About a month out from this year’s Miss Teen International Pageant, I still find myself thinking of and drawing inspiration from the amazing, accomplished young women I met there.
My life has taught me to “never judge a book by its cover” and pageantry has not only reinforced that belief but has also allowed me to share it with others.
The power of the sash and crown is a strong tool for ending judgment and stigmas around so many people and issues.
One of the reasons I love the International system is that it gives its queens the power to change peoples’ perceptions about pageantry.
By encouraging its queens to stand up and speak out for what they believe in and to make a difference, International shows society that pageantry can be selfless and beneficial for communities everywhere.
The girls I met that week use their titles to remove the stigmas that society has about many prevalent issues such as homelessness, eating disorders, bullying, depression, cancer, obesity, and many other very worthwhile causes and issues.
During my week at nationals, I met girls from every walk of life and listened to the amazing stories that ultimately brought us all together that week in Skokie, IL.
Looking at the pictures from nationals, an outsider may assume that we were all stereotypical beauty queens.
They may assume that, since we looked perfect, we, and our lives, were perfect and everything was easy for us.
However, every girl had worked very hard to be there and overcome obstacles to make amazing accomplishments.
I believe that everyone I meet is put in my life for a reason.
However, these girls were put in my life for more than one reason; they are my inspiration, support system, sister queens, and lifelong friends.