(WMC-TV) – A group of beautiful women are rehearsing for a beauty pageant – but it isn't your average competition.
First, you must throw out every assumption you have about beauty pageant contestants.
Brittany Martin is just one of the women competing to be crowned Miss Plus America at the Memphis Hilton.
"This is super exciting. Balls of emotion, nerve wracking, it's a roller coaster ride," said Martin.
The pageant is in its 10th year and it showcases the talents and beauty of plus-sized women.
"It not only gives women a chance to be confident and let the world know that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors," explained Martin.
Michelle Anderson is the reigning Miss Plus America 2011.
"I am the first openly HIV woman to ever win a national pageant title," she said.
The pageant provides comfort and helps girls and women around the country who have struggled with their self worth.
"MPA prided itself on giving plus-sized women a platform to display their confidence and give them a voice in society where plus size is not acceptable," said Anderson.
Like most pageants, the contestants compete in several categories including an interview, sportswear, photogenic, and evening gown competition.
Action News 5's Jamel Major even had the chance to strut his stuff on the runway, but even he admits that he needs a little more practice before he would ever be able to take home a crown.
"What it takes to win, in my opinion, is attitude," laughed Anderson.