I get this question all the time. From friends, strangers, and judges.
I’ve only been competing in pageants for two years. Prior to that, I played softball literally my whole life, from when I was 5 until I started college. I know what you’re thinking; how can someone go from something so rough and dirty to being a girly girl? I thought the same thing. Prior to pageants, I hardly ever wore makeup. At all. I was thin, but not fit.
I knew a few people that did pageants, and always wanted to maybe try it someday. So one day, while watching my favorite movie, Miss Congeniality (go figure) I decided to google pageants on my phone. I clicked on the first site that came up, Miss New York USA’s website, filled out the information, and applied. The next day, I got a call, and within the month, I had my interview down in Albany. On August 1, 2011, I was all set to compete for the title of Miss New York USA 2012, representing Clifton Park.
I definitely should’ve looked into pageants more before signing up for the first thing I saw, because of course I signed up and competed in the most expensive pageant out there. But at the time, I didn’t know any better.
I know I’m not the first pageant girl to say they’ve lost friends because of competing. It’s really hard to know who’s there for you, who just wants to be friends with you because of what you do, who is jealous, etc. I can unfortunately say that fall semester of junior year was one of my hardest, socially. I lost a few very good friends of mine in the process leading up to my first pageant, due to the fact they just didn’t support me. I was invited to less and less group things and plans, and eventually people just drifted. I also had people trying to blackmail me, and there were rumors circulating around my college that a few of my former friends were going to show up to my pageant and laugh at me, to which I replied, what would they even have to laugh at? I couldn’t believe that being in a pageant would result in being bullied.
Regardless of what was going on at school, I prepped best I could. I watched past Miss USA pageants on youtube to try and learn how to walk. I met some girls online that I saw were also competing, and I made some friends leading up to the pageant. Pageant weekend I didn’t make top 20, but I wasn’t expecting to. But the experience leading up to and during the event was the best I had ever had, and I was instantly hooked. Thus my pageant journey began. I’m thankful that my parents continue to support me throughout my pageant experiences. They don’t always understand everything that happens with them, and they were definitely confused when I said I was going to do one, but they’ve stuck by me 100 percent and for that I’m very grateful.
Here are just some other great reasons why I chose pageantry;
Probably a no brainer, but I now have that go-getter attitude and I just feel so great about myself, from my body, to my poise.
Pageant interviews are great for future job interviews, seeing as in a pageant you’re interviewing for the job of the titleholder. Thanks to pageants, I no longer speak using fillers (um, well, and, like), and feel confident going into teaching interviews.
I’m not sure how to explain it, but I’ve completely changed as a person in the last two years. I just feel like an overall different person. I have such a different outlook on life. I feel more poised. More confident. More like myself and how I should be.
I was definitely shy before competing, but not anymore. I learned how to network, and now am asked to participate in all sorts of charity events and fashion shows. I also go out and look for sponsors to help me when I compete. Needless to say I’m getting good at learning how to reach out.
Pageants have forced me to rethink my diet, but I’m so happy about that. I’ve slimmed down a good 20 pounds and 3 dress sizes in the last two years, and I’ve toned up. I am so proud of my hard work and trying to be the best I can be.
The best thing that I’ve gained from pageantry is amazing friends. I have met some of the greatest women in the world that I can call my best and closest friends. Friends that I call when I have a problem. Friends that I can stay with when I travel downstate. Friends that I love to compete with. Friends that act like a pageant coach. Friends that will be bridesmaids. Friends that I will have forever. Pageantry is definitely a sisterhood.
So…why pageants? These are just a few of the many things pageantry has given me. It’s so much more than “a beauty contest.” It’s not just what happens on the stage, but off the stage as well.