You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby

I was going through my childhood bedroom and found lots of old photos and memories. I couldn’t help but double-over in laughter when I found a photo of me from my very first pageant. For those who have followed my pageant journey, I started competing in pageants when I was 13 years old. I can remember watching pageants on TV with my mom as young as 5 and we never missed one and even recorded most, but the conversation of doing them myself never really came up. Finally, one summer vacation I compiled all the VHS tapes and watched each one – scrupulously analyzing hairstyles, gowns, colors, walks. I wanted to do this.

When I brought the idea to my mom, she said if it was something I wanted to try that I was responsible for finding a pageant and funding it myself to prove my interest and we would go from there. Challenge – Accepted. I found a pageant at my local shopping mall, a two-piece “gown” for $10, reused shoes and accessories, did my own hair and make-up, and funded my entry fee with various money from chores and birthdays.

There were 3 contestants in my age group and I did not win, but had the best time – we were hooked! It took many years and lots of trial and error to find out the best way to show the judges the real me, and that I was ready for a crown.

I share this picture (not only for a good laugh but…) to show that personal growth should never end. We are constantly learning more about ourselves, our likes, our strengths, our preferences, our passions. No matter the direction you choose to take your pageant presentation on the outside, never lose sight that you are your most valuable asset. It is what’s inside of you that will set you apart.

Seek Happiness,



  1. Nice blog entry, Jesse. It's always good to be reminded of the growth pageant journeys provide each of us who participate.


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