Monday, July 15, 2013

What I’ve Gained from Pageants

My mom, or as some pageant gals like to call her, Mama Wanous, is constantly being asked about my year and how it has affected me. “Was the time, money, and stress worth it?” Without hesitation, she always says, “YES! It was worth every penny, every second, every argument, every sleepless night and caffeine fueled day. I think we can all agree that pageants are great risk, great reward, and that is what makes them great. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it. Everyday was not easy for us and my needs this year certainly took a toll on my family but what I have gained from this pageant system is priceless.

I have gained skills I never would have gotten from a formal education or even a job. I was personally motivated in a way I had never been before. My drive to succeed gave me control and reason and purpose everyday. My new insight to see myself as a person who could use their past experiences to recreate a new purpose driven life was something you just can’t teach someone, they have to find it on their won. I used to be shy, quiet and reserved. Now, I am confident in myself, my ideas, my thoughts, my conversations, and my ability to carry on a conversation about anything with anyone! I feel a sense of self worth that I never had before. Before the crown I saw myself as an average, maybe even below average kind of girl. It is incredible what you can become when you see your life through God’s vision.

After winning Miss Minnesota International I was bombarded with love from this enormous group of past titleholders and contestants. Right then and there I gained a family I never had. As an only child with a handful of cousin’s spread around the country, sometimes you feel like you are all alone. Now, I truly have sisters all over my state and after Miss International; I have sisters all over the world! I don’t mean I gained supporters just because I won a sparkly hat; I gained these women’s love because we shared a common passion to serve others selflessly.  I also learned small things like how to speak to and communicate with people of any race or background, how to shake a hand confidently, how to take control of a boardroom full of business men, how to ask for what I want, how to smile through quivering cheeks, how to be charming and how to be gracious, how to travel, how to improvise, and how to laugh it off when things didn’t go as planned. The list could continue for pages… the point is parents; I have gained more life skills from this experience than I could have gained anywhere!

I have grown from an awkward young girl looking for direction to a confident, powerful, driven mature woman with future plans. It may seem like a normal way of maturing but I can say with no doubts that I would not be who I am today without this pageant. I am sure I would still be on the same path I as headed before the pageant, one with little direction, thought, reason, or purpose. I was alive but I wasn’t living.  I know it was God and Him alone that brought me to the International system, because He knew nothing else would spark my passion like a system focused on volunteering and serving a personal platform.  I am so indescribably grateful for everyone who has crossed my path this year.

I know God was been directing my steps towards you and every conversation, encounter and smile was His plan. Trust in His plan, you were made by God for God. The best tool and advice I can give to contestants is, trust in him. Give all the stress and worry to him. You have to accept that his plan may not lead you to the crown, but He will lead you to your purpose, and isn’t that kind of the same thing? You don’t need sparkles on your head to do great things; you just need Him on your side.

The most valuable thing I have gained his year is stronger faith and confident faith. Inspired by the openness of Jurnee Carr and her faith I found a new strength in myself through Him. I felt a wave of calmness come over me on stage during finals night because I trusted in his plan for me, with or without the crown, and I was content with His decision. This calm strength has followed me through my year and has only gotten stronger. I know this is where I was meant to be and I am so sad to see it end but I am thrilled to get to know the new contestants and of course, our new queen! Good luck ladies and leading up to the week of competition remember and reflect on how far you have come and everything you have gained from this wonderful, sparkly, adventure.

“God intentionally allows you to go through painful experiences to equip you for ministry to others.”
― Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?

All my love,

Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012

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