Men to strut their stuff for a good cause

Published 6:05 pm Friday, March 11, 2022

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On Friday, March 25, and Saturday, March 26, the Martina Natoli Lagman Foundation will host the annual Womanless Beauty Pageant, “Heels for Healing,” at the First Lady of Suffolk.

The pageant, which was previously sponsored by the Nansemond River Pilot Club, will feature everyday men dressing up as women and competing in talent, evening wear, swimwear, and sportswear categories in hopes of winning the crown at the end of the night. The participants will go all out in makeup, fake eyelashes and heels, assuring a laugh from everyone who attends.

The proceeds will go to the Martina Natoli Lagman Foundation, which was founded in memory of Martina Natoli, who lost her battle with cystic fibrosis in April at 30 years old. The foundation hopes to keep her memory alive by raising awareness and helping extend the lifespan of those living with cystic fibrosis, and encouraging them to achieve higher education goals through scholarships for undergraduate education, graduate school, community college, technical or trade school, certificate programs or similar pathways. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that causes the lungs to fill with hardened mucus.

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In less than a year, the foundation has already raised more than $30,000 to be used toward scholarships and lifesaving medications.

“Martina loved the quote, ‘Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away,’ and we think this pageant embodies that quote. It’s something she would have loved and we’re so excited to get to host this year,” said Tina Natoli, Martina’s mother and the founder of the Martina Natoli Lagman Foundation. “We also want to thank the community for all of their support the past few years as Martina fought a hard battle against cystic fibrosis.”

Joe Shannon, Martina’s uncle and one of the men participating in the pageant, is anxious for the event to arrive.

“I’m a little nervous to do it because it’s different, but it’s a great way to keep Martina’s memory alive and it’ll be fun. She loved glamour and fashion and getting dressed up, so it seems like a way to keep her close. I’m also looking forward to being with family, friends and the community after this really hard year, and giving them something positive to look forward to.”

Shannon is keeping a good sense of humor about the occasion.

“My sister and I are going back and forth about what to do about my facial hair, but I am drawing the line at shaving my legs,” he quipped.

Tickets for the pageant are $40 per person or $75 for a couple and will include a souvenir bottle of wine, hors d’oeuvres and a dessert bar. There will also be a cocktail bar, a silent auction and a 50/50 raffle available.

The doors open at 5:30 p.m. each day, dinner is served at 6 p.m and the contestants take the stage at 7 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased via Venmo using the handle @Martinanatolilagmanfoundation and picked up at “will call” the night of the event. When purchasing through Venmo, attendees want to make sure they include the date they will be attending in the “notes” section.

For more information, please contact Tina Natoli at 757-763-9213.