their time helping these beauty queens get ready for their debut, one that focuses on their strength of spirit, inner beauty and smile.