Ain't no gala like a Glynn Jackson gala.
For 25 years Jackson has produced fashion and beauty pageants in the District that showcase hair, clothing and male and female models often bypassed by major fashion houses. He recently celebrated the silver anniversary with La Pink, a fashion festival saluting breast cancer survivors at the Washington Convention Center.
"Hot, fabulous, exciting," Jackson said during the show. "I love to see black women show off."
And show off they did.
With their hair styled like delicate flower arrangements, they wore form-fitting designer gowns and sassy hats cocked to the side. Some were rail-skinny, and others were big and bodacious.
"How many of you love full-figured women?" Jackson asked the crowd.
Applause and cheers rang out.
Introduced as "the big girls skinny girls hate," the eight contestants in the Miss Metroplus competition, one of the festival's events, modeled business wear and evening gowns. There was no talent segment -- unless strutting is considered a talent.
Princess Reddick, who lives in Takoma Park, won the crown. She wore a black-and-white suit for the business wear portion and a floor-length gold halter dress for the evening gown portion.
Last year's winner, Shernita Spriggs, 29, of the District, passed the title to Reddick as Spriggs's mother, a breast cancer survivor, sat in the audience.
"You're always the queen, but you only have one year to reign," Spriggs said. Reddick, 24, said the victory made her feel better about herself.
"It was like a dream come true," she said. "It might not be that big of a deal to other people, but to me it was like the world."
Over the next year, Reddick will use her role to talk to young women about self-esteem. She said she was mindful of the health issues related to obesity and would encourage women and girls to exercise.
African American women have the highest rates of obesity and, as a result, have an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Studies have found a link between obesity and breast cancer. Reddick said she hasn't had any health problems and wants to keep it that way.
"I don't mind being a big girl, but I just want to be healthy," she said. "I exercise, I get that heart pumping. I know it's not healthy for me to be this big, but I love being me now, you understand? I don't have to be a skinny girl."
Reddick will participate in Jackson's events throughout the next year, most notably the Golden Scissors Awards, a national beauty salon competition scheduled for November.
"What we do nobody is doing," Jackson said. "I know girls in our venue will probably never make it to the runways of New York, but it is my show and I know that beauty comes in all sizes, shapes and packages."
Spriggs, center, congratulates Princess Reddick, who was crowned Miss Metroplus. "To me it was like the world," Reddick said of winning.Glynn Jackson and model Kenya Jones. The event marked Jackson's 25 years of producing fashion and beauty shows.