Five Things Pageants Have Taught Me

As of May of 2017, I have run in six pageant all together, winning two of them and collecting five awards! It has been so much fun and challenging since I started in 2013. Awards like Miss Congeniality, Best Talent Presentation, Miss Photogenic, and 1st Runner Up have all pretty much contributed to my growth as a contestant. But the “experience” of each of them have all taught me lessons that contributed to my growth as a person.

Here are five things that I learned from running in pageants

“You were born to be real, not perfect”

You know as a contestant you will be judged. If you are smart, you know the judges won’t be the only ones with eyes on you. This part of a pageant definitely adds a lot of pressure. Because I’m thinking of the directors and contestants who will also be observing my every move. (TIP: Remember leave the judging up to the judges. Stay humble!) This type of vulnerability tends to make you feel insufficient from time to time and trust me, you’ll find yourself trying to be someone you THINK they will like. But I always bring myself back to reality by telling myself, “You are loved because of who you are.” I’ve learned never try to alter yourself, but instead be the best version of you. And THIS is where I see the best results!

Losses are just as important as wins

I know it bites when you don’t win a title, but think about it! You now know the logistics of the pageant program you are pursuing! If it was your first time, you no longer have to fear the unknown when you try again! Yes, I am a firm believer in trying again and again. As long as it makes you happy and it fits into your goals. During your time vying for a title you start to become well known among the community as well as the committee of the pageant. This is your time to build contacts and continue to grow and learn!

Boundaries are your best friend

As a titleholder your job is to serve the community! But there are times when you can say no. Taking every appearance that comes your way could potentially burn you out. Quality over quantity! Also, since titleholders are selflessly giving themselves to an organization for an entire year it’s not uncommon to be potentially taken advantage of. Your duties are normally outlined prior to your reign so you know what to expect and the standards you must follow. But if you start to notice yourself being told to do things that wasn’t included in your contact and you're uncomfortable with it, speak up! Communicating your concerns to your director or committee will most likely get the both of you on the same page to fix the problem. Nine times out of ten they weren’t aware of your concern and it could easily be fixed. Just remember you have a voice and power over yourself. I guess what I’m trying to get at is know that your title is a job and should be treated as such. Keep your relationship with whomever you're working with as professional as possible, because mixing your personal life and professional life is never a good idea.

Months move faster than you think

Everyone knows when you consider vying for a title you MUST prepare. Most of the girls I know will say they practiced for 3 - 4 months, but realistically 6 months should be your minimum prepare time to feel confident at show time. This doesn’t mean you would have to have a specific practice schedule, but it’s your responsibility to find opportunities that will exercise your leadership skills. Speaking in front of crowds, modeling gigs, interviewing sessions, and even running for smaller titles! (TIP: That is my secret weapon!) When you take on a smaller title you learn and grow from your experience. Talk about having a whole year of PRACTICE under your belt for your dream title! PS: Don’t wait too long, because before you know it you could age out of your categories!

Do what makes you happy, unapologetically

Last, but definitely not least! Pageantry have become a major outlet for me to express my style, passions, and talents. After all you are the contestant! I know as contestants we rely on the help of our family and friends, but remember you should always have the final say. I remember first running in pageants and my talents were chosen for me and I rehearsed them so much, but never felt confident during my performance. It didn’t represent me and it showed in my presentations! So, if you have a goofy talent or a risky outfit that makes you grin from ear to ear, *Shia Labeouf voice* JUST DO IT! Let your swag shine and never apologize for it. You will see the crowd and judges respond to you so much more!

I would love to know, what has pageantry taught you??