January 5, 2020, I had the privilege of emceeing Distinguished Young Woman of Louisiana scholarship program in Mandeville. It was my second-year emceeing and it was super fun, as always! It was so great to visit with a new class of DYW girls who were all super talented and beautiful! Truly a great group of girls! But my favorite part of the day was helping the girls feel confident about competition. We were able to give answers, advice and support to all of them. We got to share our stories from our own year of competition and our experiences from nationals. We got to hear from the contestants and what they enjoyed from their weekend.
One question I was asked was how I got into speaking in public …. As the emcee, of course. I told the contestant that I’ve been doing it my entire life, and it was all because of pageants. Pageants have taught me to speak confidently in public and to bring pizzazz to productions. I’ve had to learn scripts in a short time, speak impromptu for tv & radio interviews & think on my feet for productions. You learn how to read the audience, keep the pace of a show, help create more energy for the performers and work well under stressful situations. I guess because I have done it all my life I’m super comfy with it that I don’t see all the “stressful” things that could pop up. I’ve been through it all.
But this emcee gig reminded me of all the things I’ve learned from pageants that I’ve been used well outside of just my career. Honestly, I was laughing the other day about what all I’m enduring while planning my wedding! I know it might sound silly but right now – that’s so where my brain is at! I feel like pageants have prepared me to plan a wedding and survive it!
Handling stressful situations (without crying!)
Surviving dress shopping (and staying within budget!)
Picking a makeup palette
Going through countless hair styles
Designing a memorable moment
Endless photo shoots (we even practiced poses!)
On wedding day, I know I’ll have to work through more stress and nerves, and probably not eat much. I’ll stand and smile for hours and take a ba-zillion lifetime photos. Funny, when you think about it. Pageants have helped me train for the crazy wedding day!
So back to the real topic – sharing advice. If you have a well-grasped knowledge on a topic, don’t hold back! Share your experiences. Help ease someone else’s stress by giving advice. That’s what we do in TCM. We created a pageant family to help share thoughts, ideas, and give support so that others can have positive experiences in pageantry. Too often in pageants, we let the word “competition” become a scary idea instead of considering “competition” to mean “friend.” How much MORE exciting would it be to see the girl you always compete with as your pageant friend where you can learn from each other and help each other grow, instead of “competition?”
If you’re only there to win a crown, then you’re competing for the wrong reason. Be a friend first. When you can connect with others, even without a crown on your head, that is when you’re ready to be a representative for an organization. So, remember to experience, share those experiences, and be a mentor for someone else. In a way, you’re passing down a piece of yourself to the next group so really, your pageant journey never ends. Leave your legacy by being a friend.