The Sisterhood of Pageantry

Often times pageants can be misunderstood. People think that contestants are catty toward one another, that it’s all about being “perfect”, and winning is the ultimate goal. I can tell you that my experience at Miss International couldn’t be farther from those false interpretations of “pageantry”. When I look back at my week competing for Miss International… I see true friendships and sisterhood. I see each contestant striving for her personal best while lifting others up along the way.

I am Miss International because I prepared for the job and put all my faith in the Lord… but the friendships I made during my time in Jacksonville allowed me to stay focused on my “why” and have a blast while doing so! I wanted to take some time and focus on some key moments that highlight just how true the sisterhood of pageantry and Miss International truly is.

Let’s begin with my arrival in Jacksonville. I was nervous and excited all in one. Once arriving, I noticed other young women in the entry way wearing their beautiful crown and banner. Was I nervous to talk to them at first? Uhh… yes! But I am so thankful that I walked over to them. The two young ladies I met would become some of my best friends throughout the week. We quickly began joking, discussing our travels, and planning to meet up to attend the Mrs. International Final Pageant.

Later in the week, my new best friend and I were sitting in rehearsals and honestly… I was tired. I felt a little off and began focusing on things I couldn’t control. She quickly noticed something was askew and asked what was going on. I opened up to her and she embraced me with empathy and compassion. She didn’t have to listen - she chose to listen and encourage. This would also become the phenomenal young woman that would help me get in and out of all my attire during the Final Pageant because of the quick changes and offer early morning hugs while we were getting ready for the day. Each moment of our time together, I was uplifted and encouraged. Instead of being “competitors”… we were genuine friends wanting the best for one another. We spent the entire week taking goofy photos, serving those we were around, and reminding the other that they were fully capable of fulfilling this job. I believed in her and she believed in me.

Throughout the week, I was able to take a Miss Teen contestant under my wing. As Miss International - you’re the big sister… it’s a rewarding yet intentional responsibility. This meant that during my week, I also wanted to take the time to pour into her and make sure that she felt 100%. From touching up make-up backstage, to handling minor freak out moments, and even praying together before hand… my adoptive little sister went on to become Miss Teen International 2016. Before we even knew what was unfolding, our relationship was already firm on friendship.

The final moment I want to share is one that happened right after my crowning… and one that I will never forget. Once taking my first walk as Miss International, I turned around and saw all the truly beautiful contestants I now represented. The best of the best from across the world and just moments prior I had been selected to hold the unique responsibility of making them all proud. The moment I locked eyes with the other girls, I lost it… tears were rolling down my face. I was sharing one of the most memorable moments of my life with young women that I truly valued as friends. Any one of us would have made a great Miss International and in that moment I knew I had their full support and love… this is the true meaning of sisterhood.

There are so many moments from Internationals that exhibited sisterhood and I wish I could share them all. What I can tell you is this… only one girl will take home a new job at the end of the week. However, we can all take home genuine friendships that last far longer than the year of service. Each person you encounter was given to you for a reason and that’s not an exciting responsibility to take lightly. It’s quite honestly one of the coolest things to think about. The sisterhood you make through International Pageants is true. We don’t compete against each other… we compete with each other.

To all the contestants in the Miss International 2016 Class… I hope you know how thankful I am for the love, friendship, and encouragement you all provided me with. Thank you for embracing the dorky, funny face making, Jesus loving, coffee drinking, and business nerd that I am. I love each and every one of you.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016


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