It’s A CHOICE!
Being a Pageant girl is a choice just like being a soccer player, being a mathlete, being a political advocate or whatever other interest you choose to give your time to!
As a Pageant girl, we are often approached by others who feel pageantry is outdated and sexist but why should we be labeled for doing something that interests us and that we enjoy doing? I have always found it unfair to be scrutinized by others for doing something that I enjoy and am passionate about. I am a Pageant Girl and I am proud to be a Pageant Girl! I am also a Soccer Girl, a passionate Volunteer Girl, a Sports Girl and so much more. No Pageant Girl is JUST a Pageant Girl!
People who have never been exposed to an authentic and structured pageant (there are some out there that are not legitimate) don’t realize the work, dedication and commitment that it takes and the lessons you learn from your experience.
My first pageant experience was with the Teen Ontario East Pageant organization – A Pageant with a Purpose. It is one of the only not-for-profit pageant organizations where all proceeds from the pageant production are donated to a childhood cancer charity. All of the directors, committee members and staff are volunteers. The pageant takes place over a weekend in April and leaves a lasting impression on everyone who participates. We have the opportunity to meet young childhood cancer survivors, hear their stories and we are introduced to various charities that support these young heroes. Many of the Teen Ontario East Alumni continue their charity work with these organizations long after pageant weekend ends. For those of us who are fortunate enough to represent the pageant as an Ambassador, we have the opportunity to work closely in a variety of capacities with many of these charity organizations. It is a life-enhancing experience to learn about these amazing kids and to have the opportunity to make a difference (no matter how small) in their lives.
Pageants also teach us valuable life lessons about competition and how to lose and win gracefully and with sportsmanship. Winning and losing is part of growing up; part of life and I think we need to expose ourselves to competitions of any nature to allow us to learn to win without boasting and lose without negativity . Pageants give us the opportunity to have this experience while wearing GREAT SHOES!
A sense of humor and having the ability to not take ourselves too seriously is a trait that I have certainly adopted while being involved in pageants. I think humor is an important part of a person’s dynamic and it helps you to laugh and find the humor in any situation. This is a great tool when walking across a stage in heels that you would normally leave in the back of your closet!
Public speaking is a tool that everyone will need to succeed in life. Confidence in yourself when speaking in front of others whether it’s in front of one person or one thousand people is one of the most positive results of pageant participation. As Pageant Girls, we need to stand up confidently, speak with clarity and passion and encourage others to hear what we have to say. It is a skill that will follow us through our university experience and into the work force.
Adapting to change and having flexibility to switch our focus is definitely a pageant trait and certainly one that will assist us as we venture off into the world. Life is not always going to move along without bumps in the road or a change of direction and learning to re-focus and accept change is a life skill that is clearly part of pageant life and one that will make us better leaders in the future.
One of the most common criticisms of pageantry is being judged by others on how we look, how we act and how we talk, but isn’t that what happens every day in the real world? Are we not judged constantly by others? We may not get an actual score from them, but are we not judged by our employers, our teachers and our peers? We definitely are! Pageant experience gives us the unique opportunity to prepare ourselves to be judged. We learn skills and acquire a confidence that allows us to deal with being judged and gives us the opportunity to develop the level of confidence to know that we are who we are and that we are confident in ourselves. This is such an important life skill!
I know how much I have grown since I first walked across the Teen Ontario East stage just 15 months ago. I am so proud of myself for filling out that application form, putting on my heels and walking across that stage.
Now, I am looking forward to the opportunity to represent my home pageant and my region at the Miss Teenage Canada Pageant. I shall be putting my best foot forward (in killer shoes) and I will be confidently rocking the runway with laughter in my soul!
In conclusion, pageants like any other interest or passion is a personal choice and others should respect our decision to participate and also respect organizations like the Teen Ontario East Pageant and the Miss Teenage Canada pageant that give us the pageant delegate opportunity.