Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Look Into Miss North Carolina

It's Miss North Carolina week! This is the first time in 4 years that I haven't been to every night of the pageant, whether just attending or actually competing. I competed for Miss North Carolina twice, when I was 19 and when I was 22. Those two time were completely different experiences. In 2011, I was the 1st runner-up to Miss North Carolina. In 2013, I didn't even make it to the Top 10, though I was awarded as the 2nd runner-up to the Quality of Life Award. It's not an easy feeling to not do as well as you did two years prior, but regardless of the outcome of that year, I am still thankful for those experiences.

Pageants are a difficult thing. It isn't like a sporting event, where if you make a basket, you get the point. You put all of your hard work into the hands of 5 people who only know you at surface-value. They get a 10-minute interview with you, in which you hope to show them who you are and to convince them that you're ready for the job. You get a few minutes on stage each night displaying your hard work in talent, lifestyle and fitness (swimsuit), evening gown, and onstage question. 

Training for a pageant is just that -- training. Girls across the state stay up-to-date on current events and world news, and the interview training and preparation that they receive does not just prepare them for the state pageant -- it prepares them for real life. My interview preparation is something I will value for the rest of my life. In this era of technological advancement, face-to-face interaction is slowly dwindling, but at the end of the day, to get a job or that entry into graduate school, an interview is necessary. Those lessons I learned are irreplaceable. These pageants encourage girls to give back to their community, to train and perfect a talent, to connect to a sisterhood that is hard to find elsewhere.

The Miss America Organization represents four tiers: style, service, scholarship, and success. Though those things were certainly relevant when I was competing, I still find them relevant today. For style, I'm thankful that I've found my niche in this blog, and I look forward to sharing my fashion choices each week. For service, my platform of ALS Awareness is unfortunately very relevant to my life. I may not be competing, but my grandmother still has ALS, so it is my mission to continue to fight to defeat ALS. For scholarship, I have my diploma hanging on the wall of my office. And for success, I look around at my friends, my family, my job, my life -- and I consider myself successful thus far and continue to strive to reach my goals.

Miss North Carolina has also given me some incredible friendships. I stood next to Hailey Best when she won Miss NC -- and we have been friends ever since. Soon, I'll get to stand beside her again on another very important day in her life. Miss NC 2013 Johna Edmonds and I first met when we competed together at Miss Garner in 2011. Three years later, I am proud to call her a friend. There are countless other women who I am proud to call friends. 

Pageants get a stereotype that they shouldn't -- but those girls that are competing are some of the brightest you will find. Sure, pageants have a focus on exterior beauty -- hair, makeup, fitness -- but those girls that are competing are some of the most kind, driven, compassionate, and intelligent girls that you will meet -- and the Miss America Organization recognizes that.

Here's a peek into my experiences:

2011 -- Miss Garner

2013 -- Miss Wilmington

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