A trio of tiaras

Perdido couple’s daughters have taken to the pageant world

From left, Lyric, Maggie and Willow pose together during the Orlando pageant.

News Staff Writer

One can imagine the commotion, hustle and bustle that a family goes through when one of its children is a regular on the pageant circuit. Multiply that by three, and you have the Gordon family from Perdido.
Eight-year-old Lyric and 11-year-old Maggie (a former Young Miss Mayfest) got their initial taste of the pageant world in 2019, when they entered a competition in Bay Minette. The middle girl, 6-year-old Willow, followed suit the next year.
Since then, there’s been no stopping them.
The tiara-wearing trio became affiliated last year with International Girl Pageant (IGP), an international organization that annually hosts more than a dozen events throughout the United States, the Cayman Islands and South Africa. They “warmed up” for the global competition for three years by entering local and area events and soon developed a love for pageantry.
“They had only done locals, like Miss Mayfest, until 2022,” said their mother, Megan Rolin Gordon. “Last year we started doing lots more, and they did their first state and nationals.”
The expanded opportunity obviously suits the sisters well.
They each entered a weeklong IGP pageant in Orlando, Fla. last July. Willow, a first-grade student at Perdido Elementary School, won the title of International Girl Petite Miss. She competed with girls from across the IGP network in interview, talent, casual wear, evening gown and on-stage interview.
Willow also won the beautiful doll competition and the photogenic award, while Lyric was tabbed as Little Miss Beauty, and Maggie placed among the top five in the Young Miss competition.
Megan said the contests, although more commonly known as beauty pageants, entail much more than physical beauty.
“Pageantry is more than getting on a stage and looking pretty,” she said. “My ‘Gordon Girls’ are gaining incredible skills through pageantry. Their confidence has grown, they are learning to think under pressure, they can interview better than most adults, and they have learned how to make fast friendships.
“It’s scary to get on stage and perform a talent, answer a question, and stay poised and confident, but they do it with grace. Pageantry does take a big commitment from them.”
Despite that commitment, the girls have taken to the pageant world like ducks to water and have shared experiences that go beyond those of the average South Alabama youngster.
“They have to prepare (for each pageant) with lessons from their coach,” Megan explained. “They do multiple pageants a year to help them grow, but they love it. It’s opened a world of opportunities for them, from ‘walking fashion weeks’ in New York City for all three of them and Willow’s solo participation in a similar event in Atlanta, to doing photoshoots for Luxevel (a company that markets athletic wear and workout wear for women and girls).”
According to the organization’s website, IGP girls have through the years gone on to be models, have won competitions in the Miss America, Miss USA or Miss Universe systems, or have appeared in television series.
“IGP is much more than a pageant; it’s for participants to stay active and grow to meet their own goals,” the website reads. “Our participants become family, and memories are made that last a lifetime.”
Megan agreed with that.
“Through IGP, Willow has already had so many opportunities, including walking the runway in New York fashion week last September (2023),” she said.
As the date of a particular pageant draws closer, chaos begins to slowly take over the household.
“The week of the pageant is not that bad for us,” Megan said. “We just throw in one lesson and practice. The night before can get a little tougher, making sure you have everything you need for hair, makeup and three pageant wardrobes. Then there’s making it all fit in the minivan.
“The day of a pageant is always chaotic but fun, especially if I do their hair and makeup myself, which I did at the national program.”
There is a significant financial output that comes with each pageant entry, especially when all three girls are in the same event.
“Pageant lessons are $60 an hour,” Megan said. “Entry fee for nationals was $800 each, with a sister’s discount given; state was $300 each, with a sister discount. Then the local prelim was $100. And that’s not counting hotels and travel.”
The girls have a brother, 5-year-old Judah, who is more into tee-ball than tiaras, but is very supportive of his female siblings. Their biggest fan, though, is the person who gave them birth.
“As a mother, I will do everything I can to support them and help them in these opportunities as long as it makes them happy,” Megan said. “Every time they step on the stage, I am proud — no matter the outcome — because they are being courageous just by being up there.”
Their father, Josh Gordon, said he was a newcomer to the whole pageant scene when his daughters first began sashaying across stages in their finery. He has come to appreciate and respect what they are doing, although he wouldn’t mind if the cost was a little less.
“I am truly blessed to have three beautiful girls who have fallen in love with the pageant world,” he said. “I grew up in a world very different from the pageant scene and would have never imagined being a part.
“Now, if someone would just write me a check to cover dresses and entry fees, that would be great,” he laughed.