I’ve done a lot of soul searching after directing a national pageant. I’ve honestly been in a bad place because I let some negatives outweigh the positives. I’ve let my niceness become my weakness. I dwelled on a few peoples unhappiness instead of the majority’s happiness. I thought about giving up and saying no more.
I’ve been competing for five years. It’s been great. I’ve lost more than I’ve won (crowns) but I’ve gained tons of confidence, speaking skills, and a lot of friends. I wanted to pay it forward by starting my own pageant. Most people only see the positives because that’s all I ever post on social media. What most people, contestants included, don’t know, is what really happens behind the scenes. I’m sure anyone that has directed a pageant can relate. I definitely have more respect for those I competed under after directing my own and seeing what actually goes into it, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
1. You might burn bridges
When I decided to start my own pageant a year ago, I was so excited. I had finally crossed over a threshold into something amazing and special. Directing my first pageant was a huge accomplishment, which led me to do another one on a bigger scale.
What I didn’t expect was to see the support I DIDNT receive from those that were actually the inspiration of me starting it in the first place. Directors that I looked up to stopped talking to me because I started taking contestants away from them. Is that my intention? Not at all. People (myself included) compete in all types of systems. They try one thing, then do another. I’ve been called a crown chaser before because I’ve done multiple systems. FYI, I do it because each pageant is different, and how do you know which one is right for you if you don’t try it?
Anyway, it’s really bugged me the fact that I feel like I’m competing with other directors. Aren’t we supposed to empower each other? Girls that have done mine are doing others. Should I stop talking to them now? Not a chance. Each pageant is different. Some are strictly for putting on a show. Some are for profit. Some are scholarship and charge hundreds to give hundreds out. Some are just to advance to something bigger. Mine is to create a family and give girls a low cost but fun experience. That is my mission and what I stand by.
2. Not everyone will be happy
I’ve learned that no matter what, not everyone is going to be happy. Directing a pageant is like planning a wedding where every contestant is a separate bride. No matter how hard I try, and lord knows I try, I will never make every single person happy. But, know that I truly work day and night to make this event a success and fun experience for everyone involved. Whether someone is upset they don’t win, have transportation or hotel trouble, wardrobe trouble…I need to just remember sometimes things are out of my control and I at least did everything in my power to give everyone a positive experience. Sometimes, things just happen. My weakness is that I care too much and need to realize that in an event with 25 people coming to it, it’s impossible to have 100 percent satisfaction.
3. Businesses will let you down
I almost didn’t have crowns or sashes for the national pageant. I had so many struggles I almost just threw in the towel. The sash company, that I’ve used for about a year now, made a few mistakes and tried to make it up by upgrading my other orders without my knowledge. I had already had a Miss national sash with a single row of rhinestones, and then they upgraded the rest I recently ordered to double. While that was nice, it wasn’t uniform. They told me to send the Miss sash back so they could add more rhinestones. Fast forward a few weeks later, I received the Miss sash back in the same condition I sent it in…
In October I ordered the last 4 crowns of the design I wanted from a crown company. They emailed me saying two that they had were cracked so they would send me the ones they had and order more for the next month. Fast forward to January when I still hadn’t heard from the company so I reached out. Turns out the company switched ownership, and my situation wasn’t communicated to anyone. I had to find my emails and paypal transfer to show proof. Obviously the crowns I needed weren’t ordered and if they didn’t I wouldn’t have them in time. So, I sadly had to change up my plans and use a smaller crown of the same design for 4/5 of my divisions.
4. Sponsors will not be happy
I really try to keep everything positive when it comes to the businesses that donate item for my pageant. I’ve only ever had one major issue, but because I take everything personally, it really hurt. My one sponsor from out of New York was not happy with the pictures I sent her, which included; pictures of all the girls from the contestant party, the winners, the sponsor table, girls using their products, the program book that had her in it, and the gift bags in my spare room as they were being put together. Alas, the woman was not happy. She “sponsored the gift bags” so that’s all she cares about. Over a month later I’m still not sure what kind of picture she wanted, but after sending a very nasty message to me, she deleted the photos I did send her from her social media. And that’s that.
5. You learn to take baby steps
I didn’t expect this pageant to grow overnight, but I also underestimated how some would view it. I reached out to quite a few people when I first started, because I needed to recruit and get word out. I got a lot of “no.” On the reverse side, I got an outpour of interest, but because I am not a Miss America or Miss USA local, most don’t think my pageant is worth it. Other pageants offer thousands in scholarship money or extravagant trips for the winners, but you need to pay at least $500 entry plus extras for optionals plus extra for an ad page. I try to offer the least expensive and fun experience with no drama and a fair event.
I have learned people will compete for the wrong reasons. People will sign up, then drop out. People will give a million excuses over everything. People will say they support you when they really don’t.
I am taking a step back to really think about things. I’m only 25 years old, I’m not someone with decades of experience. I am only into my fifth year of being in the pageant world. I am just someone wanting to help girls make a difference in the world. In doing so, I put my own money into the event. I don’t require mandatory ads or ticketing to the event, so in return, I’ve put a little of my own money into it. For those who think this is a money making part time job for me, you are definitely mistaken.
6. You will change lives
Despite the setbacks along the way, I’ve learned that I do have the power to change lives. I’ve been lucky enough to have over 40 girls compete with me in my two pageants, and I’ve had more than not leave happy with a positive experience. I have met amazing ladies. I have grown closer to those I only knew a little. I’ve made dreams come true. I’ve allowed girls to shine. I’ve created a sisterhood of friends. I’ve given ladies their first pageant win. And if I know that at least one girl has the time of her life, I know I’ve succeeded.