Saturday, May 27, 2017

Love Is The Answer


During my time in Dothan I got to go speak to a few groups of kids at the Boys and Girls Club.

Visiting Boys and Girls Club are some of my favorite appearances.

I love teaching kids about self esteem, bullying, positive thinking, and choosing love. It's effortless really!


So I wanted to share with you how I teach young kids to "Choose love."

I start off by telling them about my personal experience with bullying growing up, and how I was severely bullied.. Then I'll ask, "Has anyone in this room ever been bullied?" (Hands go up all around the room!) "Has anyone in this room ever been called a mean name, or has anyone ever been hurt by the way someone treated you?" And by that time, everyone in the room has raised their hand to at least one of those questions.
 
Then I bring up three volunteers, I'll ask their name, and then I'll say something like "Annie, what if I said to you 'I don't like your red hair!’ How would that make you feel? Are you gonna go out and dye your hair now?” And of course she says, "No." Then I'll say something similar to the other two volunteers.

After those examples, I hold up a peace sign with my fingers. I explain to them "In order to achieve peace with yourself, to love who you are, and to have peace with others…...In the same way that there are two fingers in the peace sign, there are two rules to “choosing love” and achieving peace."


That brings me to my first rule:

You choose!

You have a choice: to believe, or NOT to believe what others say about you! You can either choose to let it affect you, or choose to brush it off, and not allow it to bother you.

I pick three more volunteers and have them shoot some "hoops" for an exercise.

I start off by having everyone cheer one of them on while he tries to shoot the basketball into the hoop.

Saawoosh!

Then I have everyone "booo" another while he shoots.

And he misses.

Then I tell him one “try and shoot while the audience ‘boos’ however this time, don't allow it to bother you.”

Saawoosh!!

I refer back to my personal story, how I allowed the bullying to bother me, to the point where I had cuts all over my legs from shaving at the age of nine.

To read my story visit my blog:
http://theinternationalpageants.blogspot.com/2016/10/beauty-for-ashes.html?m=1

And the second rule, choose love!

Regardless of how others treat you, treat others, the way you want to be treated.

I explain that “hurt people, hurt other people.” Kids who bully, are normally hurting and need love the most.

So I ask "what would you do if someone brought you a candy bar one day with a letter saying 'Can we be friends?' You'd be their friend, right?"

Everyone says, "Yes!"

“Well, what if you handed that same note and candy bar to your bully next time he was mean to you?”

(They're all quiet.)

"Do you think they would consider being nice?"

"Yes.." They all answer in unison.

"What if you continued to be nice, until he eventually became your friend? What's the worst that could happen?"

The we go through scenarios, "What's the worst thing that could happen if you choose love?"

*You waisted money on a candy bar? That's no biggie!

*The bully doesn't want to be friends?
Maybe at first, but if you keep trying, and eventually, he will either give up and stop picking on you... Because he can't get a rise out of you. Or, you'll gain a friend!

It's worked time and time again.. The kids love it, they're engaged in the conversation, and everyone of them learns something from it.

You're more than welcome to use this concept and become a part of the "Choose Love Movement"

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-
TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Friday, May 26, 2017

Our International Family


There is something really special about International Pageants. It’s just not the beautiful crown or our lovely host city. It lasts longer than the stones on my sash and out lives the flowers I received on coronation night. At International Pageants, we are a family… and it’s one of the most beautiful sights to see. We laugh together, cry together, and change the world together.

The young ladies I competed with at Miss International are each unique and beautiful far beyond just what we see on the outside. Whenever I get on Facebook, I see the phenomenal crowned representatives still working their platform and speaking out to change their communities. It puts a huge responsibility and weight on my heart to be the best Miss International I possibly can be. Any one of the girls I competed with could have been Miss International 2016 and it’s extremely humbling to know that I was selected as the representative out of a group of winners. I’ve built life-long friendships with ladies who I spent a week with… and it’s just amazing to see how quickly a sisterhood can form even under extreme stress and pressure.

