Hello! I haven’t made a post in a while due to my hectic summer schedule and all of my recent travels! However, I am back and ready to give some insight about the spectacular world of pageantry. It is now officially summer, a time that many folks in the pageant scene like to call “pageant season,” because of the huge amount of pageant competitions—both state and national—during this time of the year. As someone who has participated in pageants since the age of seven, pageant season can be incredibly exciting as I cheer on and support my friends from all over the country in their newest endeavors. However, it is also easy to become caught up in the superficial side of pageantry (and social media) as one’s Facebook and Instagram feeds become flooded with pictures of new titleholders and queens from across the world. Throughout my year as Miss Teen of America, I have placed a huge emphasis on positivity and self-love because it is something that I often had trouble with in the past. Seeing all of these beautiful pageant contestants all over my social media feeds, it is often easy for me (and other young girls from around the world) to turn to the game of comparison. I sometimes compare myself and my accomplishments to these girls, which always results in my self-confidence plummeting. I do this with pageant girls, actresses, and just about anyone I see as a role model in my life, and I know other girls do this as well. It is a toxic mindset.
Pageantry is a sport that requires its participants to present their best selves in all areas of competition. Many contestants spend months preparing themselves, their skills, and their bodies so that they can look and feel their best for a just few minutes onstage or in front of a judge. Because these women only share their triumphs and best selves online, it is sometimes easy to forget these pageant winners that we follow are normal people and have flaws just like the rest of us. I often look at pageant legends like Olivia Culpo or Pia Wurtzbach or Deshauna Barber and put them on a pedestal. I see them as beautiful, glorious women, and they definitely are, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have flaws.
I just want to remind young people like myself that comparing yourself to someone else will always leave you dissatisfied with your own life. You will constantly be chasing another unrealistic body image or fad. Being as incredibly competitive as I am, I often forget this fact. It is important to understand that everyone has flaws, even if he or she doesn’t broadcast those flaws on their social media accounts. It is also important to realize that your only competition should be yourself. This is something that has taken me years to completely comprehend, but now I no longer try to be better than anyone else; I only try to be better than the person I was yesterday.
Living in this crazy world in which people create false windows into their lives through the platform of social media can often be overwhelming. Just because your life isn’t picture perfect or “Instagram worthy” doesn’t make it any less important or worth living. Pageantry is far from perfect. Pageant contestants and titleholders are far from perfect. I am far from perfect. You are far from perfect, and that’s okay.