When the spotlight goes dim ...

Well things didn't work out for TCM at Miss High School America but I'm still over the moon proud of Christy. She really did a fabulous job on stage. She sparkled. She was - in my eyes - perfect. Perhaps the judges wanted a different fashion style. Perhaps they wanted a different evening wear. Perhaps they didn't connect in interview. I could sit here for days and name all the "what-ifs" or "could haves" but I would only drive myself bananas! So as the spotlight fades then goes dim, all I can say is - "Today wasn't our day, but tomorrow will be brighter."

Staring down the face of defeat is hard no matter how long you compete. It is always hard to not hear your name called. It is always hard to stand in some one else's shadow. It's always hard to think to yourself - "why didn't they like me?" It's hard to process that all that work, all the things your sacrificed, all that money, and all that energy was wasted. Well it wasn't wasted. This experience was a learning experience. It's an experience that, though very tough to swallow, helps mold you into the person you must become in order to step into the spotlight when it's your time.

When Christy didn't make top 15 I was heart broken. I saw the fire in her eyes and the determination to bring her best. She did! Hands down - she was amazing! But when she came in, I gave her a hug. So did Zeagler, and then - we had a moment. It was a heart wrenching moment when all the emotions you kept locked up come bursting through the barrier. I hardly ever show sadness to the girls because I have to keep a cool head, but there are times when even I can't hold back emotions. This was one of those times. I grabbed her and put her in a big bear hug and we sat down. She leaned her head on my shoulder and started to softly cry. I did too. I usually don't allow tears from my girls in such a public setting but this time I didn't care. She worked her butt off and she was sad. I told her to it was okay. Her sadness was soft, but heard loudly by my heart. Then, my own tears of sadness ran down my cheeks. I know this feeling all too well. I know the heaviness your heart feels when you are left behind. I know the gut-wrenching pain to go home with nothing. It flat out sucks. We softly cried together and I hugged her tight. I told her that even though today wasn't her day, I promised her that God had something much better than this in store for her. I told her that one day when she had that moment, she will look back at this day and be thankful that this day happened because of the important lesson or realization that came from this moment. I know she won't understand that right now, but she will later. I told her that I was proud of her. I told her to take her time and get it all out of her system. I told her to lift her chin because she had so much to be proud of. Then I looked into her eyes and saw her running mascara and laughed, and she returned a laugh because she saw my running mascara. Then her smile appeared, though briefly, she smiled. There was a flicker of light again.

The hardest part about competition is facing defeat with grace, and this moment determines who you are. Will you be mad and storm out? Will you smile and be happy for the new winner? Will you sit and pout? Will you shrug it off? No one really knows how they will react until it happens. Every reaction is natural and as you grow and evolve your reactions change, getting better to handle, even though the pain never gets any easier. Really, it's more about what you do next that people will remember.

When it isn't your day and your spotlight goes dim, you have to be your own bright light. Your family and friends will also be a bright light for you, but you have to love and accept who you are each and every day in order for that radiant light to shine through. Who knows when your light could be the spotlight for someone else?

Christy radiantes a love and kindness everywhere she goes and to all she meets. She will be a great Miss America one day. Though sad, she put that beautiful smile on again, along with her beautiful evening wear. We cut up backstage, had ice cream, ate granola, blow pops, and eventually .... we laughed. Finally, the spotlight came back on and we closed this chapter together. This isn't the last of Christian Louque that the pageant world will see. She will be back and I promise you will never forget her name, or her beautiful smile.