Things just wrapped up at the Planet Hollywood Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada for the 2012 Miss America Pageant. Your new Miss America is Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler.
I was part of the Miss America Organization for 4 years when I was competing in the Miss Alabama Program and held the title of Miss Samford University (a preliminary to Miss Alabama). No, I never won Miss Alabama and never stood on the Miss America stage but I believe I know a little bit about what it’s like to be in their stilettos.
The Miss America Organization is about poise, grace, composure and beauty. Any Miss America contestant has to be complete in each of those characteristics to even be able to stand on that stage in Las Vegas.
I am proud to say I was part of such an amazing organization and one day I hope to have a little girl who follows in my footsteps and in the footsteps of so many other phenomenal women as local title holders, state title holders or even maybe the Miss America title.
I know she will learn so many irreplaceable lessons. Some of the things I learned during my years competing…
- It’s not always about winning – Yes, my goal ultimately was to “take the crown” but that’s not what means the most. In the end, I won’t always “win” in life. I won’t always get the job or the promotion and I had to learn how to handle losing with grace keeping my head high.
- Preparation has no expiration date – To succeed in life you must be constantly preparing for the next step, the next stage of life. There is no end date to being prepared.
- Never forget your poise – There is nothing that can replace poise. As a woman being poised is something you learn as you live life and take life’s ups and downs. Especially the downs…always be poised. People are watching, little girls are looking up to you hoping to be like you one day.
- Always wear waterproof mascara! You never know when it will come in handy
These and many more life lessons I learned from the Miss America Organization – the more important lessons I learned from my Mom…
- Stand FIRM in your beliefs – No matter what the other contestants say about you, no matter who is sitting on the judging panel or in the audience when you are faced with something that questions your morals or your beliefs always stand firm in what you believe, never try to “please” someone with your response to them.
- Always dress like Miss America when you go out – You never know who you will run in to or what opportunity may present itself you should always be dressed and prepared to accept the challenge.
- Smile – Smile when you’re winning and even more when you lose.
- Have Fun – I competed in so many pageants before becoming Miss Samford, needless to say I lost many times in my pageant career but after every competition my mom would always look at me and say, “Well, did you have fun?” I could always answer with a definite “Yes! I had so much fun!” and she would smile and say, “Then that’s all that matters.” She was right!
While I don’t agree with the way the Miss America Organization has taken the “reality show” direction with this pageant I must say there are still some amazing lessons to be learned from being part of the Miss Alabama family.
And while I hope the Organization realizes their traditions and class will take them much farther in society than trying to keep up with the latest entertainment trends, I hope they go back to highly qualified judges instead of celebrities, I hope they stop humiliating the girls who don’t score high enough to move forward in the competition, I know my future mini-me will be a better “her” because of this organization that molds young minds, teaches discipline and trains up achievers.
Thank you Miss Alabama and Miss America for all you taught me and for what I’ll pass on to my children. But even more, thank you Mom for who you made me today. Your support, love, and cheers set me on the stage of achievement and launched me toward greatness. Thank you for supporting me when I was wearing the crown and even more for being there when I walked off the stage with only flowers in my hand. You always made me feel like a winner no matter what and you always will. I am forever thankful for you and Dad and all that you both mean to me.