Our Staff and Sponsors are incomparable. I think one of the hardest parts of passing on my title will be knowing that I won’t get to see them as often as I have during this year of service. God has given us the most amazing team that has a relationship much deeper than the contract we sigh. He has brought us all together in this season of life and allowed us to love each other well and pour into each other each day. I remember the first time I met our team… I felt immediately at home. Each person has a heart of gold and is selfless, generous, and loving. It’s unlike anything I have ever experienced. Not only are they amazing Staff Members and Sponsors, they are friends and family.

I love our program for so many reasons, but the fact that we are genuinely family is totally in the top 5. Although I may have to pass on my crown to the next Miss International on August 5th… I know that the team and women I have encountered… they are family forever.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2017

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Spread the Love


I have a huge heart for helping the homeless, therefore, during my visit to Dothan I decided to book an appearance at a Christian Homeless shelter called The Dothan Rescue Mission.

There, I was able to minister to the women, and their kids by leading a bible study group. I shared about my personal experience, having lost everything, my home, our cars, along with our pride. And then I shared how that experience ended up being the best thing that ever happened to my family.

To read more about my story:
http://theinternationalpageants.blogspot.com/2016/10/this-is-not-how-my-story-ends.html?m=1

You could see their jaws drop! They were amazed, some even cried.


When you look at a "beauty queen" you automatically assume that they're perfect. That they have perfect lives, and everything in their life is easy.

But for them to know that we’re no different, the we are all the same...That I too, have been homeless, and I've lost everything...

That was HUGE for these women!

It have them hope, it gave them faith, and it gave them courage.

THIS is what I love most about being Mrs International, these experiences.

Opportunities like these where I get to impact someone's life, and help them believe in themselves.

And it's taught me so much about myself, I've realized that every heartache, every tear, every painful moment in my life was for a reason. It wasn't in vain.

Because of this title, I've been able to use every one of those experiences to speak into other people's lives.

I encourage you to do the same!

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-
TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"Fitspo" for Fitness Wear


On any given day, we can find ourself on social media looking at what is going on. Perhaps we see the latest trend or a hot product. Maybe you even find yourself looking at fitspo to inspire you in the fitness wear competition. In recent years, “fitspo” (short for fitness inspiration) has become wildly popular. We can look at a photo…and without a trained eye… fall into the lie that we are somehow “less than” because we don’t have chiseled abs just like what we see on Instagram.

We should probably keep a few factors in mind. Yes, the people we see as “fitspo” are in great shape and worked hard to get where they are… but there can be multiple factors in play. We don’t see their entire backstory or know what is going on in their life. On social media, people only post what they want people to see. What comes across as someone’s “day one hundred” may be enhanced by lighting and editing.

Often times, people look at fitspo as the gospel instead of what it was meant to be… inspiration. They can find themselves feel defeated rather than motivated. Instead of wanting to go to the gym - they wonder why even bother?

What if we became our own fitspo? What if our own progress and strength inspired us to keep going and pressing on toward heart health? What if instead of comparing our bodies to something we see on Pinterest… we celebrate our body for what it’s capable of and will be capable of in the future? What if we worked to become our personal best instead of a second rate version of someone else?

Let’s celebrate our health journey instead of beating ourself up because we don’t look like what we see on social media! Our inspiration can come from within by making heart healthy decisions in every facet of our life. I don’t know about yall, but when I am taking care of my body and treating it like a treasure… I am significantly more confident in it than when I treat it like a garbage can. By fueling my body, I feel inspired - fit - and ready to take on the world!

Today I challenge you to become your own fitspo - taking steps toward a healthier and more fit you! You are worth the time, energy, and resources. You’ve always been beautiful, now you’re just becoming stronger, tougher, and healthier!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Opening Number Tips


Hello Ladies! I know one concern that some contestants have is about mastering the opening number. Especially ladies with no dance background. I am here to tell you that it is okay! Everyone has different talents, not everyone is a dancer, so know you are not alone. Here are a few tips on how to rock opening number ( and no you do not have to do any ballet like the picture above!)

