After being named Senior Miss in the North Carolina Miss Amazing Pageant in 2013, the 30-year-old Cartersville resident won the Georgia competition May 10. Her latest achievement advances her to the national contest in Nebraska Aug. 6 to 9.
“I was excited to win,” Wilbanks said. “At first they had the wrong scoresheet. They had called me as a princess. ... [Then the announcer said] there have been some miscommunications and our scores [were not] added up [correctly] ... and then they called me as the queen. I was so excited. I was bawling because I knew I had pulled it off.
“... [At the national contest] I am going to do my best to make Georgia and Cartersville, which is my hometown, proud of me. I’m going to try to bring that title home from the nationals. If I don’t, it’s OK because I’m still a winner no matter what.”
With the pageant featuring eight age divisions for girls and women, individuals age 5 to adult can participate. During the Georgia contest, competitors performed in a talent showcase and were judged in the areas of interview and evening wear. For her talent, Wilbanks sang “Address in the Stars.”
According to www.missamazingpageant.com, “Miss Amazing Inc. can only grow and evolve as long as the participants continue to shoot for their personal success. It [is] this inspiring determination that brings communities together and encourages everyone involved to make the most of their lives. We at Miss Amazing Inc. listen to the participants’ goals and dreams and use them to guide the organization.
“... We believe that all people should be given the opportunity to reach their full potential. Through the structure of the Miss Amazing pageant and other Miss Amazing programs, we hope to give girls and women with disabilities that opportunity. In an atmosphere built around encouragement and support, we believe the Miss Amazing pageant can bring the community together and encourage further inclusion for individuals with special needs.”
Based on her involvement, Wilbanks said the pageant is a positive experience for those living with disabilities. Along with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Wilbanks also has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar types I and II.
“One of the reasons I participate is to build my self-confidence and self-esteem,” Wilbanks said. “I have [discovered] that I have the ability to help others who have been in similar situations. I am also [giving them] advice on how I dealt with similar situations. This can help boost their confidence and self-esteem while doing the same for me. [These] are things that make me feel better about myself and what I have to offer others.
“Just because someone has the label ‘disabled’ or ‘having a disability’ they should not let it stop them from doing what they want in life. Get married, have a family, go to college. Prove the people who have tried to hold you down wrong. Go above and beyond anything you were told you could not do. I have the love and support of my family and friends. When you strive to improve yourself, there will always be [people] willing to support you.”
To help cover expenses related to the national competition, Wilbanks is seeking financial sponsors. To donate, visit www.fundly.com/2014-miss-amazing-nationals or ask to contribute to “Rene Wilbanks’ Pageant Fund” at Wells Fargo.