The National American Miss Pageant: Perspectives from the Eyes of a Judge

1 Jul

The panel of judges I had the pleasure of working with during the National America Miss Pageant held in Arizona.

Last weekend I had the honor of serving as judge for the National American Miss Arizona Pageant (www.namiss.com)  I’m fairly certain some people who know me thought I was front center of a Toddlers and Tiaras show, but nothing could be farther from the truth.  In reality the weekend was so incredibly fulfilling for me as I watched lives changes and young girls grow as a result of their involvement.  How can pageants have a positive outcome, some might ask?  If you are unfamiliar with pageants of this sort, I can understand the question, and I think I can answer it for you.  In life, we win, we lose and we grow.  Whether it be on athletic teams, job interviews, competitions, races, relationships or individual sports activities.  Losing is something we have to get used to.  Some might perceive this as a negative. Learning to lose gracefully and grow from the experience is one of the greatest strengths we can achieve.  Losing does not mean we are not worthy, it simply means this wasn’t our moment, and if navigated effectively a greater opportunity will take its place.  The key is being open to it.

I’ve personally learned to place myself in situations where I lose all the time.  I hear no a lot.  I’m often the least experienced, least educated and least qualified person in the room.  In being that person though I’ve surrounded myself with people I admire.  I feel fortunate to be among their company and I grow as a result.  If I didn’t challenge myself like this, I’d never move forward.  Pageants provide a safe space for girls to learn.  They gain skills in how to present themselves, how to communicate effectively, how to be poised and confident, how to give back, and how accept feedback.  If the only reason they show up is to walk away with a crown, then they are probably destined to fail, but if they show up to grow,  to learn, to make friends and to take in the full experience then they walk away filled with joy.

Being a contestant on a stage surrounded by talented women is challenging, I know firsthand from my own Mrs. Arizona America Pageant experience.  I now know that judging is even more challenging.  Every young woman who put herself out there deserves so much credit.  I saw something unique and special in every single contestant I met, and my hope is that each of them walked away from their experience feeling as if they accomplished something.

I left the weekend with one thought on my mind; those who are willing to fail achieve the greatest success in life.  Those who lose gracefully are the greatest winners of all.  Whatever it is you aim to achieve, whether it be in pageants, in careers, in school or life in general, go for all and don’t be afraid.  Remember that you are worth it, your time will come.  The words of my own pageant director will stick with me for a very long time.  “The right winner wins at the right time”.  Just because you don’t earn a title, doesn’t not mean you are not amazing.  I’m convinced that many of those young girls I met over the weekend will someday change the world, and in the end, that’s what truly matters.

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