1. Listen to the Song Beforehand-

Mrs. Contestants: Should be announced soon!

Teen and Miss Contestants: Hand Clap (by: Fitz and the Tantrums)

Once the song is stuck in your head you will know the lyrics and beat better. This makes it easier when you are given key words to remember moves by during rehearsals!

2. Wear Your Heels-

You are going to be doing some pretty fast dance moves in those heels. You need to make sure that you are comfortable wearing them before nationals come around. I may sound crazy but I would wear my heels around the house all the time. Whether I was doing the dishes or just walking from the living room to my bedroom, every step counts.

3. Confidence is Key-

Opening Number is the first time the judges will really see you on stage. So smile, even though you are nervous! If you have a big smile on your face no one will know if you mess up. It is not about who is the best dancer, it is about the girl that is most confident.

4. Help Each Other-

Even though the staff does an excellent job teaching you the opening number. Sometimes getting things explained a different way can really help you. On that note, please help each other. Creating a great show for the judges and the audience is a team effort! If everyone focuses and really puts in effort in and out of rehearsals it truly shows on stage.

5. Introduction-

When you go to announce yourself make sure to speak slowly and clearly. Since your adrenaline is pumping you will immediately begin to speak fast. Walk up the the microphone and take a breath before speaking, this will help you remember to slow down. Also, make sure you project your voice. Though the microphone will pick up your voice either way, it will make everything you say clearer and louder. Trust me, the crowd will be louder than you expect.

"Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds."

-Orison Swett Marden

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International 2016

Monday, May 22, 2017

Choosing a Platform


How do you choose a platform?

Well that's easy, you don't!

The platform should choose you!

For instance, what is your story? What obstacle, mountain, valley, or storm have you overcome?

Maybe it didn't happen to you directly, maybe it was something that happened to a loved one, and it affected you. Now, you want to use that to raise awareness, or educate others on the signs??

Maybe it's a passion of yours? For instance, maybe you're passionate about the environment, kids, or animals.. So then you would work to save the earth, or work with children- preventing abuse, or maybe you work to prevent animal cruelty...Whatever you're most passionate about, that's what you should choose.

Perhaps it was something you personally had to endure, or fight like: bulimia, bullying, cancer, homelessness, suicidal thoughts... ?

The point is, I believe every passion was placed in our hearts for a purpose. Every obstacle that we have had to overcome has been for a reason….We can either allow them to hurt us, change us, control us, define us, orrr they can EMPOWER us!

Choosing a platform is important, that's part of your story. That's your “signature story” use it, make an emotional connection with the judges. Then they won't have to ask you why you chose that platform, they'll know why!

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Crowing Tips: Internationals Orientation


Your heart is beating. Your preparations for the job have brought you to this moment and this week. It’s pageant orientation! The thrill and excitement have officially kicked in - maybe even a few nervous jitters.

Internationals Orientation gives you a chance to meet all the contestants, hear from our Sponsors and the reigning International representatives, and you’ll even find out your competition order. Typically contestants dress in interview, cocktail, or fashion attire and come down a little early to get group photos! I know that my heart was overflowing with prayer when I was preparing to go down to orientation last year. I couldn’t believe that it was finally here and I kept asking God to give me peace in His plans. He brought me to this moment and I trusted that He was going to use me for my good and His glory.

I learned so much about the organization and what to expect during the week from this fun kickoff event! Today, I’m sharing my top tips to help you make the most of your time during Internationals Orientation!

Relax

I get it - we all want the job. There will be plenty of time to stress later in the week; now is not the time for it. Orientation is not judged and you want to have fun with it. If you feel yourself mentally starting to “size up the competition”… I encourage you to breathe, pray, and remember why you are there. You are your own biggest competition. Focus on being the best version of yourself and having fun!

