Throughout my pageant career, I’ve always gotten the question, “why did you start?” and it’s always been the same answer; I watched Miss Congeniality too many times, saw info on Miss Altamont Fair, wasn’t eligible, googled pageants, signed up for the first one I found (Miss NYUSA) and the rest is history. But lately, the question has been, “so why do you direct?” Here’s the rundown on how that happened…
I love event planning. It’s such a passion of mine that I’ve always considered taking wedding planning courses to be certified as a part time thing or starting a business if teaching never worked out. I truly love to plan things and events and planning the pageant is so much fun (and stressful at times, but mostly fun and very rewarding). From the little details like the door tags to bigger things like sponsor bags and trying to coordinate an opening number, planning makes me happy.
I love giving. Anyone who knows me well knows Christmas is my favorite holiday because I just love to give. Or ask my boyfriend; he will tell you that I buy him things all the time just because, because I love giving and I love to spoil. By directing a pageant, I can enjoy my love of giving, just because I enjoy making people smile.
Girl Scouts. Back in the day, I was a Girl Scout for about 10 years. Being a Girl Scout was such a positive experience for me, and in my college years, I wanted to be a Girl Scout leader. I didn’t have enough time to run meetings, but running a pageant for me is like being a Girl Scout leader without the difficulty of meetings, but still building a sisterhood and completing service. And might I add, the Spirit sisterhood is strong. (Shoutout to my old troop leaders; you’re inspirations)
I love pageants. Obviously a no brainer. I’ve learned so much in my five years of competing that I started this pageant as my way of giving back to the pageant community that has taught me so much. Some have called me a crown chaser. I do admit I have competed in probably 10 different systems, in addition to smaller pageants. But I did that to see what each system was like, how they differed, and if I could find one I would go back to. I learned a lot from jumping through various systems. And I didn’t win any of them so I didn’t think it was a problem to compete in different ones. And if I did, I would stay loyal to the title. Especially being a director, I’ve learned the value and respect of being loyal to a title after seeing what directors do for everyone. But, I just love pageants. Deciding to start competing was the best decision I could’ve made. Tied with directing, of course.
I’ve had negative experiences. I’ll be honest, I’ve done some BAD pageants. And these aren’t bad because I didn’t win. They were bad because I spent a lot of money to get a director not know my name the entire weekend (and I’m not talking USA, I’m talking a small pageant with just a few in my division). Or bad because the directors were talking horribly about their current titleholders in front of all the contestants. Bad because it was straight up rigged and every single person walked away confused. Bad because the directors didn’t care about the contestants, they only cared about putting on a show. While I have had more positives than negatives, I’ve had experiences that I regret and I wanted to be the pageant to change what I’ve seen. I want to be the pageant that makes you forget about any negative experience you’ve had.
I’ve had positive experiences. There have been a handful of amazing individuals I’ve met while being a competitor that are my inspirations. Laura, former director for Miss Hudson Valley/Westchester; Rene, long time pageant director and owner of Beauty It’s Everywhere, and Stacey, pageant coach and director of New England’s Perfect, are just a few of the many. Each of these individuals truly cares. They don’t have ulterior motives, they don’t try to scam you, and they are very pleasant and friendly people. These are individuals, among others, in the pageant community that I look up to, respect, and strive to be like. Inspirations behind starting my own. In addition to positive directors, I’ve met more ladies than I can count that have turned into sisters and friends. Pageants shouldn’t be catty, so I created a system based around friendship.
I love to do my own thing. A few people and other directors have asked why I started my own system instead of just teaming up or directing for one already well established. Few reasons for this; I enjoy working at my own pace, I don’t want to deal with franchise fees, or charge people ridiculous amounts to compete. I truly don’t see the idea behind that. I mean, I get why pageants want everyone to wear the same swimsuit or opening outfit, but in the long run, does that really matter? I would rather charge the minimal amount and let everyone who wants the chance to compete on a national stage be able to afford it and have fun in the process. I also don’t want to partner with anyone because I’ve seen way too many partnerships end badly, and honestly, I work better by myself. I play to my strengths, and working by myself helps me to focus.
I want to make a difference and inspire. At the end of the day, I just want to give girls positive experiences with pageantry. I’ve learned a lot in the last year and a half, and I’ve grown myself in the process. I know I haven’t had 100 percent success; try as I might, there will always be someone that didn’t have a good time, is upset they didn’t win, and not everything runs smoothly. I know there are people, and other pageants, that don’t support me, and that is okay. The pros always outweigh the cons. In one year, I have grown from just a small state pageant to a larger state pageant with a national pageant as well. I have over 35 active local, state and national titleholders. Every one of them is special and important.
I am a pageant director, I am proud, and I am #SpiritStrong.