Every frustrating thing people get wrong about beauty queens

‘We’re more than a pretty face’

“Your head was off, do it again” These were words that my pageant coach used to say to me over and over again until I got my head alignment correct when I did step-step turns.

It was not until I started indulging myself into the pageant world that I really understood the things it took to actually call yourself a beauty queen.

After competing in a number of pageants, I have started to make a long list of  the things people always get wrong about beauty queens:

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No, we are not considered a sport, but we definitely have to train like we’re in one

We go to the gym, we eat healthy, we have a coach, and we even go to training sessions. Many girls who compete in pageants have to learn a talent, master the art of public speaking, be up-to-date on current topics for interviews, nail a Miss America walk in 5-inch heels (it’s harder than you think), and even learn how to do proper facial expressions for theme wear, talent, on-stage beauty, etc.

You don’t have to be a size 0 to be beautiful

Many people are blindsided by the idea that in order to be considered beautiful you have to be a size 0, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Pageants are not judged on your jean size, they are judged on your poise, personality, confidence, and the look of the dress on you. Pageants were made to make ALL women of different races, shapes and sizes feel beautiful.

We make friends not competitors

I was so fortunate to have made so many friends at my last national pageant. We never once bragged about past titles or tried to sabotage each other’s chances of winning, but rather we came together as sisters discussing our advocacy, exchanged phone numbers in case one of us was in the others town, helping one another when a dress zipper broke, and the list goes on. All of us are here for the same reason and know that whatever happens is out of our control.

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No, our lives do not revolve around pageants

Just because we consider pageants as our hobby does not mean that is all we do with our lives. We may like to do a photoshoot or two, or maybe go to pageant dress expos, but we also like going to a football game, or taking karate lessons. Not to mention a few of us actually play sports on top of being a “beauty queen.”

We are truly more than just a pretty face

Many people think that the only thing you win in a pageant is a title and a crown, but we win so much more. We win an opportunity to represent our hometown, our school, and even an awareness group of our choice (mine is suicide awareness).

Yes, we do like to look nice when you see us at parades, public events, etc. because to us we are the face of something bigger than ourselves and we take pride in what we stand for.

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No our parents didn’t force us to do this

Yes, our mom may have entered us into the local elementary school pageant when we were younger, but it is certainly not their fault we compete in them. Parents are supposed to help us discover what things we love in life whether it be softball, video games, or pageants.

After my mother let me compete in my first pageant, I knew I wanted to keep doing them because they made me feel beautiful. I constantly catch myself at the age of 19 still begging my mom to let me do my local county pageants because I love them so much.

Pageants make us feel “confidently beautiful”

My favorite part of doing pageants is the moment when I first walk on stage, and I know all eyes are on me. I don’t feel like I’m being judged or critiqued, but rather admired, beautiful, and confident. I love getting to be a “princess” for a day by getting my hair done, having a spray tan, and wearing a breathtaking gown. Don’t forget that mega confidence boost you get if you’re fortunate enough to take home the crown.

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Moms – let your daughter be in pageants, let her feel like a princess, and let her know that no matter the outcome, she is still beautiful, smart, and hardworking – and no score sheet could ever take that away. Encourage her not to give up her dream of winning a crown and remind her that her hard work will pay off.

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Clemson University