This past weekend I had the pleasure of serving as a judge for the Miss Philadelphia 2016 Pageant … crowning the newest Miss Philadelphia’s Outstanding Teen.
Going in I was cool as a cucumber. But the minute these mini teen queens stepped in front of me to grill and judge them I was a hot mess. Like sweating through my leather pencil skirt hot mess. Because all I wanted to do was run up to them, hug them, creepily stroke their hair and be all, “it’s okay … you’re ALL beautiful!”
But alas that is not what I was there to do. I was there to get my Simon Cowell on (although I’m clearly more of a Paula).
From the women competing for Miss Philadelphia 2016 to my little Miss Outstanding Teen candidates … the one thing I couldn’t stop from thinking the entire time was, “holy shit, I could NEVER do this.” It takes balls. You are sending your vulnerability to the wind and standing up there baring your soul with a smile on your face in front of random people with fancy titles to judge you. That is some scary shit. Seriously … I was staring at all of them in sheer awe the entire night.
Look, people like to talk shit about pageants because they unfortunately have a big ol’ stereotype behind them. Big hair. World peace. And airheads in bikinis. But I couldn’t tell you have far from the truth all of those things are.
You need to care about something A LOT in order to perform on a stage like that … like, oh I don’t know, in a swimsuit. Really? You couldn’t get me to stand in front of 5 people in a swimsuit on stage, let alone hundreds. But hey, if I REALLY wanted to change laws or find a cure for a disease faster, meh, maybe I would consider it.
Every single one of these girls had a platform they were supporting from gender equality, to LGBTQ rights, to cures for diseases and beyond. All platforms that made me feel like, “hmmm maybe I should stop crying about assholes in my life and maybe start making a difference like these chicks.”
Because with the crown on your head, you have a better chance at getting shit done and inspiring change. That made me understand why these girls, who weren’t all Kendall Jenner (I really wanted to say Cindy Crawford but … audience) thin, strutted out on the stage in a swimsuit, cellulite, curves, and all.
At first I cringed for them and wanted to throw sharp objects at the people who still think it is okay to have a “swimsuit round” in a pageant. To be honest, I don’t support it. How a woman in a swimsuit makes a queen is beyond me. But it DOES show their confidence.
I saw probably some of the most confident women in all shapes and sizes strut their stuff out there with a smile on their face. And THAT was amazing to me. Did I wish they didn’t have to do it? Yes … but unfortunately I don’t rule the world.
So the next time you want to bash a beauty queen or a pageant, think about the girls participating and working their asses off for that crown. Because the crown is just something shiny that stands for scholarship money (the winner received a $10,000 scholarship … hello) for them to better themselves. An opportunity to stand on a platform and make a difference in the community. Something not everyone has a chance to because you can scream as loud as you want, but it’s really hard for people to hear you without the right platform.
So congrats to the new Miss Philadelphia 2016 and Miss Philadelphia’s Outstanding Teen. Kick ass this year, girls, and stick it to the man.
Me with the new Miss Philadelphia’s Outstanding Teen