When I was a little girl, I watched beauty pageants incessantly. I used to video tape all the televised pageants and watch and re-watch them, taking copious notes. When I was in the sixth grade my family accompanied my five year old cousin to a beauty pageant she was doing in a shopping mall, and when we got there I begged and begged my grandma to let me enter since they were allowing walk-up contestants. She obliged and took me to Maurices where they generously let me borrow a dress for my impromptu foray into the contest. There were only two girls in my age division, and after walking from one X to another X marked with masking tape on the stage and being asked by the emcee what my favorite color was and what I wanted to be when I grew up, the winner was announced. It was not me. I got second place and the tiniest tiara, ever, which I proceeded to wear daily for months to come.
Essentially I got last place in a mall pageant, but somehow that did not fetter my love for beauty pageants. Much to my grandmother's chagrin, along with getting "second place" at the mall pageant was an invitation to "nationals", which just so happened to be held an hour north of my hometown in Indianapolis. I begged and begged to compete, forsaking all of that year's birthday and Christmas presents and promising to make the honor roll. My grandparents were no doubt sick of hearing me ask to enter, so one day they finally said yes.
My grandma and I found a baby blue ball gown at the thrift store and she added some craft store pearls to the skirt and bodice. I picked out a skort suit to wear for the interview and added some little white gloves my grandma found at a yard sale. For the competition itself, I curled my own hair, did my own make-up, and filled out all my own paperwork. I think my grandma was off in the corner of the dressing room doing a word search.
In the dressing room, I watched a girl in the age division below me practice her stage walk, and when the time came for me to get on stage, I just mimicked what she did. I don't know how she placed, but I got second place in my age division! And this time there were way more than two contestants! My trophy was four feet tall, and I was so proud of myself.
After high school I would later enter a couple of county fair queen pageants. I didn't win either of those, but I did manage to snag the Miss Congeniality title and place as a runner-up again.
When I was little, I used to watch pageants because I loved looking at the pretty dresses. When I got older, I did the county pageants to work on my public speaking and to get to know other girls in my community.
In 2009 I started thinking about entering the Mrs. Texas pageant for the same reason; to work on my public speaking and to meet other women. When I was younger, I remember catching the Mrs. America pageant on tv once. Alan Thick, the dad from Growing Pains, was the host. The pageant was held outside at a beautiful resort in Palm Springs. The winner wore a sparkly white dress and was all smiles as she planted a kiss on her husband's cheek and held her young son in her arms.
I didn't enter back in 2009 because I got pregnant. Then I got pregnant again.
Sometime last fall I started thinking about my goals for the new year: To meet more women, to work on my public speaking, to improve my posture, to get stronger, and to do more volunteer work. And since I'm not currently pregnant (at least I don't think I am!), all of these goals feed in nicely to doing the Mrs. Texas pageant. I applied for my local title, and it's official! I'm in! Last night I got an email from the director bestowing the Mrs. Austin 2013 title on me. I am thrilled to be representing my beloved city in this crazy endeavor.
These last couple of days I kind of feel like myself circa elementary school. I've been researching pageants and taking copious notes on what kind of dresses I like, how to get in shape for the swimsuit competition, and what hairstyles look nice. I'm going in this nearly clueless, and I'm nervous because I'll be competing against real beauty queens (former Miss USA's and such) and people who have been vying for the Mrs. Texas title for years.
I said this on my Facebook account last night, but I feel like I need to get Honey Boo Boo on the phone to give me some pageant advice, but I have a feeling she'd just tell me to holler for a dollar and to drink a concoction of Mountain Dew and Red Bull.
I'll be documenting the (probably hilarious) pageant preparation process on Adored Austin: walking lessons, shopping for earrings the size dinner plates, and hopefully finding out how pageant girls get such big hair.
If you can offer me any pageant advice, please do! Otherwise I'm going to have to rely on episodes of Toddlers and Tiaras.