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A & E

Joliet preschooler is winning pageant titles

Joliet couple feels pageant competitions can help develop character

JOLIET – “I’m Princess Ramona. I skate and do ballet. I have a sash and crown. It sparkles.”

So says the self-proclaimed princess. Ramona Edith Williams also models, competes in pageants and is a brand ambassador for T Star, a Chicago rap artist. As she is only 4, her titles outpace her age.

Her parents, Clarence and Lucia Williams, who said they had children later in life, choose their children’s activities – Ramona’s as well as her brother Noah’s, who is 2 – with an eye toward their personalities and the confident, well-rounded adults this couple hopes they’ll become.

They felt the pageant circuit was a good place to start for Ramona.

“She was very outgoing and very talkative,” Clarence Williams said. “She basically liked being around people and in front of people talking to people; she was never shy. We thought it would be good to corral that energy.”

Ramona was a natural from the start.

“When she did a pageant at a mall, she waved to everybody and blew them kisses. We didn’t practice any of it,” Clarence Williams said.

Nevertheless, Clarence and Lucia Williams are selective when deciding where Ramona will compete. For instance, Lucia Williams said, they avoid pageants where the focus is on false beauty: wigs, hair extensions, artificial nails, makeup and spray tans.

“We align with the natural pageants,” Lucia Williams said, “where they just want to see children be children.”

On the other hand, Clarence and Lucia seek out pageants that are rooted in Christian values or have community service aspects to them, such as raising awareness for breast cancer.

Clarence Williams said he and Lucia Williams stress to Ramona that her title and crown is an opportunity to serve, not to be served or seek out “glory and prizes.” They even help her pack up her outgrown clothing, which she donates to homeless shelters.

“She has to do public appearances, and she’s collected food for churches,” Clarence Williams said. “We want to prepare her to be lady and help her community.”

Despite precautions, the attention occasionally goes straight to Ramona’s head. When it does, her parents swiftly correct it, reminding her of rules and consequences. Clarence Williams said he sees those times as “teachable moments,” an opportunity to take her aside and said, “Hey, look.”

“She’s not going to get special treatment because she’s queen,” Lucia Williams said. “I try to teach her that the purpose of the crown is not to be all ‘high and mighty,’ but to be kind and help others. Eventually, we’d like to help her find a platform she can focus on.”

And Noah? He appears to be disinterested in pageants and more interested in sports. His parents are considering soccer.

“The main thing is, you don’t want to push your children into doing something they [don’t] want to do,” Clarence Williams said.

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KNOW MORE

Ramona Williams is a busy little girl. Below is a summary of her accomplishments over the past several years.

• August 2013 – Won Joliet Queen title at Sunburst Pageant preliminary

• May 2014 – Placed third runner up at Sunburst Pageants state finals

• July 2014 – Placed in the top 10 at Sunburst Pageant nationals in Atlanta, Georgia

• March 2015 – Crowned CCP Illinois Royalty Baby Queen

• June 2015 – Started ice skating

• August 2015 – Started ballet with Generation Dance Company in Joliet

• September 2015 – Crowned Ultimate Mega High Point Supreme at America’s Best Pageant

• October 2015 – First skating competition at ISI District 8 Harvest Gold Competition and won second place solo

• December 2015 – Participated in the Inwood Ice Arena Holiday Ice Show

• October 2015 – Crowned CCP National Illinois Royalty Baby Queen. Walked as beauty queen with CCP Illinois Royalty Crown at “Live Out Loud Charity Royal Ball” (produced by Sherrie Gearheart, Tiara Magazine) Also walked for designer Seamingly Sisters.

• November 2015: Participated in the “Live Out Loud Holiday Fashion Show.” Also walked for designer Lubia’s Dresses.

• March 2016 – Joined Brown Talent Management

• April 2016 – First walk for T Star Collection, first Annual Ice Show at Inwood Ice Arena, crowned 2016 Pure International Pageants Toddler Miss Illinois, participated in the filming of a music video for T Star.

• May 2016 – Officially became brand ambassador for T Star’s Collection, Star Bright Brand.

• June 2016 – Walked in first annual Brown Talent Management fashion showcase. First dance recital for Generation Dance Company at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet

• July 2016 – Crowned 2016 Pure International Pageants Toddler Miss America. Competed with the Inwood Ice Arena Skating Team at ISI World’s Recreational Championships in Minnesota where she won a first place medal for solo spotlight, second place medal for Solo Tot-3 and third place with her team for large production.

View additional videos of Princess Ramona at Lucia Williams’ YouTube page at http://shawurl.com/2riu.

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