My Reflections on Pageantry

So it’s back to being a civilian again.

The hairspray has been washed from my head, the spray tan has faded, the insane amount of war paint makeup has been removed from my face and I’ve been doing a lot  some guilt-free gorging on carbs, wine and more carbs for the past few weeks days. photo (13)

Miss Massachusetts 2014 has come and gone, and though I was not a finalist I still had an incredible and life-changing experience.

Backing up for one second…

Yes, you read correctly – I competed in a beauty pageant and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, then you know that I’ve been modeling for over ten years. The average person may think that pageants and modeling are similar, when in fact, they could not be any more different.

I’ll spare you the long list of differences, and just tell you that in short – pageants are concerned with selling yourself, while modeling is about selling the product.

pageant1Pageant girl                                                                                    Model girl

This does not necessarily mean that one is better than the other, just that they are both different.

Moving on…

I honestly never though I would compete in a beauty pageant. Paying an entry fee, teasing my hair up to the sky, spending thousands a lot of money on products, accessories and wardrobe while smiling for an insane amount of time - in a bathing suit - while wearing 5+ inch heels - with no beach in sight just never sounded particularly appealing to me.

On the other hand…

Having professionals choose my hair styles, makeup and wardrobe, walking with one foot directly in front of the other, keeping a straight face and owning a high-fashion designers runway (also known as, modeling) is what I have been successful at since I was 14.

pageant 2Model girl                                                                                 Pageant girl

It wasn’t until I was approached about competing a pageant, that I even considered the idea.

I’m actually quite surprised that my pageant coach (now, best friend) contacted me again after the response I gave her when I bumped into her at a local boutique. It was something along the lines of “HAHA, Me? Pageant? Thanks, but no thanks, I appreciate the compliment, but I am a model and that’s what I will remain.” and then I b-lined it for the exit.

Little did I know, that day was the beginning of my entrance into a world filled with hair spray, lip gloss, teasing combs, interview questions, teeth whitening, massive earrings, depletion plans and butt glue – yes I just said, “butt glue”. 

A world that has transformed me, opened my eyes and has truly made me a better person.

pageant4

Although I’m a creature of habit – I get bored VERY easily. I love challenges, trying new things and testing my limits.  After researching more about the pageant, I decided that maybe it would be something I would learn from and enjoy. I took my “why not? I’ll try anything once” attitude and flew with it. Best idea ever!

I competed under the USA system (not to be confused with the Miss America System), which is owned by The Miss Universe Organization and Donald Trump.

miss-universe

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The Miss USA and Miss Universe Organizations empower young women to pursue their intellectual and professional goals while supporting charitable foundations and serving as a role model for others.

The girls that I met throughout my preparation and during the competition are all goal-oriented, beautiful and inspiring people. I am so lucky to have them in my life.

pageant girls

It was unfortunate to see a lot of girls visibly defeated after the pageant ended. I don’t just mean a little hurt, I mean downright devastated after not making it to the next round of the competition.

It honestly made me more sad to see the tears gushing out of some girls eyes, and to hear the brokenness of their self-confidence in their voices after the pageant was over, than me not becoming a finalist.  As if the judge’s decision not to put a certain girl in the top 15 or 5 or whatever, was somehow an indicator that they are not as amazing as they are.

I didn’t win either, not even Miss Congeniality (that was a joke). Of course I was disappointed and sad. I wanted this just as much (maybe even a little more) as every other girl on that stage.

I put so much effort into preparing for this one day. I ate, lived and breathed pageants.

pageant girl1

Just to give you an idea of what went into my preparation…

I met with my coach on a monthly and weekly basis. I tested my “on-stage hair” and makeup regularly. My “pageant” walk gradually became my everyday walk. I worked out; drank gallons of water and carefully measured my intake of every food group. I spent an endless amount of time crafting the perfect weekend wardrobe. I drove miles to visit almost every sponsor, and I studied my interview questions more than I have ever studied for any college exam in my life.

Funny story: I even remember going on a few dates and treating them like pageant interviews. My face would light up when the person on the other end of the table unknowingly asked me one of my pageant questions. In theory, I probably should have just been happy that they were interested in hearing what I had to say, but instead I was more concerned with fitting in some real-time practice. What can I say – a true pageant girl in the making!

Some people were confused about why I was so content with losing, but as hard as it is for me to say this – it’s not all about winning.

pageant girl 2

The cold hard truth is that, your son has a better chance at making it to the Superbowl, than your daughter competing in Miss USA. Although it’s not impossible (nothing is!) it’s the truth. Do the math. Luckily, the Miss divisions age caps off at 26, so there are plenty of times to try.

I did everything in my power to prepare for this pageant. I did not stumble on stage or stutter in my interview. I was more than happy with every single wardrobe piece selection I made. My hair and makeup was perfect –  I truly felt like a million bucks when I walked on that stage, and I would not have changed anything.

In this pageant you get 3 minutes to speak to panel of 5 judges, and roughly a minute each of stage time to showcase your evening gown and swimsuit. A grand total of 5 minutes per girl for these judges to narrow the pool down from 80 to 15. That’s ridiculous!

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The common pageant saying “different day, different judges, different winner”, could not be more valid. No one’s beauty is diminished because a panel of 5 strangers did not pick you.

The personal growth, friendships and overall new sense of self that I have developed through participating in the pageant is priceless.

Every blister, headache, and soreness from smiling (not joking) was worth it in the end. I have never been happier before in my life and I know I have pageantry to thank for that.

I believe that there is a ”beauty queen” that lies within each of us. Sure, It would have been nice to have another sparkly accessory to add to my collection, however, what I gained from this experience has truly enhanced my life forever.

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“Never be scared to venture out of your comfort zone because you can be surprised at what you can accomplish and what you can learn from taking a chance.”

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Have a fabulous day!

 

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Comments

  1. Uhmmmmm, OBSESSED with your dress. So gorgeous. Great article on pageants. I’m not big into them and it was a great read.

  2. You go girl! So proud of you!
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