Each year, in the US, March is designated as Women’s History Month. The month is set aside to honor the contributions of notable women in American history. Many people use this month to not only honor women but also to empower them as well.

One such local woman from Ellicott City, Izabella “Bella” Levy, reached out to Baltimore OUTloud in an effort to better connect with women of all backgrounds as she begins her journey to become Mrs. DC America 2020.

Charles Smalls: Your platform is women’s empowerment and “radiating your beauty inside and out.” Who are some women who inspire you and why?

Izabella Levy: Princess Diana. She was battling her own internal struggles, yet she became the people’s princess. She was focused on making the world a better place using her influence. I want to be able to use my influence to bring people of all backgrounds together for a common good.

Some people say pageants objectify women. How do you respond?

I respect everyone’s opinion based on their background and belief, as I would ask the same in return. Pageantry is a vessel for a message of hope, a way to inspire the next generation, and a true symbol of dedication, discipline, and ambition.

The pageant system appears to be more inclusive in recent years. 2018 Miss Universe welcomed its first transgender contestant (Miss Spain – Angela Ponce) and its first openly gay contestant (Miss Myanmar – Swe Zin Htet) …

I think it’s a great and huge step in a progressive direction. We live in a multicultural society. Events like these actually serve to bring people together and to reinforce that we have more in common than we think. Opportunities have always been limited to minorities as well as women, and I am both. I am a Russian Jewish woman. I have dark features. I’m curvy, vertically challenged (my cute way of saying short), but I have as much right as any other contestant to represent my platform and have my voice heard to make this place a better place to be and to leave an Imprint on the next generation of trailblazers.

Why do you want to win?

Winning wouldn’t just be for me – it would be for every human being that has ever stood in the mirror with a dream and an idea. I’m truly part of something that is bigger than myself. And like I’ve always said, “When woman come together for a purpose greater than themselves, incredible things happen, and the impossible dream becomes a spectacular reality.”

What do you hope to gain from this experience?

I already feel enriched by the people that have joined me on this journey. It’s not about me, it’s what type of an impact I can make on today’s society and how I hope to influence my daughter’s generation to be brave, have courage and conviction, and most of all, never give up on your dreams. If your dreams don’t scare, they aren’t big enough.

How can the public continue to support you?

I would love everyone’s support and continued words of encouragement and affirmation. There is currently an online poll, and the contest is called the “DC America Fabulous Face Contest.” The winner of that automatically advances to the top three. This year, the pageant commission has decided that not only does the winner go to Vegas, but the runner-up as well. I want to put myself in a position where I go to Vegas and compete on a national level. I want to spread my message of women’s empowerment not just locally, but nationally and globally. I am just a girl with a big heart with a big desire for change.

I want to thank you for interviewing me, it means a lot to me to have you with me on this journey. Everyone is entitled to dream the little dream and make a global impact, and I thank you for your support and the strength that your empowerment gives me when you believe in me

I’m just a small seed in the soil, but it is with your love, support, and encouragement that I am able to grow.

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Charles Smalls
Charles Smalls
Charles Smalls is a technical writer, artist and content creator with a strong passion for multimedia and storytelling. If you would like to connect with him follow him on twitter (@OnwardThought).