To all of my pageant sisters,
I've been thinking of how I can say all of this for a while. Hopefully the words come out right.
I look back to my first year when I competed as a teen. I knew NOTHING about pageants.
Who on earth let me go on stage wearing that dress?
* palm to face *
But I was 100% myself, I didn't ever have the thought of winning that crown cross my mind because I didn't even think it was a possibility. My smiles were 100% genuine and I was so shocked when I placed the way I did AND won photogenic?! This must not be real.
So I found myself in the pageant mix. If you've never competed before you'll soon understand. I wanted to compete again and again, and so I did.
It quickly become more and more about that shiny sparkly crown. More about the title and the feeling that I thought would come with it. I'm sure I denied that it was my goal and desire to win...but that's the downright truth.
Each year I found myself a step further from the crown. The more effort I put into becoming who I thought I should be the further away I got. Didn't even make the top 5, which in hindsight is a blessing because those questions were HARD!!!
Hence I find myself here...sitting on my couch stalking your Instagram and snapchat accounts to live through each one of you,
And it's this moment sitting on my couch with my dogs eating pizza that I realize...
I have finally won.
I forgot what that journey was all about.
So here are my two cents for you.
You are so brave. You had the guts to sign up and put yourself in a bikini in the public eye, geez girl! More power to you!!
You are so much more than a crown. Do not let your insecurities or the beautiful babes that surround you make you feel any less about who YOU are.
Maybe you skipped the gym a few times... But do not discredit all of the work you have put into this weekend. This is YOUR moment. Smile as big as you can and rock that stage.
The memories are what you will miss most when you're not competing. The backstage dance parties and funny mishaps. The friends you make are real, I know because I moved across the country with a girl I met at a pageant, I have late night chats with girls I met there, I call some of them my best friends.
Whether I know you or not I am cheering for you. I know how hard it is, I really do. But stop competing for a crown and compete for Miss Congeniality. Compete for future friendships, and find 100 times you can be a better woman and a role model to your "competition" this weekend.
Keep your eyes open for the girls who might need an extra compliment, a bit of advice, or just a quick laugh.
You are not a judge so stop judging. Yourself, others, dresses, hair, makeup, none of that matters. Your worth is not materialistic so get to know what's in each of these beautiful girls hearts this weekend.
You want to be a role model? Congrats, mission accomplished!! I'm looking up to each one of you. I want to BE you this weekend.
Take a deep breath and live in this moment. Stop chasing that crown, and embrace the experience. What will be will be.
I never won a crown.
I never shot with Fadil.
I never stepped a foot on Miss USA or had a crowning moment.
But I have gained so much more from the years I have competed and I wouldn't trade it for a thing.
Shed a tear, eat a burrito, have a few drinks....but wake up Sunday and know that you were the best you that you could be and enjoy the experience while it lasts. You'll blink and interviews will be over, your sash will be frayed, and your spray tan will be splotchy. But you will have so much more than that, I promise.
I love you all. Please please call me, text me, and know I am here cheering for you. Each one of you. Xoxoxo