“Just another pageant girl” – Let me start off by explaining how much I truly dislike that statement.
Unfortunately, beauty pageants and those who compete fall victim to a very negative perception in our society. Having competed in a few pageants myself, I have heard it all. In fact, if I had a penny for every bad comment I have heard regarding pageants, I would be a millionaire! So, I think it’s time to debunk some of those stereotypical comments and tell the truth. Now, please keep in mind this list can go on and on and on, however, I am going to narrow it down to the most common statements and then give my explanation of why I believe they are absolutely untrue and why pageants truly make a difference in one’s life as well as in their communities.
1. Oh, you compete in pageants? You must be an airhead (or dumb, stupid, lacking common sense, etc).
Soooooo untrue! Let’s start off with myself. I graduated high school in the Top 10% of my class. Was involved in many extracurricular activities. Went on to have many scholarships for an undergraduate degree and even continued my education, ultimately obtaining a Masters degree. I currently work for one of the top Fortune 500 Pharmaceutical Companies and continue to be involved within the community. In fact, I even sit on the board for one of the largest non-profit organizations in Broward County. I have been interviewed for being an inspirational lady for due to my professional and personal achievements, been nominated as an influential person for business magazines, and have had the opportunity to share my story of struggle, growth, and achievement to those young and old!
Yes, I admit I am an overachiever, however, all of my close friends that also compete or have competed in pageants share much of the same background. Their careers range from business owners, to being an international spokesperson, to lawyers, teachers, etc. Some have families and are involved in their children’s extracurricular activities, and many of them also share the same passion in helping the community through charitable organizations.
So, no. Although it may be surprising, pageant girls are actually very well-rounded in their personal, educational, and professional lives. This is why so many of them are considered great role models!
2. You’re a pageant queen? Wow, you must have the perfect life.
What exactly is a perfect life? To me, the perfect life is what you make it out to be. No, I don’t go to bed wearing make up (well, maybe mascara because I can never get it off), I don’t wear fake eyelashes every day (in fact, I truly dislike fake eyelashes altogether), and I don’t spend hours doing my make up and making sure every piece of hair is sprayed into place every morning. I love to lounge around in oversized tank tops and shorts, I still get nervous before I stand in front of large crowds, and at times, can be very insecure and self-conscious. Yes, I do go to the gym but truly have terrible eating habits. And quite honestly, I’m a terrible cook.
What am I trying to say? I’m just a normal person. I do make appearances and at times, wear a crown on my head, but in the grand scheme of life, I am just a person. I laugh, cry, and being the girl I am, completely over-analyze everything. So, I have never understood why so many people think that those in the pageant and/or modeling industry have the perfect life. It’s a job, just like any other. Takes time and commitment and a lot of hard work. Involves a lot of rejection and disappointment. And, at times can actually be a little overwhelming because of the negativity that you have to hear. But with anything, keeping a core circle of friends and having your family by your side, helps you remember that the negativity doesn’t matter and helps you to remember what does matter.
In short, I can say I do have the perfect life. I have MY perfect life. With the same trials and tribulations that everyone experiences. With the same joys and excitements. I sometimes spend Friday nights alone with my dog. Get stressed with work. And often times laugh at my own jokes because no one else finds them funny. But life is short and is what you make it to be…and I refuse to live by anyone else’s definition of perfect, except for mine (as quirky as it is).
3. Pageants are just there to exploit girls.
Again, I disagree! In fact, I believe just the opposite. Pageants are meant to build confidence, teach personal acceptance, and truly help bring out the best in those who compete. Learning to embrace your flaws and imperfections in front of crowds while on a stage is terrifying, hard, and at the same time such an ego boost. No one is perfect. Period. And putting yourself out there to be judged by all truly creates a level of self-confidence that is translated through so many other aspects of life. Learning to not be afraid of crowds, learning interviewing skills, public speaking, poise, and the sportsmanship skills that are taught by competing in pageants play an integral part of every aspect of life at any age!
Furthermore, pageants isn’t all about beauty. It truly is about making friends. About empowering each other. And about giving back in the community. Learning about the struggles that each girl is trying to bring to the forefront through their platforms and through their charitable organizations is such a powerful part of pageantry that often times gets forgotten; but is ultimately the backbone of why pageants exist.
Now, keep in mind, these are just my thoughts. I am well aware that many people will disagree and am aware that this may not change everyone’s mind about what pageants stand for. I wouldn’t even be surprised if I get some e-mails about it. But, if it changes at least one person’s thoughts, then kudos to me. Pageantry is a sport like any other. And whether or not that crown is taken home, if you feel good about your performance, have pushed yourself to a new limit, and made some friends along the way, then you truly have experienced what the meaning of pageantry is all about.