Vying for the Title

January 28, 2014
For me, middle school was a time of confusion and self-doubt. I was a shy girl who was always unsure of myself. One day, I received a letter in the mail that said I was nominated to be a contestant in a pageant. At first, I thought it was a joke. I could not wrap my mind around the fact that someone out there could think I was talented. My parents thought the pageant would raise my confidence and self-esteem, and they convinced me to compete.

I will never forget my first pageant. Initially, I was terrified but I soon loved the feeling of speaking to a large group of people. My confidence level increased as I absorbed the excitement of being on stage. After a long weekend, I felt proud of myself. I stepped out of my comfort zone and learned about my strengths and areas of improvement.

A pageant contestant must be ambitious, intelligent, generous, and versatile. Pageants call for a set of talents that are related to the work force such as public speaking and the ability to answer questions intuitively in an interview. Title holders do not follow the pageant stereotype of just beauty, no brains; they are leaders who are passionate about changing the world.

I now have something incredibly powerful in my hands, a dream. It is my desire to go the distance and represent my state one day as Miss Illinois America. This dream is different than others I have had. This dream taught me about public speaking, how to be poised and confident, and the importance of dedication. Most importantly, this dream taught me that I am beautiful, not only outwardly but inwardly. The insecure, shy middle school girl is gone, and the driven, gregarious young woman has arrived.

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