Burr Ridge designer helps beauty queen

March 29, 2011 11:21:34 AM PDT
A suburban designer will get a national platform for his clothes while helping a contestant in the Miss USA Pageant who lost her job and her home.

Blair Griffith competed four times for the Miss Colorado contest and finally won. It was a dream come true. But three months later, the 23-year-old and her mother lost their home.

"We were evicted from our home in November of last year," Blair Griffith said.

"It started when my husband passed away, and it's been a rough several years but we have gotten through," said Bonita Griffith, mother.

As Bonita Griffith was trying pay for her late husband's prostate cancer bills and Blair's college tuition, she suffered a heart attack. Then her insurance company dropped her coverage for a pre-existing condition. To add to the pain, Blair lost her job.

"Despite those circumstances, I was not going to let that stop me from accomplishing my dreams," said Blair Griffith.

Her dream is competing in the Miss USA Pageant. It's a dream Blair has had since she was a little girl when she watched pageants with her father.

Burr Ridge-based designer Mac Duggal was so touched by Blair's circumstance, he brought her to Chicago to design her competition evening gown for free. Marriott is donating the Griffiths' hotel room.

While she would love to become Miss USA, Blair says her priority is taking care of her mother.

"The goal for me is to be able to be in a place to provide a home for my mom and get her covered with health insurance and also have that for myself," said Blair Griffith.

"I don't know where she gets her strength from. Sometimes I have to look to her to get my strength because she's just a dynamo, she keeps on going. And she keeps me going," said Bonita Griffith.

The Griffiths head back to Colorado Wednesday. Blair will be looking for a job and preparing for the Miss USA Pageant in June.