Sammy Nickalls
August 28, 2015 8:02 am

Mattie Witman, 18, isn’t all that into pageants. So when she got a flyer in the mail informing her of her nomination for Miss Teen Oklahoma City, she thought it was a fake. But when she discovered that the nomination was legit, she decided to enter the pageant for the best reason: To call attention to narrow beauty standards while raising awareness about equality and fighting discrimination.

“[The flyer] said, ‘You’ve been nominated for Miss Teen Oklahoma City,’ and I’m not sure how that happened,” Mattie told KFOR. “I thought it was a scam at first but it turned out to be a huge opportunity.”

So on the big day, she decided to wear a tuxedo to the event. “I’m not super into pageants to my knowledge but I intend on using it to begin a movement against unnecessary standards of beauty in the world,” she wrote on Instagram about her selection four weeks ago.

Earlier this week was the big day. Surrounded by 59 other contestants in floor-length gowns, Mattie showed up looking totally badass in her suit. “There are people who need to be brave, who need to stand up for other people and to show people there is a life outside of imperfect standards of beauty that are put on women,” Mattie told KFOR.

Mattie entered the pageant hoping to make her voice heard. Not only did she do that in the best way possible, but she was chosen out of the 60 contestants as the 2015 Miss Teen Oklahoma City/Tulsa. Even though she didn’t wear the traditional pageant attire, she blew judges away with her suave suit — and with the incredibly essential and important meaning behind it. When asked about her goals for the year during the competition, she counted this contest as one of her biggest accomplishments, according to Oklahoma 9 News. “While we are surrounded by beautiful participants, you must look towards how people have differences and that [tolerance] is something that the entire international community can begin to learn, and begin to make strides towards success in society,” she told the judges. Cue one massive round of applause.

Now, she’s gearing up for the national competition in Florida, which will give the Oklahoma University freshman a chance to win academic scholarships. The opportunity for academic scholarships is minimized in Mattie’s eyes, though, compared to the opportunity to make a difference.

“Not only can I address things such as beauty, but also can address an entire community that has faced discrimination and continues to face discrimination,” she told KFOR, noting that she hopes to raise awareness on behalf of the LBGT community. “It’s a small step, but it’s a step in the right direction.”

Mattie may have been crowned, but the tiara isn’t her definition of winning, she continued. “If I can change one person’s mind that you don’t have to have long blonde hair and beautiful eyes and have a perfect figure to be beautiful, then I personally feel like I’ve won,” she said.

In that case, Mattie has won on every single level. She has not only made a statement about inclusivity, but has totally challenged beauty and gender norms in the best way possible. Oh and she won the whole darn thing. You rock, Mattie — we’ll be rooting for you come October!

Images via Instagram

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