One of my favorite past-times as a child was watching the Miss America pageant. My mom would get me takeout and I would park myself in front of our tiny little box TV, bunny ears and all, and marvel at the beautiful gowns. Let me make it clear that I had no aspirations of becoming a beauty queen myself, but I just adored shiny, beautiful things. Somethings never change, I suppose.
So you could imagine my delight when one of my best friends, who is now Co-Director of the Miss Philadelphia pageant (mama is OH so proud), asked me to volunteer at the 94th annual Miss Philadelphia pageant this past Saturday. Now, because of movies like Miss Congeniality and horrific reality shows detailing the lives of actual beauty queens, you immediately think big hair, huge egos, and of course, world peace. Naturally I was terrified that an underfed beauty queen high on Aqua Net would verbally abuse me to get her an Evian spritzer or something.
But I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. No tantrums. No crazy stage moms. No freak outs. No praying in the corner and overly thanking Jesus. No Vaseline on the teeth (I mean maybe, I wasn’t like all up in their bidniss when they were getting ready). These ladies were the real deal. And I gotta say, oh so refreshing. I was expecting to see Barbie Doll clones that were so beautiful and perfect, that you couldn’t look at them directly or your face would melt off. Instead you saw real women of all sizes, colors, personalities. Aspiring doctors, Master degree holders, all talented and lovely in their own way.
These girls defined “beauty queen” in a modern way … the way beauty SHOULD
be defined. Each one, especially the contestants for outstanding teen, which made me feel really bad about myself for not having my shit together like these ladies do at such a young age. And everyone was so calm and nice, even under all the pressure. It was almost scary. For me, the idea of prancing on a stage in front of hundreds of people in a God damn bikini as they judged me would make me curl into the fetal position and cry for my mommy. Yet these girls walked around waiting to get their hair and makeup did, treating everyone they came across with respect like, “meh … all in a day.”
It takes balls to be a beauty queen, let me tell you. While I don’t fully agree with pageants and find them to be a little dated, these girls were educated, smart, and just there to better themselves and the community they adore so much. If that meant strutting their stuff in four inch heels (clear heels sometimes, which I was told is a “pageant thing”) and a bikini in order to get that chance, well, so be it. And yeah … the crown. The crown is rad. What lady wouldn’t want to wear a crown, for crying out loud. Hell, I did. Oh yeah, I tried that shit on before the show. It was glorious.
I want to thank the Miss Philadelphia Organization for welcoming me into their world for one day and getting to experience the beauty queen lifestyle. It was lovely meeting all the past queens, as well as the ones participating. Especially our reigning Miss Philadelphia, Julia Rae, who isn’t just straight up talented and gorgeous, but such a sweet heart. Her state of zen before the show was mind blowing. Again … I would be crying for my mommy. So congrats to all the participants. I was happy to eat all the carbs for you back stage so you didn’t feel the need to. You’re welcome, ladies, you’re welcome.