Take Notes and Listen

In college, I was the nerd who loved taking notes on everything. There is a lot of information that gets shared at Orientation and you want to soak it up like a sponge! I would highly suggest bringing a small notepad and pen. You’ll want to listen for certain notes about times, where to meet, suggested attire, or any specific directions. Our schedule is jam packed and you want to make sure you have all the information you need!

Don’t Worry About Line Up

Let’s be honest - finding out your placement in lineup is one of the most nerve wrecking things. I think there are a lot of myths about how your spot in lineup impacts the final results. Those myths are false. Trust me, I was toward the front of last year’s competition. It’s not about your competition number… it’s about your platform, how you perform, and your readiness for the job. Trust that God put you with that group of contestants for a reason!

I cannot wait to see you all at Internationals Orientation! It’s game time ladies!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Thursday, May 11, 2017

No Beauty Shines Brighter Than A Good Heart


When it comes to pageants, some people immediately judge them or think that they aren't a positive thing. Most think they are judged purely on a girls “Beauty” or the amount they spend on a gown. However I am here to write about something I saw the other day that really resonated with me. “No beauty shines brighter than a good heart.”

For example, a titleholder is one who should light up a room when they walk in… and not because they have a sparkly crown on their head. You should see their personality, they should almost glow. Their smile should make you want to smile, and their positive energy should be contagious. They should make you want to be the best version of yourself, not make you feel like you need to be like them. They should make everyone feel like a “someone.” They should brighten others days, and if you think that comes from the makeup and crown, you couldn't be more wrong.

The most important thing for the judges to know about me going into pageant week, was my story. I made sure it was integrated in everything that I did and even into some things I wore. I knew I would be happy with myself if I would just be able to spread my platform to as many people as possible. Whether it was through social media or speaking onstage every post and every word made me one step closer to my goal.

So, for all of the state, regional, and country titleholders. You should not be more worried about your outfits and your hair and makeup than your platform work. When you walk into interview, they are not going to ask you who designed your gown, they are going to ask what you have done in your community and what you plan to do. Go into pageant week knowing that no beauty shines brighter than a good heart because you will not regret it.

"Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds."

-Orison Swett Marden

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International 2016

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Top 10 Questions To Ask Yourself When Contemplating Entering A Pageant


Have you ever considered entering a pageant?

You see these amazing pageant queens, and have a desire to try, but don't know what to expect, if you could do it, or where to begin?

Well here is a list of questions that you should ask yourself, when you're contemplating entering a pageant:

1) What pageant system should I enter?

When I was contemplating pageantry, I wanted a system that stood for something. A system that would elevate my cause. That's why I fell in love with the International System, because they're a strong platform system. Remember, whatever system you choose will reflect on you.

Maybe I'm a little biased, but I do believe the International Pageant System is the best.

2) Why do I want this title?

I encourage you to know your “why?” Pageantry isn't easy, and it isn't for the faint of heart. You must be willing to work hard, to sacrifice, you must be mentally prepared..And I do that by knowing my “why.”

3) What will my platform be?

Should you win, you’ll have an amazing opportunity to help others with your title. What are you most passionate about? What obstacles have you overcome? What message do you have for the world? What would you like your legacy as Mrs International (or whatever title) to be? When you realize it, then start using that message and “working” your platform.

4) How can I afford this?

Will you be able to find sponsors? Can you raise enough money? All good questions you need to ask yourself. (For suggestions read my blog “How to Enter A Pageant On A Budget: http://theinternationalpageants.blogspot.com/2017/03/how-to-enter-pageant-on-budget.html?m=1)

5) How do I get in “pageant shape?”

This part is all up to you, what are your goals? If you want it, you can do it...Persistence is key. Find a great trainer that will sponsor you (there are many that will) and get to “werk!”

6) Do I have time for this?

It takes time to get in shape, to work your platform, to practice walking, and interview. Can you manage this into your schedule?

