Friday, June 1, 2012

What I Learned from Pageants

Sunday is the Miss USA pageant!! Yeahhh!!!

It's the Superbowl of pageants.  It's technically a step above that, since there is a higher probability of your son competing in a Superbowl then your daughter walking on stage at Miss USA...either way it's exciting.

If you've been reading the blog for a while you may know that I'm a pageant girl. I had a illustrious 20 year pageant "career", but I never achieved my biggest goal of making it to Miss USA.  It's bittersweet, but as you'll see below what I gained from pageants was vast and aside from certain "bad eggs", I have nothing but positive things to say about pageantry.
Since it's Friday and I like alliteration here's the Friday 5:
Five Things I Learned from Pageants
1. How to Speak in Front of People

Public speaking is many people's biggest fear and handicap. Pageants force you to face this fear head on.  You speak to a room full of impressive judges in the interview and in many pageants answer a nerve-wracking on-stage question.  If you're lucky enough to take home the crown your year will be filled with many more speaking opportunities.

True story - I was asked on stage, "If you could be any kind of candy bar what would you be and why?"
I believe that when it comes to public speaking, the more you do it then the better you become.  I was given many opportunities, including my sports host job at Disney, because I was comfortable and confident speaking in front of people. I 100% credit this to pageants and the presentation skills I was coached on there.

2. You ARE Judged on Your Appearance

This is an ugly truth of the world, but I'm not talking about facial beauty.  I'm talking about how you put together the whole package and how you come across to people.

Through pageants I learned how to "put myself together" to portray the image of a confident, successful woman.  When it comes to a job interview or the business world, appearance in terms of looking neat and professional matters.  Pageants made me acutely aware of this.

While most days I'm in workout pants and a tank top, when I need to be dressed appropriately I can promise you I am.  My hair and makeup will also reflect a professional nature.

In a pageant you are judged from head to toe.  From your hair to your makeup, your outfit, your earrings, your shoes.  It makes you aware of the little things that matter.

3. You have to BELIEVE in yourself.

When you step on stage in a pageant you better believe in yourself and believe you're going to win. If you don't, you are already sunk.

You may think I'm being extreme, but that attitude comes across in your eyes and stage presence.  Watch Miss USA on Sunday, from the opening introductions you can see who's "in it to win it" and who is just there for the "experience."

My 1st year at Miss Florida USA I was out of my league.  That's true. I mentally had no faith in myself and when they started calling the Top 15, I knew I wouldn't be in it.  I had given up on myself even before the judges had a chance.

How does this apply to real life? I believe in the power of positive thoughts. If you want to do something, then KNOW you're going to do it. Say out loud that you will achieve it. Visualize yourself reaching that goal.
If you don't believe in yourself then how can you expect anyone else to?

4. Don't Worry About Anyone But Yourself

Pageant girls play "head games". I'm sure you're shocked...(sarcasm). You can show up to a pageant with the goods to win and then through the course of rehearsals and prelims, totally lose your steam.  Why? Because you were worried about what the other girls were doing and not yourself.  Betty Sue may have the most gorgeous dress you've ever seen, but you obsessing over it won't change her dress or yours. It will make you lose your focus.

Regardless if it's a pageant, a marathon, or a job interview you can only worry about you. You've done everything right to be prepared.  You can't change what others will do, but you can make sure you do your best.

5. Your Hair Can Never be Too Big
5. Mean People Stink.

Mean people exist. In pageants. In life. Please don't be one of them. I could tell you horror stories of pageant sabotage on the part of contestants and ever sadder, directors. But why? You know that life's not fair.

Here's what I learned from pageant in regards to this. And my Mom. Mom was big on this.  Always carry yourself and act with dignity and respect. Then at the end of the day, no matter what happens, you can walk away and feel good about what you did.  People remember class.  I guarantee it.

Come Sunday night Kyle and I will be snuggled on the couch with our wine and Miss USA picks ready to go. We always play along and he always wins. This is the first time in about 8 years that I don't personally know someone competing. That's how I know I'm getting old.
I look forward to Miss USA night, but a part of me is always sad.  I wanted that. Unfortunately, so do the 51 girls on the stage. There's only 1 crown.  Game on.
Where am I?
Do you watch Miss USA? What do you think about pageants?

Love and Regalia,
Carissa & Kyle

Check out my other pageant related posts:
- Miss USA Bodies: Inspiration or Frustration
- Miss USA Night 2011
- Judging America's Perfect Junior Teen