I've met several girls and women who are eager to jump into the ocean of pageantry. I mean, who can blame them?! Who doesn't love the glitz and glam? Pageant hair decisions, pageant dress shopping and heel twirling coaching sessions are EXCITING! But here's the truth about pageantry, three things (there's certainly more but we'll get there), I wish I knew before I even knew what a stage was and the things you should probably consider before competing and trust me, you'll only need yourself for this one.
As you can see in the image above, your girl was weeping after capturing the crown. For many reasons though.
1. I DID it!
2. Lucy's (Lucy In Real Life) makeup application was amazing cause my beat did not move.
3. My mom was up and down that isle like a bouncing ball! (Low-key was shaming me but I love her.)
I walked onto the pageant scene in 2013 (I'll detail my pageant journey, one day), with a 1st RU Placement. I re-entered in 2014 and left with a 2nd RU Placement but 2015, guys, that was the year. I had taken another risk and had put myself in the position for either a win or another loss by pageant standards. But can I tell you that the losses were just as effective as the win to who I am today? Here's why!
One thing bout me, I had the wave aced. I better had considering! But there's a certain undertone that we don't realize is there.
When I decided to compete in 2013, it really was for the right reasons. I had participated in a lot of online beauty ambassador competitions and I had done a top model competition which I won, the year before. But for me, the real reason was because I wanted to have a voice, a platform, I wanted to lead. And I did. I did create a platform that made persons want to listen to me. Living in an inner city community, I wanted to be a role model for young girls. That was very important to me given that I didn't have a lot of women in my environment to look up to aside from my church family. But these desires aren't enough if you do not know yourself.
Oh, the internal.
Understand why you're doing it.
A lot of times, I hear young ladies say, "I want to do this to prove to people that I can". I'm not mad at it, I get it but in any sport, proof to yourself is the most important. Ultimately, if you believe that people don't rate you now, chances are, you can win the Superbowl and people will still hate. Now, I'm not referencing making your peers and family proud. I'm speaking more so to this idea that we'll do better if we can pie face our naysayers with a crown. Naysayers already have an idea of who you are in their heads. Most of those ideas are formulated and derived from their own inner shortcomings and insecurities that they so inconsiderately push on you. You don't need it but since it's in your face, you decide to take on a challenge that had nothing to do with you in the first place. Truthfully, if you decide to compete to just prove people wrong, if you don't win, wouldn't you be even more disappointed? They were already powerful in your mind before but NOW...
How many additional levels of "proving" are you willing to go through until you decide that, "I'm doing this for me"? And because you'll be doing it for yourself, your family, friends, goals and dreams will benefit from your development. That's the real win right there!
2. Don't count on the crown to make you happy or to automatically change everything in your life.
Okay, yes, you've heard us say, "This title has changed my life". And it really has, don't get me wrong. Pageantry really helps you to become thick-skinned (word to all of the pageant enthusiasts and pageant critics *cough* haters). And it takes you places that you never thought you'd go. You become more polished, refined and typically, more ladylike. However, sometimes, it can be easy to rely or depend on your pageant director or the title itself to magically make things appear for you. That was one of my mistakes. What I can say from my perspective without knowing what/who you believe in is that God really showed me that I couldn't credit anyone for the successes and accomplishments I'd have. Please note that I am not giving your pageant director a free pass to mistreat you or suck in general and neither am I saying that your title doesn't hold power because it does. What I am saying is that, if you allow God to show you how you can empower, inspire and uplift other people through your platform and character, the year will be way more fulfilling. My pageant year wasn't the best and although I can cast blame and speak to some things from others that I disliked, a lot of those moments that were disappointing were because of me.
My past self is shook right now at the admittance and transparency.
I certainly didn't think that then because far as I was concern, I was perfect and hardworking and everyone else didn't know what they were doing. Totally untrue and although we all had our flaws, that realization came with further character molding and maturity. Before you enter a pageant, have a mindset to see your wrongs and how you can make a situation better. This is also for your supporters, including your parents. They tend to take things far beyond the necessary when they don't have the understanding for themselves. I said, maturity not age.
3. Your pageant experience and outlook is totally up to you!
We stan an organization that puts into place onstage, personal and character development experiences, amazing photo shoots with great photographers, flawless marketing and one of a kind pageant events. WE STAN!!!
Me in the audience totally geeked!
BUT your pageant experience is your own. Meaning that, it is up to you to learn and additional development skills that will assist you not just in a pageant forum but in life. Pageants are hard! Joining workshops and seminars that cater to your development are a competitive advantage. Those are tools that will make you more knowledgeable and engaging. Different pageant systems have different categories, some include fitness. You can use your goals for the pageant as a fun bonding moment for you and your friends in group workouts.
Also, being the mean girl is not fetch.
Pageantry presents an opportunity for sisterhood, so it is okay to befriend your competitors. Just like you, they'll go on to do amazing things and you would have won a life-long friendship.
If you've competed more than once and getting the same results, it may be time to change your method. Be a contributor to an experience that will better you every single time. The difference between someone who competed, may or may not have won and someone who did it without any effort is obvious. Is your experience going to be the application form process and the pageant finale? What you fill yourself with and what the pageant itself gives to you will allow you to pour into others who may be interested in joining a pageant. And that will be why you can say...