It’s pageant season! When most people think “pageant”, they think of the girl with the puffy hair, bleached smile, spray-tanned skin, and million dollar dress. They think of the girl who knows hardly anything beyond glitter and glam and the girl who places her hand over her heart and starts crying when her name is called as the title winner.
While you will find a few of those in the pageant industry, I’ll tell you that certainly does not make up the majority of the competing women. In honor of the Miss Utah pageant coming up, I thought I’d take a minute and talk about the greatest lessons I learned from the Miss America system.
- It is beautiful to be healthy. Of course you want to look your best, especially in the pageant world where you are on a stage performing in front of thousands of people. However, through pageantry I learned that it is critical to take care of yourself. Sleep is important in order to function properly and think clearly. Exercise is important to keep your muscles moving and and to keep your body in a good condition. And for heaven’s sake, eating is important too! Eating is important to keep your body and mind healthy. Being the skinniest girl on the stage is not the goal– being the healthiest version of yourself is.
- It is beautiful to be smart. In the Miss America pageant system, each contestant has a ten-minute interview with judges about personal beliefs, current events, and changes they want to make in the world. This is one thing that I absolutely love about the Miss America Organization, they love smart people! This pageant system encourages women to go to school and understand the world around them. It encourages women to form their opinion on tough subjects and be willing to share that opinion.
- It is beautiful to have courage. Whether your courageous act is to wear a swimsuit on a stage or to take a stand against a huge crisis in the world, the Miss America Organization encourages women to have courage. Confidence in your character, style, body, beliefs, and talents is key!
- It is beautiful to share your talents. Through this pageant system women are encouraged to find a talent and master it. Just about anything will count as a talent (including monologues, tap dancing, dramatic reading, ventriloquy, jump-roping, playing the violin, and so much more)! It is important to find something that you love to do and work to become skilled in that area. While physical appearance is important in the pageant industry, it is of greater importance to be well-rounded and passionate about more than just physical appearance.
- It is beautiful to be involved. This Miss America Organization loves service activities. Each contestant is asked to create a service platform and spend quite a bit of time over the year(s) she has a title doing service activities. Each contestant also raises money for the Children’s Miracle Network to help children in need. Through my involvement in the Miss America Organization, I have found a great love for service. Not only does it warm my heart, but service helps those around me and it can really connect a community.
I understand that typically “pageant girls” are thought of as women who only care about outer beauty. Let me tell you, there is so much more to pageants than looks and every “pageant girl” can testify to that! Pageants have taught me that beauty comes when one takes care of herself on all angles of life. Pageants encourage women to “build their beautiful” through health, education, confidence, talents, and service. I will forever be thankful for my time in the Miss America program and honestly, I encourage every single girl who is even remotely interested in pageants to give the Miss America Organization a shot. I have been amazed in the transformations that this system has brought to women all over the world.
(Please excuse the less-than-perfect quality pictures; I had a hard time finding the original copies!)