What Pageants Taught Me.

So the view has ticked off all the nurses, and pretty much everyone in the medical field has got that covered. Nurses, paramedics, doctors, and more have taken the internet by storm putting the View exactly in its place which has been quite entertaining. However, I’m here to discuss a different issue.

Most of my blog readers have no idea that I used to be a beauty queen. It’s not something that I discuss much because it didn’t carry over into the important parts of my life. I became a title holder at eight years old (my first pageant ever to compete in, and I shocked my family and won) and from there on out that was my life. I was dancing four days a week, making appearances as my current title, and off competing at others. At the time it was great fun, because I was young enough for it to be fun, but I also had no idea what it contributed to the issues I battle today.

Little Miss Amarillo Haley Ann Lynn, 8, Amarillo, looks toward one of her mother's friends while holding a fan of Miss Amarillo Brooke Staudt in Amarillo during a Thursday June 21, 2001, bon voyage event for Staudt. Staudt is scheduled to participate in the Miss Texas Pageant, which will be in Fort Worth on July 7. (Photo by Michael Lemmons) NR2-EA-LIFESTYLES/PAGEANT2-ML.CMYK
Most people don’t really get a sense of what goes into a pageant. We’ve gotten a taste, or glimpse at Toddlers in Tiara’s or whatever the hell, but when you are the one getting put into gowns that takes three people to get you into, then you have no idea. Pageants take training up until the moment you go on stage. I remember being picked up from school exhausted, and it was a day where I went to ballet until seven that night, or I went and worked on my speech with a coach to make sure I was enunciating. We had to work on walking routines, and getting outfits together. Usually in a pageant it’s not just pretty dresses, but casual wear, talent, and evening gown. Opening speeches, and interviewing skills. As a nine-year old I was expected to sit in front of three strangers, and answer questions about myself, and the economy while being graceful. Stressful much?  I remember my eleventh birthday was not spent opening presents or celebrating, but more and more training for an upcoming and very expensive pageant that I was expected to do well in. It’s all pretty, and it’s all great until one little thing goes wrong. All this pressure you’ve stacked on a young person, the money, the outfits, the friends and family that are coming to watch…the pressure is enormous. A kid without a history of anxiety might develop it just from this. Quite literally, I would lose my shit at any given moment, and a lot of little beauty queens did backstage. You were surrounded by pretty girls competing to be the prettiest so that you could wear a crown. Even if you had a crown, you didn’t feel like the prettiest…there was always a bigger crown to go after with a new hair style, new approach, new outfit, new expectations, talents, or watching your weight.

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I do have two main great things that I take away from pageants; public speaking and interview skills. I can talk in front of a crowd without ever really being nervous anymore, and I can interview without freaking out. Those are two amazing skills to have in a business world that I learned at a very young age. Those are REALISTIC skills to have in your back pocket.

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With that being said, pageants are the furthest from realistic these days. They back their attacks with “we are a scholarship program” yet, you’re putting more time and money into these things than what the scholarship is worth. Oh yes, the fur coat, new cell phone, new car, diamonds and all must help that amount out, but you get those in your next year married to the pageant system. You don’t get a jump-start on your career, you get a makeover and a crown. I’m tired of seeing a swimsuit competition. I mean really? You win this “scholarship” because you have the best tan and abs!! Um, NO!! I’m tired of seeing thousand dollar gowns…aren’t you needing a scholarship for your education to begin with? Why not put that money into a few semesters of college instead of a gown?

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What literally made my jaw drop the other day was to hear people criticize this Miss Colorado for going onstage in a nurse uniform. This chick has a wonderful career (why are you in this pageant again?) and wanted people to see that. Working your ass off for a career where someone’s life is literally right in front of you is a fucking talent. It’s a realistic talent. She was real. Instead, she was criticized because she wasn’t twirling around the stage, or singing, or throwing batons. I quote from Michelle Collins, “Talking about your job isn’t a talent.” So, my dad saving lives for over thirty years isn’t talent? I would love to see you get on an Ambulance, start in IV, deliver a baby, assess a patience’s needs as they are dying. So, the only talent that could ever be a talent is singing, or dancing, or acting I guess. I DONT FUCKING THINK SO. Everyone was born with a different gift, and our talent and purpose is to USE this gift. Miss Colorado was knocked because she was successful. She was not the idealistic Miss America…just a beauty queen.

Pageants taught me a few great skills that I will always be thankful for, and sometimes they really were fun. Pageants also taught me that I need to be better looking, have straighter teeth, prettier hair, more expensive dresses, and finally, after I thought I was done, pageants taught me that being successful is not to be valued, and is not lady like.

-haley.

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