7) What kind of support system do I have?

If you're a mom and you're looking to enter a pageant, who can help you in watching your kids?

8) How will this affect my marriage?

If you're married, make sure you make this decision as a couple. You want, and must have the support of your spouse. How does he feel about it? Is he prepared to share his wife?

9) How will this affect my kids?

Can they handle time away from mommy should you win the International title?

10) Do I believe I can win?

This is super important! You must believe that you can win, in order to win.

These are my personal Top 10 questions. Pageantry is an amazing thing it can catapult you to your dream goal. All of us have been through something, lost someone, fought a battle, have gone through storms, or are currently going through the storm… I encourage you to use your story, your pain, and suffering...And use it to help others.

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

How To Prepare For Media Interviews


The moment a crown is placed on your beautiful head… all eyes are on you. Everyone will look to you and be genuinely interested in your life. It sounds really glamorous, right? Well it is, I can’t lie, but it is also a lot of work. You are not just representing yourself… but also the pageant, your family, your platform, Go Red for Women, the staff, and all the other contestants. Media interviews are thrust upon you and you must always be ready! It’s an exciting responsibility.

Today I want to share with you tips on on how to prepare for media interviews!

Know Your Talking Points

It’s important to know what your goal is for the interview. By gathering your talking points before the engagement, you’ll know how to lead the conversation and get your point across. Usually two or three is a good amount for a media interview. As Miss International, I usually request these from our main office. If you’re a state titleholder, your director may have guidance on key talking points or initiatives they’d like you to share. Whenever you’re speaking about International Pageants, I suggest sharing the key point that we are a platform based pageant.

Know Your Audience

The morning after I was crowned Miss International… I had a media interview! The first 24 hours really are a whirl wind. I would be speaking on a local news station specifically about the pageant and all the excitement from the previous night. In my interview I talked about how much I loved Jacksonville and how thankful Internationals was for the incredible experience. I also shared how large the organization is and the representatives’ impact on the world.

Know Your Role

I recently returned from a PR Trip to Charleston, West Virginia. It was absolutely amazing. The state has been so welcoming of our pageant and we are blessed to call Charleston home for the next three years! During my time there, I was focused on promoting the pageant and West Virginia tourism. If it came up, I was comfortable sharing my platform or what I am able to do… but it truly wasn’t about me. I was on a mission and I truly loved getting to serve the state and Internationals. If you are blessed to book a media interview, remember who you are there for and what your role is. Are you promoting the pageant? The state? Tourism? A designer? Specifying this will help you make decisions on wardrobe as well. Since I was there for the state of West Virginia, I decided to wear my favorite blue work dress that was appropriate to be around government officials. My wardrobe was modest because of the professional environment I was immersed in. I would look out of place walking around the capitol wearing a cocktail dress and talking to the media. I was there for the state and I wanted each part of how I presented myself to represent that.

International ladies are always stand outs and with these tips… you will nail your next media interview!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Monday, May 8, 2017

Healthy For Good Movement


Have you joined the American Heart Association's Healthy for Good Movement yet? If not you should! It is a four part program focused on living an overall healthy lifestyle. The four parts of the program are listed below!

Eat Smart: Try to make healthy eating choices. If you are looking for some great heart healthy recipes check out the American Heart Association Cook Book.

Add Color: Make sure to include all types of veggies! The more colors the better, especially green.

Move More: Try to exercise everyday! Sometimes it makes it easier when you exercise with others or have an accountability partner. If you are looking for a good group of people that will help you along the way, join the Go Red Get Fit Facebook Group!

Be Well: Being healthy has to do with all aspects of your life. You need to remember that your mental health is equally as important as your heart health. Find the way you like to de-stress best whether it is meditation or dance, you will be able to relax and improve your mental health.

For More Information Please Visit: healthyforgood.heart.org

"Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds."

