It’s way more than a beauty pageant

Its way more than a beauty pageant

Boobs, pretty girls, fancy dresses and crazy diva attitudes are usually the first few things that come to mind when someone hears about a beauty pageant.

I used to be one of those of those people. But after working the pageant circle a few times this fall I’ve realized that, while no pageant is complete without its beautiful women, smiles, attitudes and swimsuits, these things don’t even come close to encompassing what a pageant is really about.

This past weekend I was at the Miss Minnesota USA/Teen USA pageant and the volunteer work some of these girls have done puts even most Wesley Service Scholars to shame. One contestant raised over $4,000 for an awareness program. Another climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money and awareness about AIDS and almost every girl served as a volunteer for a local charity or service group.

When we watch movies like “Miss Congeniality” and Sandra Bullock facetiously talks about wanting “world peace,” we laugh. But the thing is, it’s true. These girls are making a difference and they want to see the world become a better place.

These girls have beauty and brains. They’re valedictorians, law school graduates, medical school students and regulars on the Dean’s List. One contestant this last weekend not only worked as a national print ad model for Nexxus and Target, but she was also going to school for pharmaceutical medicine.

The girls that compete in these pageants are bright, motivated women; not stupid pretty bimbos. That’s what reality television is for.

These girls have guts. A majority of the girls I know hate going to the beach in their swimsuit, let alone walking in it onstage under bright lights in front thousands of people without a second thought.

What I found funny is that at most of the pageants, girls were freaking out and nervous before their interview where they just had to talk about their life and goals. I laughed and told them I couldn’t handle the swimsuit portion of the competition and they laughed at me and said that was nothing.

They’re opening themselves up to judgment when they walk onstage, knowing some bitter Betty will point out every flaw she can. These girls will be told they’re too fat or too short. People will tell them to change this or that, and they take it all in stride. They know who they are, know what they want and are working to get that. How many of us can actually say that?

The girls that compete in these pageants aren’t in it for the fame and glory or to show off their looks. They’re in it to make a difference for themselves and for the world.

Girls who compete in the Miss USA/Teen USA pageant learn how to effectively communicate, whether it’s in their preliminary interview with six judges or onstage during the final five, where they’re answering a question in front of hundreds of people.

After walking onstage in a bikini under bright lights and a crowd of strangers, these girls realize they can conquer pretty much any fear they may ever have.

These “beauty queens” are volunteering in their communities and working to make a difference. They’re the presidents of their class, student council members and all star athletes.

So come April when you’re watching the Miss USA pageant and you see these girls with the pretty faces and rocking bodies, remember that, yes they are indeed beautiful. But they’re so much more than just a pretty face.