“Why is her mouth open so wide..? Jeez, STOP overreacting”
Whenever I watch a pageant with non-pageant folk (basically everyone I know) the one thing that seems to be the most puzzling is the moment of crowning. When I watched our current Miss America, sweet Betty Cantrell from Georgia, getting crowned in Atlantic City on TV, the overwhelming reaction from on lookers was that ‘she really needs to calm down’.
Before I get into how I feel about those comments, I think there needs to be some background information to help put this situation into a more uniform context.
Pageant girls are truly a unique breed of young ladies.
The Miss America Organization is a scholarship program, that means education comes first. But imagine going to school full time, worrying about applying to internships, getting exemplary grades etc AND ALSO having a job, doing countless hours of community service, developing your platform/ keeping up with current events, following your super healthy paleo-vegan-tree bark diet of grilled chicken and spinach/ working out every day AND understanding full well that you cannot let that stress break you down because you have to be approachable, kind and happy all the time. …You guys…ALL THE TIME is an overwhelming amount of time when all you want is a cupcake and a nap.
Take that and multiply it over the course of several months. So when we say we are busy because of pageant prep, don’t look down on us for being superficial. IT’S HARD.
Pageant Week is a hot mess.
Imagine waking up at 5:30 in the morning to put your pretty girl disguise on, eating a granola bar, and literally be handed a schedule with your entire day planned out for you to the minute. When the bus leaves at 11:26am, that means you are leaving at 11:26am.
You are being shuffled from one event to the next during pageant week; from luncheon to rehearsal, to autograph signing, to the hotel, to the teen show, to your hotel again. IT NEVER ENDS. You are constantly on the go, constantly on edge because you don’t know what you’re eating, when you’ll have time to review your paperwork for competition, if you’ll be okay and ‘on’ enough for on stage, if your spray tan will run on all of your worldly possessions…
There is no doubt that pageant week was one of the best weeks of my life regardless of how much it burnt me out. But state pageant week is one week long, at Miss America however, it’s two weeks of appearances on steroids. You are on Good Morning America, at countless televised appearances knowing full well you are constantly being watched and judged. Needless to say, it’s exhausting.
Therefore, to us ladies, the moment of attaining that shiny hat is the same as winning an Olympic medal. It’s the overwhelming feeling when you have finally achieved something that you have given your entire soul to. It’s nailing your talent when you’ve been freaking out about it and practicing for months, it’s walking out in swimsuit feeling so proud of your body and praying to dear God you do not spin off the stage at the same time.
It’s sprinting that last 400m with your eyes closed, wanting to die, being completely exhausted and looking back to realize ‘it’s me! I won!‘.
So to those who think that pageant girls are faking a reaction, I encourage you to think to a time in your life when you’ve achieved something after months or years of hard work. It’s okay if you don’t remember though, because guaranteed we’ve definitely all blacked out during our crowning moments.