Perks of Pageantry

The motivation behind my entry into pageantry, and the thing that continues to drive my competition and appearances is the opportunity to use “the power of the sash and crown” as a podium and microphone to allow me to reach out to people everywhere and make a difference. I so am grateful for this opportunity and hope that I never forget to make the most of it. However, there are some amazing opportunities and experiences, which are not related to my platform or volunteering, that the crown and sash have afforded me. These are experiences which I never would have imagined possible otherwise, and I will surely never forget them!

For the last two years I have been a part of the National Independence Day Parade, riding down Washington DC’s Constitution Avenue on the back of a convertible, waving to the crowds.

What young girl doesn’t dream of being the “princess” on the convertible in the big parade? I have to admit to you that I sure had that dream as a little girl, and the dream has become a reality in an almost magical way!

On another occasion I was invited to throw out the first pitch at a Washington Nationals Major League Baseball game. There I was (in sash and crown, of course!), walking out to the pitcher’s mound at Nationals Park, hearing my name and title being announced for everyone in the stadium as well as everyone watching on network television. After throwing the ball to the catcher, I walked off the field to call my parents who told me they had already received calls and texts from friends who were surprised and delighted to see me throw out that ball on television.

During DC Fashion Week, I accepted an invitation to be a part of the festivities, including being announced by name and title as flashbulbs popped and I posed in front of the DC Fashion Week backdrop on a red carpet- I felt like such a celebrity!

On Bastille Day, I was a guest of honor at the French Embassy. The French were fascinated with having a pageant queen there, and my Mother and I were both treated like queens. Every time I turned around there were more people asking about the International pageant system and my platform. When the time came for us to leave, I had no choice but to slip off the crown and sash and store them safely in their case so as to stop attracting attention long enough to politely make our departure. The hospitality at the French Embassy was truly wonderful and gracious, and we definitely look forward to continuing our relationship with them and the rest of the Washington diplomatic community!

In sharing these fun and delightful experiences with you, I hope I prompt you to think about the opportunities pageantry offers. If you are someone contemplating entering the world of pageantry, I hope you seriously consider what I regard to be the very best system of all: the International pageant system. I was compelled to start my journey into pageantry by International’s mission of service to others and have never wanted to leave it! When you are successful in winning a title, I hope you use “the power of the sash and crown” to really make your own mark on your community and the world. I am only blessed with one year to serve as Miss Teen International and not only I am determined to make the absolute most of my year, but hope that I can also inspire you to make the most of your own year, whether you are a titleholder or not.

Juliana McKee


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