PEMBROKE PINES (CBSMiami/Sentinel) – Many pageant contestants have a long list of accomplishments.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports Connor Boss, a contestant in Saturday night’s Miss Florida USA pageant at Broward College, is one of them.
The difference? According to Grant Gravitt, the pageant’s executive producer, the 18-year-old Miss Delray Beach will be the first legally-blind contestant in the pageant’s history. Boss has Stargardt’s Disease, a retina-destroying disorder that renders her world a hazy blur.
That means she has little sense of what she looks like on-stage. Other contestants’ bodies are just blurry shapes.
The pageant will be the 18-year-old Royal Palm Beach resident’s fifth since she won her first crown at age 16. So, is she worried? Connor’s mom, Traci Boss, certainly isn’t.
“She has overcome every obstacle,” Connor’s mom said.
The Glades Day School graduate managed a 4.2 GPA, was senior class president and ran track-and-field for four years. She will attend FSU this fall.
Connor’s mom admits one obstacle worries her.
“She has a lot of trouble with stairs,” Connor’s mom conceded.
Unfortunately, stairs are a hallmark of most pageants, if not all. Each competitor in the Miss Florida USA pageant, the winner of which represents the state in the Miss USA judging, must walk a predetermined pattern to hit certain marks onstage at Bailey Hall Saturday night. Connor, who navigates her way through the pageant largely by sound and memory, will get extra rehearsal time to count out her steps onstage.
However, Connor has muscled through this before, at last year’s Miss Florida USA pageant.
When Connor finished as second runner-up in the teen category, she stumbled on the stairs in the swimsuit segment. Unless there is bright-colored tape on the edge of each stair, they all blend together for Connor. She doesn’t know what the stage set-up will be this year, but isn’t concerned how it might affect her poise.
“I’m just gonna do it. I’m gonna do it to it!” she says brightly.
The Miss Florida USA pageant will be televised around the state Saturday night , including WPLG and WTVK.
MISS FLORIDA USA PAGEANT
What: The pageant, a preliminary for the Miss USA and Miss Universe competitions, will draw 76 women from around the state for the crowning of the Miss Florida.
When: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Bailey Hall Auditorium on the campus of Broward College, 3501 SW Davie Road, Davie.
Contact: For ticket information, call 954-924-4949 or go to missfloridausa.com.
On TV: The pageant will be televised 8-10 p.m. Saturday on WPLG-Ch. 10 and WTVK-Ch. 34.