Although we are based in Lawrenceville, GA.....last year I met and photographed Miss Grace Shugart at the IJM Pageant that was held in Birmingham, AL. She had a great pageant and was crowned a winner in her division. Things were going awesome. Right after the pageant there was some commotion and grumbling. I later found out that Grace was disqualified and lost her crown and title literally within the same hour she won it. I don't know all the details but I heard it had to do with her home residence. Meaning she couldn't win the title she was up for based on where she lived. I know she had to be devastated. As a Dad I can only imagine the heartbreak of a little girl during such an emotional, competitive competition which takes months of prep and carries tons of expenses.
Fast forward to this year. Grace comes back to the same pageant held in Atlanta this year at the Marriott Hotel Century Center location. Again her mother Kelli signed up with me to take photos of Grace not only stage photos but also a personal "mini session" that I offer. The mini session allows time for some headshots and location based photos within the venue. I can get creative with the client and pose them how I want. These mini sessions are a good chance to get each girl to be a MODEL and bring out a side of them that maybe they don't know exists.
Grace didn't disappoint. I was stunned when I first saw her this year. She's grown a lot in 1 year. A bit taller, filling out as girls do and looked much more mature. Braces on her teeth have been added since I last saw her as well. She's still a little beauty. I love her personality. She's bubbly, fun and always approachable. I hope she never loses these traits. I have worked with some young ladies who are a bit cold and full of themselves which I guess is always possible in this pageant world. But Grace is warm, friendly and respectful.
So we had our 2018 photo session and she killed it as she did last year. But this was Grace 2.0 so with the added maturity, size and confidence.....she wowed me even more.
Grace didn't win 1st place this year......but I titled this blog accordingly because even though she didn't win, I saw her maintain her smile, cheered for others and accepted her placing with what else........GRACE.
Hats off to you my beautiful little friend. I'm inspired by young people like you. ;o)
Enjoy a few photos of this wonderful young lady.
Special thanks to Dee Hairston who is the Director for the IJM Pageant in Georgia. Get more information about the IJM and their pageants at: http://www.internationaljuniormiss.com/