On July 20, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia, LaFonda Parham, Mrs. Essence 2012 captured the title of Ms. Essence International 2013. This title is given to one out of the five division winners from 2012 that had the best overall year and is chosen by the Board of Directors.
LaFonda Dandridge Parham is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She is a wife, a mother of four beautiful and extraordinary children, a businesswoman, an ambassador, an advocate and a volunteer in her community. Prior to running Heating & Kooling, LLC with her husband she worked at the Virginia Department of Health Professions for the Virginia Board of Medicine. She and her husband run their own, thriving HVAC Company, Heating & Kooling, LLC. She is also the founder and CEO of New Blissful Cosmetics, LLC. She is a trained ambassador for the American Diabetes Association and has coordinated ambassador trainings in Richmond, Virginia for project POWER. She facilitated and started first annual Bring Your Tennis Shoes to Church Day, and facilitated and coordinated a team for Step Out Walk through the American Diabetes Association. LaFonda is a member of National Association of Women Business Owners National and Richmond Chapter.
She received her Bachelor’s degree from George Mason University in Public Relations. She then went on to receive her Graduate Certificate in Business Administration from Strayer University. 
LaFonda always knew in her heart that she was put on this earth to make a difference in the world. She didn’t know that her mission would come from a very personal place. When her husband was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2011, the very next night after giving birth to their fourth child, she was determined to help her husband conquer diabetes.
LaFonda’s passion is her devotion to spreading the message of diabetes prevention and awareness worldwide, in honor of her husband, in which she draws her inspiration and ignites her passion to encourage him and others all over the world to FIGHT diabetes!  She is passionate about finding the missing millions who either are diabetic and unaware of it or that are pre-diabetic and able to prevent the diagnosis through various lifestyle changes.

In addition to promoting her platform, Making Strides to Diabetes Prevention, LaFonda is a trained ambassador with the American Diabetes Association with Project Power, where she engages in the in a variety of year round activities, that provide lessons which improve the health of those members living with diabetes, their families and the greater community as well. She is a member of her church’s Health ministry, and a member and Chaplin of her church’s Liturgical Dance Ministry. She has also ministered through dance in the play “God’s Trombones” for two years. LaFonda is a very active volunteer with HandsOn Greater Richmond with the VA Food Bank, assisting in the distribution center by sorting donations and restocking supplies, the Chimborazo Family Food Pantry in partnership with the Virginia Food Bank hosting a monthly mobile food pantry that serves over 200 families with healthy food. On April 26, 2012, LaFonda was honored by the American Diabetes Association for her contributions to the community as an ambassador for the American Diabetes Association in Richmond, Virginia.
She is also a team captain for the Step Out Walk, being held on October 12, 2013 sponsored by the American Diabetes Association.
LaFonda believes that her time on this earth is a time of purpose and fulfillment to others. She wishes to leave a legacy for the generations to come and to inspire others to “Live your life so that others may be fulfilled”.
During her reign LaFonda is committed to promoting her platform Making Strides for Diabetes Awareness and Prevention. She hopes to inspire others with the story of her life and show them that they too can FIGHT diabetes! LaFonda is also looking for opportunities to promote businesses and individuals through appearances locally and nationally.  Please contact Sue Drakeford at if you are interested in having Ms. Essence International 2013 at an appearance. 
About the Pageant
The Essence Pageant system was created by Sue Drakeford in 2007 The Essence Pageant system signifies the “Essence” of Today’s Modern Woman, striving to be the most stylish, urban, trend setting pageant around.
The Essence Pageant System awards five different categories to celebrate women of all ages: Teen, Miss, Mrs., Ms., and Mrs. Classic Essence. For more information about the Essence Pageant, please visit:  To book LaFonda for an appearance at an upcoming event please contact Sue Drakeford at or call 888.876.6555 Ext 4.

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