BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Southern graduate is breaking new ground. In a few months, Avery D. Wilson will become the first man to represent Louisiana on stage in the 3rd annual Mr. USA Pageant.
"I'm a competitor at heart. When I do anything, I truly believe in putting my best foot forward," Wilson said.
When he takes the stage, it is hard to take your eyes off of his stunning performance. Wilson, owner of XLR8 Dance, is a choreographer, teacher, and coach to a school of dedicated dancers and competitors. He said it was not until recently someone encouraged him to take his talents a step further.
"A friend of mine noticed, you work so well with these young ladies. Have you ever thought about competing yourself," Wilson said.
The former Southern University Cheer captain, also crowned Mr. Southern 2003, decided to apply for the chance to represent Louisiana at a national pageant in New York City. After reviewing the applications, the Mr. USA organization honored him with the official sash.
"It's something that happens when I put [the sash] on. I feel like I become even more of a state ambassador," Wilson said.
Like most pageants, the competition includes six categories: swimwear, formal and casual wear, and a question and answer segment. The contestants will also be judged on their ability to promote their platform on social media. Wilson's message is simple, Love Matters.
"I think right now, more than ever, it's time everyone in our country, and not just our country but in the world, to really embrace the spirit of love with more compassion, empathy, tolerance, and acceptance," Wilson said.
Wilson, the artist he is, has managed to incorporate his message in another the talent category.
"I can't tell you too much but, yeah, it's going to be very culturally conscious but also universal in a sense. I really want the message to resonate with everyone," Wilson said.
No doubt Wilson has his eyes set on the crown. But, he said, regardless of the outcome the experience is well worth the effort.
"At that point we all come together as men in America with all of our differences and we have been courageous to share our message," Wilson said.
Mr. USA will be crowned in New York City on May 8. The winner will be awarded a series of prizes and go on to compete in Mr. Worldwide, an international pageant, later this year.