XENIA — About to walk through the doors of a Columbus Comfort Inn and onto the American Majestics Pageant Nationals stage, Patty Diggs had a panic attack and a serious case of stage fright.
“I was so nervous,” the 58-year-old Xenia resident recalled. “I’m not a public speaker and I had to speak in front of people.”
Questioning whether or not she had the intestinal fortitude to continue, the memory of Diggs’ deceased husband, Christopher, made finding the answer simple.
“Lovie (what Diggs affectionately called him) would want me to do this,” she said. “I knew he would not like it if I was moping around.”
Diggs was named Elegant Ms. Queen National, the second-highest title available, during festivities April 29-May 1. It’s a title she won from a pool of dozens of contestants ages 40 and up according to the organization’s website. Diggs could try and become a Lifetime Queen, but she is more than content with her current trophy, crown and sash.
“I’m so glad I did it,” she said. “I always thought I was too old and too ugly. It’s a very good thing, especially if you have a low self-esteem.”
That’s part of American Majestics’ platform, which in-part is, “To find women and men of all ages who want to make a difference in their communities through community service work and dedicated to improving self-esteem for all. To show our differences are beautiful.”
The pageant has 10 categories from Baby Miss (0-23 months) up to Elegant Ms. and even has one called Curvy, for sizes 14 and up.
“Everybody’s treated the same,” Diggs said.
Areas of competition include an interview and formal wear. Optional areas include talent, cover girl and swimsuit.
“It was just like you see on TV,” Diggs said. “Except without the drama.”
And much like TV, it was a whirlwind weekend for Diggs. She had a meet and greet on Friday and then on Saturday she was whisked away at 6 a.m. and didn’t return to her room until midnight. It was difficult for Diggs, who is waiting on two hip replacements and uses a walker to get around.
“I was in a lot of pain but it was fun,” she said. “It was worth it. I brought my A game and my six legs too.”
Diggs also brought an impressive resume of volunteer work.
She donates her time by working with Greene County Children’s Services. A survivor of child abuse herself, Diggs is working to help keep kids safe.
“We believe in giving back to the community,” she said.
No doubt Christopher would be proud.
“He was really my inspiration,” Diggs said.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.