September 18, 2015

One of the biggest pageantry events held annually is the Miss America pageant;  not only is it practically every pageant girl's dream to make it to that stage, but it's also a chance for the rest of the country to participate.

Being a pageant girl myself, I am definitely aware of the misconceptions that many people tend to have about pageantry and those who pursue it.  I still cringe at that Miss Teen USA onstage question debacle, but that's a rather extreme case.

The purpose of the onstage question portion of the pageant is not to express your opinion (sometimes on rather controversial topics) and be judged on it, but rather to convince your audience of why you hold firm in your beliefs.  In the same fashion, I'd like to tackle a few of the biggest pageant misconceptions--along with the realities of those situations.

1. Pageant girls have low IQs.

Prep For A Day

If you pay close attention during the swimsuit and evening gown competitions, you'll be able to hear and see some facts about each of the contestants.  By doing so, you might have discovered that Miss Hawaii USA studied at Oxford University when she was sixteen, or that Miss America 2015 is trilingual.  The majority of pageant girls have very high GPAs (in fact, the Miss America's Outstanding Teen Pageant gives an award to the girl with the highest GPA).  I think we can all agree that the expression "intelligent pageant girl" is not an oxymoron.

2. Pageants solely consist of walking around in a dress onstage.

Prep For A Day

Once you get to higher level pageantry (such as Miss America), the days of prancing around onstage are over.  Pageant contestants can expect to perform some sort of fitness routine, perfect and perform a talent, answer an onstage question, and undergo a private interview with the judges (in which all answers must be intelligent, eloquent, and prompt).

3. Pageant contestants gossip about one another constantly.

Prep For A Day

I've made so many lasting friendships with other pageant contestants.  I think we all acknowledge that we have the same goal, and that the best way to go about competing for it is to be as courteous as possible.  Drama really doesn't enhance the experience.

4. Pageant girls never contribute to the community.

Prep For A Day

Each pageant contestant is charged with adopting or creating a platform, an organization or cause that they identify with and wish to support throughout their reign.  Mine is Crowns For Companions, and the official platform for Miss America is Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.  Each contestant wants to make a difference:  from anti-bullying platforms to financial aid to STEM education, we all want to make an impact in our communities.  And, if you do a little more research, you'll see that we do, one girl at a time.

Remember, pageantry is a lot of hard work--it may not be the most traditional sport, but that doesn't mean it isn't one.

What are your thoughts on pageant misconceptions?


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