The Benefits of Participating in Pageants
- 2007 19 Oct
Friends and acquaintances often ask why I, a modest homeschool girl, would want to be in a pageant. After thinking it through, I came up with five main reasons that I wanted to be in one.
There are as many reasons for entering a pageant as there are girls entering, and there is a story behind each one. Some enter pageants because their friends or family encourage them, others because their classmates are doing it. And many girls are lured by the enticing prizes, hefty scholarships and visions of future fame. Here's my story of transforming from a painfully shy wallflower to a confident contestant.
Reason 1 - Overcome Shyness
All my life I was shy, but it culminated one evening when I was fifteen years old. I was a member of a youth group typically running six to ten teens in attendance and two of them were my siblings. That summer evening at church, when a friend asked me a question, I responded – not in words – but beginning with my neck, and working its way up to my ears, I turned bright red. I then mumbled some kind of answer, and quickly, tearfully, left the room. I was so upset because I just didn't want to go through life that way – introverted, bashful, withdrawn and self-conscious – and decided it was definitely time for a drastic change.
I came home from youth group humiliated. Mom asked what was wrong, and I lamented that I just couldn't stand being that shy anymore. My solution was to enter a pageant to help with the timidity. Recovering from the astonishment, mom responded, "Well, we'll have to get you a face!" So we bought me some makeup, and cut off about eighteen inches from my waist-length hair and created a more stylish hairdo. I was willing to work hard, if I could just be less shy. I entered, but didn't win that first pageant. However, it started me on a road of learning to be poised in social situations.
HOW YOU CAN: If you feel shy, or just not confident in how you look, why not have a makeover? Many beauty salons and makeup counters have makeup artists who will teach you the colors which work best for you. Learn how to apply makeup for different situations: casual, business, evening and stage. Then visit a talented hair stylist, and discuss new hairstyles to work well with your face shape, lifestyle, your coloring and type of hair (curly, straight, coarse, fine), and preferences. Look through magazines and hairstyle books to find different options, then make your desires known to the person with the shears. Sometimes a few hi-lites or foils add such life to dull hair.
Reason 2 - Display Talent
After defeating my shyness, I found I love being onstage and on camera, especially singing and acting. I will audition for anything I can, just to have the experience. I've tried out for movie roles, television pilots, Star Search, talent shows, skits, plays, and musicals. Pageants give me a time to showcase my talent with other wonderfully artistic young ladies: enjoying their routines, picking up hints for improving mine, and thoroughly enjoying my moment in the limelight.
HOW YOU CAN: To boost your acting talent, consider joining a drama club in school or trying out for a local theatre. Choral groups, ensembles, trios and solos will help with singing talents. Talent competitions help you work towards that professional edge winners possess.
Reason 3 - Life Skills
My first speaking engagement as a titleholder and in my whole life, I addressed the Georgia State Senate and House of Representatives on my platform of home education, and my entire speech was broadcast on television news. Not only did being a titleholder give me a voice to enlighten other people about the causes dear to my heart, it helped me learn how to effectively speak to other people, both onstage and off. And it helped expand my horizons, to view ideas from other vantage points. The interviewing, filling-out applications, and articulation skills learned during the pageant process help in all walks of life. When applying for a job or college, all of the above acquired abilities will be very useful.
HOW YOU CAN: To learn to speak more effectively onstage and off, consider taking public speaking courses or joining Toastmasters, a club where members learn by speaking to groups and working with others in a supportive environment. Read books about writing speeches and competent delivery. And don't believe the adage that practice makes perfect, because only perfect practice makes perfect. Read, learn and practice – perfectly.
Reason 4 - Excellence
I have found some neat friends at pageants – young ladies who are bettering themselves, and are reaching for the stars – just like me. It's so much fun finding girls with similar standards and visions for their lives. When others win, I choose to rejoice with them and cheer them on to go for the gold! If I win, I use the title to encourage others.
HOW YOU CAN: To achieve excellence, make a list of the qualities you believe are worthy, then make a plan of ways to incorporate them into your life. Read the Bible for ideas on worthy character qualities. Look not only in your own life, but look in the lives of friends and acquaintances. Find out how they achieved their level of success and any influences which made a great impact on their lives. And read books to help you win friends and influence others, and handle those crucial conversations.
Reason 5 - The Clothes
Ooo-la-la, I love the long evening gowns worn at pageants. As a young child, one of my favorite pastimes was playing dress-up, pretending to be a princess or a singer onstage. As a pre-teen, my mother would take me along when she shopped for clothes. Since practical clothes held no interest for me, I always headed straight for the sparkles, glitter and shine! The glitzier, the better to me: velvet, taffeta, and silk, trimmed with beads, sequins and rhinestones. Pageants give me a time to dress to the nines, wear the sparkly jewelry, put my hair in an up-do, and enjoy the spotlight.
HOW YOU CAN: Taking this interest a step further, you can research the colors which work best with your hair, skin and eye color. Then analyze your figure to find the most flattering styles to accentuate your good points. Take modeling courses to help you walk gracefully and with good posture. This could also lead to paying modeling jobs. However, if you do decide to model, and the clothes are too revealing, either switch outfits with another model, or decline to model for that clothing line or store.
Looking back, I believe being in pageants has been a time of self-discovery and has helped me in many ways. I have become a more confident, outgoing person. I can handle myself with poise in social situations, and love singing before an audience. I feel more prepared for life beyond high school and college, and I've made some great friends to network with and with whom I'll travel through life. I have been able to honor the Lord as I've talked with youth groups, individual homeschoolers and other teens, and have become a role model for young ladies. If you take the pageant plunge, you will find your own reasons, and come away a better person for it.
Chantelle Wright is Miss Georgia State University 2007, Miss Georgia Teen America 2001 and Overall Poise winner in Georgia's Junior Miss Pageant. The 21-year-old Georgia resident appeared in the Fox 2000 film Drumline, a TV pilot for Turner Television, Paramount Pictures' The Fighting Temptations starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., and another unnamed project starring Diana Ross' youngest son. You can visit her website at: www.Chantelle-Wright.com. She wrote a booklet, "Organizing the Queen" to help other titleholders organize their appearances.
First published in The Mother's Heart magazine, a premium online publication for mothers with hearts in their homes. Visit www.The-Mothers-Heart.com for more information.