Student gives first-person account of pageants
Nashay Matthews, Reporter
September 6, 2012
Filed under Features
For the past 10 months I have devoted myself to preparing for what will be one of the most important days of my life so far, competing for the Miss California International pageant. Areas of competition are fun-fashion, interview, fitness wear, on-stage question and evening gown. The pageant will take place Sept. 8 in the Dore Theater at Cal State University of Bakersfield.
In November of 2011, I was crowned Miss Bakersfield 2012. I felt so accomplished considering that prior to the pageant I had successfully lost 30 pounds, completed my first half marathon, was excelling academically, and was just proud of the place I was at in my life. Winning Miss Bakersfield was just icing on the cake.
The past 10 months have been filled with various public appearances, mostly benefits for charities such as the Ronald McDonald House, St. Jude’s Children Research Center, the American Heart Association and countless others.
Of course, we have gotten to do other fun things as well, like being able to ride on a fire truck in the Christmas Parade and we have even gotten the honor to meet Mayor Harvey Hall on several occasions. And by we, I mean myself, Miss Teen Bakersfield Madison Swaim and Mrs. Bakersfield Joslynn Jarrett-Skelton.
Preparing for a pageant almost feels like a job because it involves so much work, including social networking, being on time for appearances, being dependable, making sure you are setting a good example for others, and on top of that, balancing your own personal life.
My balancing act includes working full time at RJ’s Grill and Catering, taking 16 units at Bakersfield College, being a part of two running groups, playing soccer for the Bakersfield ACES, volunteering, working out, media internships, and of course, squeezing in spending time with friends and family.
My community service platform is The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and I have chosen this organization as my platform because important people in my life have been diagnosed with MS. I have been involved with the MS Society for three years and have done various things to support this platform, including my participation in the annual MS Walks, running in the L.A. Marathon under the Southern California and Nevada chapter of the MS Society, and also hosting a tennis tournament and donating the proceeds to the MS Society. This aspect of pageantry is the most important to me because I am so passionate about my platform, and pageantry gives me a voice to raise awareness, funds, and educate the public about MS.
Health and fitness play a huge role in pageants, of course. Generally I eat really healthy and work out really hard, but for the past six weeks I have been waking up at 5 a.m. so I could have the time to work out twice a day, and during this time I have not eaten bread carbohydrates, sugar, dairy, and have consumed very low sodium as well.
Another aspect that is difficult to prepare for is the personal interview portion of the pageant, because it is 50 percent of what my overall score will be judged on. In pageant interviews, it is pertinent to maintain balance when answering a question to avoid offending the judge asking the question.
Pageantry is not all about who is the most beautiful, who is the thinnest and who has the biggest hair.
Pageantry is about being dedicated to a community service platform, applying good interpersonal communication skills, being more than comfortable with public speaking, taking good care of your body and putting others before yourself.
I have been participating in pageants my entire life, and I would never change that because pageantry has taught me so many life skills that I wouldn’t have developed without pageantry.
I really hope I win Miss California considering the hard work I have devoted to it, but if I am not the lucky girl to be crowned I will gracefully and proudly congratulate the girl who is, because pageantry to me is not a competition against a group of beautiful and talented young women, it’s a competition against myself.