I was going to title this “So I did a thing…” like I didn’t want to admit to winning a pageant or something.
I started competing in pageants when I was in 8th grade I think, but I NEVER won. I always told myself it’s because I was chubby. Everyone would always tell me how beautiful I was on the inside. Sometimes I won Miss Congeniality, but that didn’t come with the same title and crown as the Miss. St. Croix Valley or Miss. International won. I wanted to be beautiful on the outside too. I was embarrassed to tell people that I did pageants, because I wasn’t the typical pageant girl.
October 2017 I did the Maine Lobster Queen Pageant. It was fun! I was the only woman in my division. I didn’t tell many people I was the Maine Lobster Queen, I felt silly saying “oh yeah, I won a pageant..I was the only contestant.” Only contestant or not, I felt like I proudly rocked my $12 JCPenney gown that I bought the night before.
Then, almost a year later, I was off to States. Ms. Maine American Women of Service. I was going to be competing against women of all ages with different life experiences. I was nervous. I’d been out of pageantry for so long that I wasn’t sure about anything! Sometimes self-doubt would get the best of me and my mom and pageant director Michele would tell me, you have what it takes. You can do this. I began to meet the women in my division. Each and every one of them with a different story. Each one of them with a kind heart. The caliber of women in my division was unsurpassed. They made me feel at ease immediately. I loved chatting with them and getting to know them.
Sunday was pageant day, I probably got about 5 hours of sleep. I felt like one of those Disney commercials–I’m too excited to sleep! I was excited and nervous all at once. I had my hair and makeup done. I was interviewed by four of the most friendly faced judges I have ever stood before. I had photos taken. Hair and makeup done for stage. Then the pageant began at 1pm. We were all nervous. I WAS NERVOUS. about 30 minutes before the pageant I needed a pick me up. Thankfully my fiancé is an avid football fan, so he sent me some Nebraska Huskers Football tunnel walks. My mom told me to breathe and my nieces and sister told me “you’ve got this.” I psyched myself up. I got busy chatting with the girls and trying to pass the time. We did our opening number. Ran back to change into our runway, rocked it on stage and then into gown, and it was over just like that. We were all called back on stage.
The women in my division voted me as Miss Congeniality! I was pleasantly surprised as I had nominated another lovely woman! I loved chatting with them, it made the weekend that much better!
Then they called the top four. I was in it! They called the winners, 4th runner up, 3rd runner up, and it was down to the last two. I WAS STILL THERE!
Chan and I grabbed each others hands–like you might have seen on Miss America. Yes we had our moment too. The emcee announced that she would call the runner up name first. She called it and I was shocked! it wasn’t my name!
That meant, I WON! I really WON! I wanted to cry, instead I just keep saying thank you and smiling as I looked into the crowd, at the judges and to the women in my division.
Even though I was nervous and anxious, I got on that stage, had a good time and smiled! It took courage, love and support from my family and friends to get me there.
And look where it got me! I am Ms. Maine American Women of Service.
Courage is contagious. Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver. -Brené Brown