Does beauty have a limited definition? Can we make that definition more inclusive? In many ways, best friends Allison Kopach and Jenny Flores are typical pageant queens. They love makeup, fashion, and anything that sparkles. However, unlike Miss America, at a size 22 the only doors open to them are in the plus size pageant world.
THERE SHE IS follows the two as they prepare for and compete in the 2011 American Beauties Plus Pageant and revisits them in 2012 to reflect on the outcome of the pageant and what has changed in their lives.
The film explores how Allison and Jenny feel about their own beauty in a society where being plus size is considered a flaw and competing in a plus size pageant is seen as taboo. Through revealing interviews, the viewer gets a glimpse into the world of these two women, who like many women and men (regardless of size), are faced with reconciling a strong self-image with the influential yet often unattainable images of beauty surrounding them.
Directors Statement (Emily Sheskin & Veena Rao)
“Two years ago we set out to make a film with an idea that has always interested us: how we define our notion of beauty and what influences this definition.
We brainstormed for a while and became interested in exploring our theme with pageantry, a traditional expression of beauty with a historical basis in the U.S, as the backdrop. Around the same time we came across the statistic that the average american woman now wears a size 14.
So we wondered, we’ve heard of Miss America, but are there pageants that include the average American woman? We soon found out that there are numerous plus size pageants that invite women size 14 and above to compete.
From there we started talking to contestants across the country and finally met our characters, Allison and Jenny, who impressed us with their willingness to be open about their experiences as plus size women and pageant queens.
We interviewed each of them before the pageant, filmed them during the 2011 American Beauties Plus Pageant in Atlanta, and followed-up with them a year later to see how their lives had changed.”