-Orison Swett Marden

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International 2016

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Proudly Introducing:


Every month everyone who is involved or working to prevent newborn abandonments throughout the US gets on a conference call to brain storm. During my last call, I realized something, there are at least 50 people on the call...There’s at least one from person from each state, yet I was the only person from Wyoming.

So I asked, “Am I the only Safe Haven advocate in WY?”

Turns out, I AM!

So we made collaborative decision to appoint me as the official Executive Director over the state of Wyoming.

That means I will be putting together a team to continue our education efforts throughout my state, visiting college campuses, high schools, Boys and Girls Club speaking to teens and educating on Safe haven laws. We will also be fundraising to provide pamphlets, signs, and billboards throughout my state, in hopes to spread awareness and ultimately save babies from abandonment.

I'm very grateful for this opportunity. However, it's an incredible responsibility, one of which I do not take lightly. I promise to work to the best of my ability to prevent any abandonments in my state of Wyoming.

I'm your Mrs International reminding you- TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Treat Yourself


Being Miss International is a dream come true. Each day I have the unique privilege to serve as a role model and advocate for loving yourself and your body. It truly is the best job in the world! It's nonstop and I'm constantly working on something.

This year has shown me that we are all like sponges. We must soak up something to pour it out into others. Often times I find myself so busy… that I forget to replenish my own “water” or decide it's not a priority. When I do this… just like a sponge, I find myself dried out - tired - and less on fire than I usually am. I have never doubted the calling God has placed on my life with young women and to make sure I am able to fulfill His purposes… I also have to take care of myself.

Free time is rare so I have to schedule dates with myself where I do something that is girly and pampers me. Here are 3 ways I like to treat myself so that my heart is full to serve others.
  • Hello, Face Masks! I am actually wearing one right now. When it's been a long week of traveling, a moisturizing and replenishing mask does the trick to bring my skin back to life! I like to wear them as I snuggle up in bed with my puppy to watch The Bachelor (Yes I know, it's terrible… but Ben Higgins made me start loving it again. Don't judge.) or YouTube!
  • Bubble Baths! There are few things better than a Lush or Philosophy bubble bath after being in 6 inch heels for any amount of time. I like to make it extra bubbly and set up my iPad so I can watch a sermon from Passion City Church. 
  • Walk It Out! I live near a beautiful park and have the best puppy ever! Put the two together and you have a match made in heaven. While I'm on the walks with my puppy, I turn off my phone and just be present in the moment. I'm able to fully unplug and just live in the moment.

These are three things that work for me - use them as a catalyst to find ways for you to treat yourself and prepare to change the world.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Thursday, May 4, 2017

How To Prepare: Political Questions


I have had so many contestants express their worry about being asked a political question onstage! Ladies, if you prepare correctly it isn't as scary as you think. So, here are a few tips on how to prepare to answer a political question:

Apps: I recommend downloading at least 2 news apps on your phone and getting notifications for both of them. This way not only do you have two different opinions, but you read the basic headlines for the stories. If you see a story that seems important then go to the article and read the whole thing, or watch the news video most apps provide.

Friends: Have your family and friends ask you questions about news stories they know about! This way you are getting a “non pageant style question.” You will learn more and more about different events the more people you ask and talk with. This also allows you to get multiple different people's perspectives on the news as well.

Related to Your Platform: If there is something related to your platform that is going on in the news you should know about it! These are the types of stories that you should be following closely and know the most details about.

Teens: Ask your friends what topics they are interested in and know about. This is a good way to find out important events and details about things related to your age group!

Have an Opinion: The judges are not judging you on whether you agree with them or not, they are judging you on how you answer the question. Remember though, as an International Queen you have to represent everyone. Please do not be rude towards those who may disagree with you.

The Week Of: Be watching and studying the news the week of the pageant, especially for finals night. It is important to have the information fresh in your head before on-stage question. If you study, you will feel more confident!

I hope this helps!

"Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds."

-Orison Swett Marden

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International 2016