National American Miss, the nation's largest pageant system, focuses on equipping girls ages 4-18 with life skills, confidence, and poise. Recently, it was named the #1 National Pageant System of 2016 by The Pageant Planet, and I couldn't have been more proud to have been a competitor and titleholder for this system. Whether you've been competing for as long as I have (since 2010...I really am addicted!), or you've just competed once, I'm sure you'll recognize quite a few things on this list from your sparkly endeavors.
1. Having a special connection with the song "What Dreams are Made Of" by Hilary Duff.
Okay, so this was every 2000's girl's favorite jam, but it also is the song that is used during Top 5 crowning at state and national pageants. Whenever I hear it outside of the pageant world, I can't help but get a little bit nervous...
2. Wondering what color the production number T-shirts will be every year...
Forever upset that I won the year the T-shirts were green. GREEN...*sigh* They were still cute with the help of a glittery belt and huge rhinestone stud earrings, though.
3. Trying to act like you know what you're doing during the production number dance, even though everyone (queen included) forgot it.
Is it *step step pivot* or *step pivot step*?!? The world may never know. Might as well just give up and start hip bopping and smiling until the line switch comes.
4. Being comforted by the emcee's "pump up" speech before the final top semifinalist is called.
Even though it's disheartening not to hear your name called, it's important to remember that you worked hard, pushed yourself, and did something so many people would be too scared to do. And, you can take the lessons you've learned and come back next year to try again!
5. Obsessively watching the Nationals Livestream on your laptop over Thanksgiving break.
Thanksgiving is all about family...but you just happen to be watching a member of your second family perform their casual wear routine during dinner. Oops.
6. That feeling you get when one of your pageant friends gets crowned.
I'd like to formally apologize to everyone who's had to listen to me scream my head off in the audience of a National American Miss pageant finale...I've been known to stand up in the crowd and scream "That's my BABY!!!" like a proud mother while still wearing my talent competition outfit. I'm not kidding.
7. Trying to explain National American Miss to a non-pageant friend.
The conversation usually goes something like this...
"Okay, so you've seen Miss America on TV, right? Well, it's not like that. I mean, it sort of is, but not really. It's WAY better".
8. Silently praying that your escort doesn't forget what he's supposed to do...
Unfortunately, it happens. I've seen one too many escorts get that "deer in the headlights" look on their face, stop walking, and stand there like a scared animal. Or worse, he does everything correctly, but he steps on your dress backstage...
9. Getting ridiculously excited before a pageant finale when you hear "Ladies and gentlemen, it's showtime!"
This means it's FINALLY the moment you've been waiting for all weekend...the finale!
10. Realizing what amazing friends you've made while competing.
Contrary to popular belief, pageant girls can be some of the sweetest, most intelligent, and funny people around. Especially in National American Miss, you're encouraged to make friends and stay in contact with your fellow competitors. So many of my friends have been made through this pageant system, and my life has been forever changed by these amazing young women.
So, here's to the 2017 pageant season! May your personality shine brighter than even your most blinged out A/B chandelier earrings!