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Success in pageantry proved to be both my salvation as well as a burden. The limitations caused by my vision problems as well as the rejection and prejudices I experienced led me to seek out other means of fulfillment; this came in the form of beauty pageants and modeling. Using my experiences, I critique the unrealistic display of the “perfected” physical form and the pressures to attain it. I am both an insider and outsider of mainstream “beauty” and to bring both perspectives together, I became Miss Art World. I use this title throughout my work to question the dominating ideologies of beauty fused with the disturbing and obsessive struggle to obtain it.

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Miss Art World

The performative nature of pageantry lends itself naturally to utilizing performance as a medium and vehicle to deliver my concepts. Social norms and the expression and suppression of stereotypes within femininity and feminism cause the prejudicial idea that the two are opposite. My works dealing with this issue have culminated in my self-designated title and birth of Miss Art World--a concept that embodies the feminist feminine fighter, a champion for social change who uses creative activism to inspire thoughtful conversation, cultural advancement. The Miss Art World movement includes recruiting other and creative queens with the power, courage, and strength to use their art for social change and equality.

Sister QUeens - Miss Art World

The Miss Art World concept is a lifelong performance piece and, not performed by a singular performer, but shared by other artists through a broader movement. When I am Miss Art World, I am draped in the trappings of a beauty queen presenting somewhat of a counterintuitive connection to the performance’s message of inclusivity and positive social change. I have recruited Klaire Lockheart who’s artwork addresses gender identity and feminism within contemporary American culture as Miss Art World South Dakota, thus beginning a movement of creative queens, a family of like minds that can be found all over the world. Miss Art World is a vehicle for creative activism.

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Miss Art World (Katherine J Cooksey or Katherine Cooksey-Nestved) was born and raised in California, She completed her Bachelor of Fine Art from California State University, Bakersfield, and received her Master of Fine Art from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. Katherine was diagnosed with incurable eye disease at the age of ten and has struggled with her vision ever since. As Katherine’s vision started to deteriorate, her father began to teach her how to paint. Unfortunately, her 8th-grade art teacher told her, “You can’t be an artist if you can’t see” which led Katherine to give up art for years. The rejection and prejudices that arose from the academic environment led Katherine to seek out other means of fulfillment. This came in the form of beauty pageants and modeling. Over the years, she participated in pageants and modeling, winning several titles including Miss Teen Hawaiian Tropic, Miss Bakersfield, first runner up for Miss California International, Miss California Global Nation Pageant and Miss New yOrk World.

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Katherine Nestved is the Arts Coordinator for the City of Santa Clarita. She supervises seven exhibit spaces, handles Arts Marketing, and manages the City's public and civic art projects. Previously, she was the Gallery Director for Studio Channel Islands Art Center in Camarillo where she was responsible for hundreds of museum-level exhibits. She has also held positions with Gagosian, Todd Madigan Gallery, and the Career Center at Pratt Institute. As a guest speaker, Katherine's most recent engagements were for the 2020 LA Art Show's panel discussions and the 2019 Americans for the Arts Convention. She has been a juror for numerous exhibits and organizations including the Lancaster Museum of Art and History (MOAH) and MOAH:CEDAR, Santa Clarita Artists Association, Westlake Village Art Guild, Congressional District Annual Congressional Art Competition, and the Antelope Valley Fair. 

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