5 Ways Pageants Destroyed Me

6 Ways Pageants Destroyed Me

Why I have never been happier.

6 Ways Pageants Destroyed Me
Whitney Ellis

I am very confident that if you read the title of this article and know me personally, your initial thought was "what?!" Because if you know me even as an acquaintance you know that pageants are a very special and beloved part of my life. What you may not know, however, is that competing in pageants completely destroyed me. God used these programs as a way to destroy my self-doubts and insecurities.

1. Pageants annihilated any fear I had of public speaking.

Michael Solberg Photography

Pageants force you to get out of your comfort zone. Whether it is standing before a panel of 10 judges and having to answer a very self-reflective question on the spot, or come up with a response to an onstage question that you have no way of preparing for; the best thing I learned to do was know myself, and speak confidently, and laugh at myself when I flub in front of hundreds of people. Storytime?

My second pageant (I was 17) I made up a word on stage, flashed a huge grin of "oh yeah write that baby down" and laughed backstage with the other girls. When I competed and made top five in the Miss Arizona USA 2018, I quoted spiderman for my on stage answer. Peter Parker would be so proud. Moral of the story? While I do love public speaking and believe God will pull me in that direction, I have also learned to laugh at myself, and that confidence, knowing yourself, and having the ability to not take yourself too seriously goes a long way.

2. They completely destroyed any chance I had of dwelling within my insecurities.

Michael Solberg Photography

I am 100% guilty of the comparison game. Why do I call it a game? Because like games, it gets you nowhere in real life, just around and around in the same circle. There have been times in the past when I have scrolled through social media and I seen a pretty girl and my thoughts start comparing immediately. With pageants, you are literally spending a weekend with anywhere between 25-100+ (depending on the size of the program) with some of the most beautiful, intelligent, and confident women you will ever meet. I learned very quickly that my job is NOT to look like or be like the girl next to me; my job is to encourage her in her God-given identity and embrace the woman I was created to be.

3. Pageants extinguished any chance I had of not confidently owning who I was, what I believed, and why.

Michael Solberg Photography

You are not only being judged on your physical presentation, in fact, that is the smallest portion in the grand scheme. You are being judged on the way you carry yourself, your ability to be well spoken, and how you can respond under pressure. You are asked questions that require you to deeply reflect on the person you are, and answer in a way that says "this is me" and not "I hope this is the right answer." The judges want to know YOU as a person, and you have anywhere from 2-10 minutes of speaking time to make that happen. I have had to learn to get to know myself, what I did like, and what I did not like and why; and to OWN it.

Over the past four years, this has forced me to deeply self-reflect, and to come to terms with myself and even the things I did not want to address. I had to allow God to chip away at the young woman with silent, deep-rooted insecurities, doubts, and fears of not adding up, not being enough, and not fitting the normal mold of female societal expectation. I had to allow God to cultivate within me a confidence and surety so alien to my nature, that it could ONLY come from Him and could only be supplied by Him.

4. Pageants wrecked any natural desire and need I had for other people's approval and affirmation.

Michael Solberg Photography

  1. By being a "pageant girl" I learned very quickly that you will be judged by how you present yourself on and off the stage. There's this societal stamp that somehow states that "pageant girls" must be vain, ditzy, or shallow; which is funny because every pageant community I have ever been a part of has been filled with the most diverse group of educated, strong, humble, powerful, women I have ever met. By competing in pageants, any need I ever had for the permission and affirmation of others was diminished.

5. Pageants messed up any idea contrary to believing that "failure" should not be defining, it should be REFINING.

Regardless of how hard you may work, how many hours you put into training and preparation, there will be times you do not come out on top. You may feel disappointed at first; it is natural. Pageants taught me that not winning is a huge part of life, but you cannot lose if you CHOOSE to see what you gained on the journey. I learned that the way of combating any feeling of disappointment is to see what you received in the journey, get back up, try harder, and fall in love with who God made you to be in the process.

6. Finally, God used Pageants to utterly diminish any chance I had of not stepping into the fullness of my identity, calling, and confidence as a Daughter of The King.

Cameron Roberts

Any fear I had of others opinions was destroyed when I chose to pursue this passion that the Lord so graciously put on my heart. Looking back now, every bit of the journey has been worth it and will continue to be worth it as I continue to seek my affirmation in the Lord in any arena He calls me into. I am so glad pageants wrecked me, and God built me as a result.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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