by: Alicia M. Blanco
This past month, I’ve been watching a huge dream of mine come true right before my very eyes. The “Miss Inner Beauty Pageant” kicked off this month and it’s my new baby!
I’ve dreamt of a pageant that’s all about INNER beauty for years. In all my years in the pageant world I can honestly say I’ve been wildly and abundantly blessed because I’ve met some of the most beautiful people (not JUST women by the way) that the world has to offer.
And I’m not talking about the physically beautiful people; I’m talking about the people who radiate from within. From genuine pageant fans and supporters from all over the world (shout out to John Baker!), to outstanding pageant directors and contestants. I gravitate towards the good ones. Thank you, God!
Sometimes though, the women competing who naturally and effortlessly possess that sense of INNER BEAUTY don’t always “win” the big crown in the pageant. It’s heartbreaking to watch someone with so much of that inner beauty I love so much, walk away empty handed.
So that’s why The Miss Inner Beauty pageant means the WORLD to me. The girls range from 7- 18yrs old and are part of the Department of Children and Family Services foster care system. This pageant is an opportunity to increase their self-esteem and encourage them to focus on their inner beaut traits throughout their lives rather than the outer. How awesome is it that they are learning these things at such young and impressionable ages!?
And even though I was coaching and mentoring them this week, I think I was the one who walked away with some new valuable lessons.
In watching and listening to THEM, I came up with this list of 8 traits of an inner beauty queen:
1. She accepts herself just as she is. – The girls were each given a compact mirror to look into and then tell everyone in the group what they loved about themselves. One contestant said, “I love my glasses,” and, “I see a happy girl.” Another said, “My front teeth have a gap, but I like it. It makes me unique.” She’s 8.
2. She doesn’t compete with others. – It may be a pageant competition, but there was absolutely no sense of competing amongst this group. I watched as they made suggestions to one another on how to walk and even offered ideas to each other for the talent competition. I heard, “I love that song! I can’t wait to hear you sing that!”
3. She’s fun to be around. – There was a clear bond and friendship amongst these ladies. They were having fun playing dress up together and even more fun giggling as they learned how to deliver their introductions.
4. She sets goals for herself. – One girl is designing and making her own dress for the pageant because she wants to go to FIDM (Fashion Institute) after high school. Additionally, several of the older girls expressed a desire to go to college and talked about steps to making it happen.
5. She has a generous heart. – I watched one girl give up her dress to her friend simply because it was the only one that fit her.
6. She has an open mind. – The ladies listened to every word I said, eager to learn and apply it. One contestant couldn’t find a gown that fit her body type. Instead of stressing or pouting, she let it roll off her shoulders and said “it’s ok, there’s a dress out there for me, I just know it.”
7. She walks in confidence. – Obviously, part of the pageant entails walking on stage in their pageant gowns. I loved seeing them carry themselves with a new sense of confidence after our self-esteem workshop. (And it appears that the girls are actually most excited for the talent competition! Some will sing, some will dance, and one will even be sharing a poem that she wrote. That takes confidence!)
8. She supports and encourages those around her. – It was a joy to watch the girls cheering each other on as we practiced walking on stage and even help one another try on their pageant dresses. They were complimenting each other like sisters would.
As you can see, nothing on this list was about who had the prettiest face or the best gown or the most money. In the end, none of those things matter. How you treat yourself and others does.
I can’t wait to watch this pageant really take off for years to come. It may be a small ripple in the water now, but I envision it becoming a huge wave later.