Jenelle Hutcherson, a 25-year-old lesbian hairdresser in Long Beach, California, has entered the Miss Long Beach and Miss Southern California beauty pageants. She is the first openly gay contestant to participate in the pageants, which have been around for 61 years.
The Cali babe was inspired to take part by Justin Rudd, one of her hairstyling clients and the current director of the pageants.
"[Justin] was so excited when he asked me to join," Jenelle said of the conversation that led to her becoming a contestant. "He said that he would love for me to join and that the coloured hair and tattoos didn't matter at all. I am not a gown-and-heels type of girl. Justin asked me what I'd be comfortable in, and I said a tuxedo, and his reply shocked me! If I wanted to do it, I could compete next year wearing a tuxedo. I believe Justin is very fashion-forward and expressed that it is time for a few things to develop to keep up with the times."
Some of the changes that are being made to accommodate Jenelle, and future contestants, include two wardrobe changes: the women competing no longer have to wear a ball gown, but simply "evening wear" — which can include pants! And bikinis are no longer expected, either; contestants can wear any kind of "swimwear." Jenelle will be rocking a "1930s-inspired swimsuit. My take on both a men's old swimsuit and the female apparel of the time."
Talking about the changes to RadarOnline, Justin said, "We are looking to be a progressive pageant that embraces each for who they are now and for the future. And we celebrate the diversity that is all around us."
Check out Jenelle's pageant video: