Pageants and I go way back. I feel like I am a part of one of the original groups of pageant gals. I started competing in 1998. (you can do the math I still look 12)
It all started when my grandmother received a letter in the mail, addressed to my mother. All she did was ask if I wanted to be try it out. I said yes.
We weren't sure what we were getting into, my mom read every single rule and guideline, I believe three times. (more like 20)
I competed, and was so excited, I said I wanted to be a prima ballerina for my introduction. (following me so did every other contestant) I won the "Thank You" card award. When I heard my name called I thought I won the pageant! I was so excited! My first ever trophy!
I didn't win but all together it was a great experience... the stage, the lights, the FOOD! My mom asked if I wanted to try again.. of course I said yes. She has more of the pageant bug than I do.
Three years later. I won my first title Miss New Jersey American Coed Sweetheart. I was 10. The pageant system is now called MAC or Miss American Coed. When I competed in the pageant we simply called it Coed. It was THE pageant to win. After winning your state you had the opportunity to win the national title. Miss American Coed Sweetheart. Being that it was my first time as a state queen, I didn't fully put my head in the game to win the national title. But I did have fun representing NJ.
Winning the sweetheart title really opened my eyes to what pageantry was like. I like to call it the good ole days. Being a queen is a job. For one year. You have duties, responsibilities, you're a role model, a public figure. There is a lot that goes into being a queen.
I have 28 titles! I've competed in so many pageants, some stories are fun, dramatic, unapologetic, amazing, and some ... unfortunate.
I love my journey with pageants... if it weren't for pageantry I would not have met my talent manager and become a commercial and print model. Pageantry helped me with creating my own pageant Miss Newark USA. (another one is coming)
Pageants are one of the many reasons why I am a studio owner, entrepreneur, and business woman. If you're interested in my full list of pageant titles feel free to check them out on my "about" page.
My piece of advice for young ladies who are thinking about competing... Don't go big. Unless you've done your homework.
What I mean by that is don't spend too much money, and then never want to do a pageant ever again. Start off small. There are so many pageant systems right now. All you have to do is google "pageants" (or compete in Miss Newark USA hint hint)
Do the homework on a smaller scale pageant, attend a pageant, interact with contestants, the directors, staff, or anyone. Get a feel for it before you dive in.
Pageants are very expensive, a lot of women have to find sponsors and receive donations. So really think about the pageant you'd like to start off with before you spend any money.
Coaching is necessary for some not all. If you are able to attend a pageant, like what you see, and have the confidence to get out on a stage and present yourself to an audience. I personally don't feel a coach is necessary. However if you are on the opposite side of that than yes. Find someone that is right for you (or me hint hint)
My coach is my mom. She can whip me into shape in no time for any event, pageant, or gala. If you're mom is awesome than let your mom be your coach!
In the end, everyone has a different pageant experience at EVERY SINGLE PAGEANT. Some compete in only one system until they win or age out. I say go for it. You never know what could come of it. Pageants are a part of me, and I love expressing my love for them with others. Pageants help you with so many life skills. Compete. You won't regret it.