A friend of mine pointed out this blog post about beauty pageants on her Facebook page. I decided to comment about my personal experience.
After posting the comment, I liked what I’d written and it reminded me of a great time in my childhood, so I decided to repost my comments here.
I was in three pageants when I was about 10-11 years old. They were so much fun! And while reading my account, keep in mind I was a very skinny, tomboyish type who would rather play football in the front yard with my dad and brother than play dolls with the girls.
Our next door neighbor’s kids had become involved in pageants when they were 7 and 9 years old and were quite successful. (They were great singers and dancers, and the youngest was particularly beautiful and charismatic.)
One Saturday, my mother and I went with them to one of their pageants. While their mother was getting them ready, my mother and I helped out by going to the registration table to check them in and pay the modest entry fees.
At the table, one of the women asked why I wasn’t going to participate. My mother and I laughed and said we were just there to watch our friends. The woman told us her daughter had won the pageant in my age group last year, so she was not eligible to compete in this year’s competition. She said her daughter was about my height and she had an extra dress in her car.
I had been playing around with my neighbor friends, helping them rehearse and I knew exactly what to do, so my mom asked me if I wanted to do it. She said I didn’t have to, but she thought it would be fun and she reminded me that I already knew what to do. I decided, sure, why not? So my mom paid the entry fee of about $20, the woman ran out to her car to get the dress and I was suddenly a contestant!
It was a very pretty red dress that went all the way to the floor. (Well, pretty for an 80s big, ol’ poofy dress.) I had no shoes but my tennis shoes, so I put on my mother’s white sandals (yes, white sandals with a red dress which fortunately, didn’t show since the dress went to the floor.) My mother curled my hair and put on a little bit of make up using our friend’s supplies and what was in her purse.
It was so fun! It was like playing dress-up with my friends, only it was with my mom! I had always admired my mother’s ability to style her hair and put on her make up in such a natural and beautiful way, and now she was sharing that with me!
I did not enter the talent or other portions of the contest since I was not prepared for that, but I went out there and won second runner up in the beauty contest. How about that?! I remember while on stage, I looked over my shoulder at my mother in the audience. She was smiling like she was so proud of me and having so much fun. I know it’s something we’ll never forget because we talk about how fun it was to this day.
We went to two more pageants over the next year or so and had a really great time. We had an affordable dress made for me by a local seamstress and I got some ballet slippers to wear underneath it. (Bye bye white sandals!) I won first place in one and didn’t place in the other, but both were fun and I got to spend more quality time with my mother. My dad and brother even came to one to cheer me on.
Then it was onto boys, music and other things that fill a teenage girls life, but I will never forget those pageants. Not only was it a fun way to spend time with my mother, it helped me learn how to fix myself up appropriately, have good posture and poise, be graceful under pressure and overcome the nerves of public speaking/performing.
Sure, we saw other mothers and children making themselves miserable at those pageants. Taking it way too seriously, spending way too much money, succumbing to pressure (that they put on themselves), wearing way too much awful makeup, caring too much what everyone else thought, etc., but me and my mother didn’t do those things. We loved spending time together, we loved being beautiful (not just looking that way) and most importantly, we had fun!
And one more thing, if you haven’t seen the movie Little Miss Sunshine, I highly recommend it. It’s quirky, funny and that last scene just kills me!