Thursday, July 10, 2014

5 Reasons I support Pageants



I feel my mission in life is to empower girls to have strong self esteem and confidence. 
I have found many opportunities and avenues to fulfill this mission, but sometimes I get asked the question why I support pageants, if healthy self esteem is important to me.

That is why I am writing this post. 

1. Confidence - 

So much confidence can be gained through competing in a pageant. 
However, the misconception comes from thinking it is found in the outcome of the competition. 
THIS IS SO NOT TRUE!
Confidence is never gained automatically from winning a pageant, it comes from the preparation and the involvement beforehand. Whatever is put into the competition is what will be taken out of it. The more you push yourself, like anything in life, the more you realize how strong you are and that you are capable of just about anything you put your mind to. 
Confidence comes from doing something outside of your comfort zone. You will never know what you are capable of, until you try something new.

One other way you will gain confidence is by knowing that no matter what the outcome is, someone believes in you. This cheerleader could be a parent, sibling, friend, coach, grandma or you may even find out the person who believes in you the most is YOURSELF!! You may not believe in yourself now, but once you work hard at something, you will surely find that belief that was deep in your heart all along, shine through.

As I was I was competing in pageants, I noticed I would be thinking about what it would be like to represent a community in such an honorable way and it inspired me. So then I started to sit up straight, give out more compliments and act if I was already Miss Murray. The more I did this, the more that belief set in and I started to really believe I could actually be Miss Murray. I carried myself differently than ever before and this made my confidence grow immensely. You are what you believe you are! The more you believe, the more confidence you will gain.


2. Friends -

You will undoubtedly make so many friends through this pageant  process. You may even find mentors and role models along the journey. When you are competing in a pageant, you will find you are among girls that share common values and goals. You will meet people you never expected to be friends with and it will just click. 

There are so many misconceptions that just because this is a competition, it means you won't be friends, because of the competitive spirit. While I won't deny there are girls who get really caught up in the crown and this is the only thing that will matter to her, this is very uncommon.
For the most part, every pageant I have seen (which happens to be A LOT), friendships will be developed and these friendships I am talking about will last for life. It's like a sisterhood bond. 
Who wouldn't want that? 

The Miss Congeniality award is actually the most honorable recognition you could receive in the pageant, in my opinion. This is the award given to the girl who is the most friendly, helpful, loving and dependable girl. She is voted by her peers. It is amazing to me that this type of friendship is encouraged in pageants, as it should be.


3. Community Service - 

Community Service is the heart of a pageant. In the Miss America system, the contestant chooses a platform. This is a cause that the contestant chooses to volunteer time to, raise funds, implement a program or simply raise awareness of the issue that inspires her and usually hits close to home. 

When a girl is competing in a pageant, most people just think of a girl getting up onstage to parade in a swimsuit. It is SO MUCH MORE THAN THIS! A girl committing to compete in a pageant is a girl that has an endless passion for service. She is competing for a title that is going to allow her to raise awareness for causes that no one even thought of as issues.

My true belief is volunteerism and service is the strongest way a girl could build self esteem. Yes a girl can volunteer on her own without a pageant, and I encourage this strongly. But when she has more opportunities to serve or can use a crown or title as a way to open doors, this is truly inspiring. The contestant is going to have so many opportunities to serve her community in every way she sees fit. The Miss America program allows her to serve until her little giving heart will just soar. In fact, I believe a stronger passion for service will be born.

When I competed in pageants, I was able to hold a huge raffle for my platform, which at that time was Children's Miracle Network. To be honest, it was competing in a pageant that inspired me to do this. I don't think I would have had the idea or the motivation for all the work if I didn't have a second purpose behind it. I walked away feeling so accomplished and like I could do HARD things. All the organizing & planning that went into it also helped me gain communication skills that have been so beneficial to me.



4. Communication and Interview Skills -

It's always been a joke in the pageant world,  if you can handle a pageant interview with 5 judges who come from all walks of life, you can handle ANYTHING! Prepping for a pageant interview and answering on stage questions allows a contestant to gain skills that will benefit her for the rest of her life.
Communication skills develop, the more she works hard to prepare for what is to come.

I believe communication skills are very important for any girl looking to gain confidence. A pageant encourages her to get out of her shell and meet and talk to new people. A contestant will also be given several opportunities to public speak allowing her to feel comfortable in front of big and small groups of people.

The communication skills she will gain, will not only help her in the pageant world, it will also help her in all other aspects of her life; such as getting a job, public speaking, asking for connections, public relations and it will even enhance her normal every day conversations.

5. AND SCHOLARSHIPS - 

Scholarships provide an amazing opportunity for girls to carry on with her education when financial setbacks may not allow this. Scholarships are not just reserved for the winner, they are often given to several attendants as well as the winner of the Miss Congeniality award.

Scholarships encourage a contestant to take her education seriously. When a girl feels school is important, she does better in all areas of life. Education is so important for any girl wanting to develop strong self esteem and confidence.


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