As I watched Miss America this past Sunday, I was in awe of how those young ladies just got out there and rocked it. I can only imagine the hard work and dedication it must have taken to land on that stage in Atlantic City. And to perform, not only for a room full of people, but for the entire country, is no small feat.
Kudos to you, Miss America participants! Better yet, kudos to all pageant participants.
It’s not easy getting out there and doing what you do. Trust me, I know #thestruggle. Having been in two pageants myself, and a former Toddler’s and Tiara’s spectator, I’m pretty much an expert when it comes to them.
Which I’m sure is evident, given that my pageant track record currently stands at a laughable 0-2. Yes, my expertise with pageants have all but guaranteed I will never strap on those rhinestoned slingbacks again. Let me take you back.
Pageant #1 – Junior Miss
The summer before my senior year of high school, I
was coerced happily participated in my county’s Junior Miss program. I prepared all summer long practicing my interview skills, perfecting my dance routine and making sure I was ready for opening night. I was in it to win.
Except I didn’t win it. Didn’t even make it past the first round.
Even though my dance routine to ‘Sister’s are doing it for themselves’ turned out pretty well (I fell flat on my face, literally, during dress rehearsals), it wasn’t enough to save me. I had already successfully bombed my interview, accidentally flung my shoe offstage during an opening number routine, and overall, was just not Junior Miss potential.
But hey, at least all that money was spent towards…
Nope, waste of money.
Pageant #2 – Beauty Walk
During my last semester of high school, I was a participant in my school’s Beauty Walk, a pageant specifically for senior girls. Taking into consideration my failed attempt at pageant life the previous year, I was not keen on doing another one. However, a faculty member that I highly admired convinced me to give it a try, so at the last minute, I took my heels out of retirement and signed up.
Now for this pageant, I prepared a little differently than the last one. And by differently, I mean I didn’t prepare. Like, at all.
Besides making sure I would turn heads in my fan-tas-tic purple gown, I couldn’t be bothered with anything else. And why would I? With 90+ girls competing, there was no way I was winning. There was no money, or an actual prize that was useful. And because I was one of the last girls to sign up, I was given the second-to-last number and took my place behind everyone at the back of the stage. Which meant that I couldn’t clearly be seen. Which meant I goofed around and sang along with our intro song, courtesy of Shania Twain, circa 1997.
Da-na na-na na-na na – let’s go girls.
Other than a fellow participant stepping on (& ripping) the train of my dress backstage (AND I STILL THINK YOU DID IT ON PURPOSE), the start of the pageant was smooth sailing. Until I made Top 30, which took me completely by surprise. But even then, I was still having fun. We only had to speak if we were chosen to be in the Top 11, so I was cool, calm and collected. And so the pageant continued on and the Top 11 was announced. And guess whose name was called?
Now how did this happen? I literally did nothing but walk across a stage, and I was chosen as a finalist. After the initial shock, I realized that my lack of preparation had come back to haunt me. You see, we were given a sheet of potential questions a few days before the pageant, but surprise surprise, I didn’t look at them. All I could do at that point was grab a random question sheet (Lord only knows what I did with mine), and frantically skim over them before I was called back on stage.
And then it was my turn. Let us pray.
SB: “The best advice I was given is to always stay true to yourself. I –“
Nothing. Mind blank. Silence ensued.
Followed by more silence.
SB: “…so just stay true to yourself. Thank you.”
At that moment, I gave Miss South Carolina Teen USA a run for her money. To the surprise of no one, I didn’t win, or break through to the Top 5. Can’t say I didn’t see that one coming.
Like I said, 0-2. Pageants just aren’t for me, so I can appreciate those who love them.
So again, I say kudos to you pageant participants. Kudos to you.
“Besides, you don’t have to show off for Jamie, just be yourself. Be yourseeelf. Be yourseeeelf. Be yourseeeeelf.”