Benefits of Pageants
WHY SHOULD A YOUNG WOMAN ENTER THIS PAGEANT? It is obvious why many young girls have the desire to enter pageants. They have dreams, and part of those dreams is to win the prizes, to be named the most beautiful, to wear a sparkling crown – a lot of glamour and fantasy! But why should they be encouraged to enter the pageant? I, Gail Clark, State Director of Miss Texas USA® and Miss Texas Teen USA® pageants, would like to share a few of my personal observations from my 30 years of experience in the pageant business – as a former contestant and as a producer of over 75 pageants. What I have witnessed myself, many times over, is that through pageants young women gain untold benefits and learn invaluable life skills. The best thing about competing is that it does not require “winning” to reap the benefits. These are just some of the rewards a participant may gain:
- Self-confidence – She will learn that she is capable of doing more than she imagined. As she learns and grows and achieves her goals, she will develop self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Self-discipline, Motivation, and Determination – To work and improve physically and mentally requires determination, tenacity and focus. When a young woman desires something, she is motivated, and when she is motivated she will learn to set goals and work to achieve them. She will develop self-discipline as she pursues her objectives.
- Poise – Without question, she will learn poise as she goes through the competition – personal poise in one-on-one interviews, and stage presence in front of a crowd.
- Character – She will undoubtedly find competition to be a character-builder. People often become stronger and learn more in defeat than in victory – qualities of grace under pressure, perseverance, resolve, discipline, initiative, and a work ethic.
- Good sportsmanship – She will learn the value of a positive attitude, getting along with others, and accepting the results graciously.
- Healthy habits – good nutrition and exercise – She will be encouraged to eat healthy and exercise in order to look her best for the competition.
- Grooming and taking pride one’s appearance – An obvious by-product!
- Speaking & Communications skills – Interview, being a main part of the competition, will motivate her to hone her speaking skills, express her thoughts and project her personality. Over and over, young women thank us for the people skills they learn through their pageant experience. After going through the pageant process, she will feel at ease and confident in a job interview.
- Friendships with special bonds – This is a favorite benefit of the contestants, themselves. They will experience so many emotions in a short period of time and form quick but long-lasting bonds. Many contestants become bridesmaids for each other and life-long friends.
- Goal Setting – You do not reach goals if you do not set them. Goals and dreams are essential in life. Pageants promote goal setting and will truly inspire a contestant to search her soul, think about the future and make a plan on how to get there. Sometimes, the pageant, itself, is a stepping-stone to achieving those goals.
- Overcoming shyness – This is one I can personally attest to. The idea of entering a pageant was in total conflict with my shy personality. I was practically forced into it, but now I am so grateful for the experience! I learned that pageants are great training in managing shyness and functioning in social situations.
- Improving relationships with parents – Does this sound credible? It is! I can’t tell you how many mothers and, yes, fathers, have told me how their relationships improved and the bonds that formed with their daughter simply by going through the process of preparing for the pageant and sharing the experience.
You know a young woman “gets it” when she realizes she is not competing with the other contestants. She is competing with herself, improving herself. As trite and clichéd as that may sound, it is really true. Competition is a vehicle for honing, polishing and sharpening outer and inner character and attributes. Success is achieved when a young lady becomes the best individual she can be. It is merely icing on the cake if she actually wins the competition and enjoys the opportunities that the title brings her. So, as a parent, friend or relative a contestant, you might want to look past the surface fun and frivolity. I think you might be surprised at the changes and growth you will witness in those who participate!