As I wrapped up my high school career, I reflected on the past four years and the decisions I made. More than ever I have realized that my involvement in pageantry is one of the best things that could have ever happened to me!
Pageants encouraged me to be myself, to stand up for what I believe in, and to not base my self worth on what others thought of me. Being a titleholder has allowed me to hold myself to an extremely high standard and to make decisions that I will be very proud of.
However, none of this is easy to do. It almost always require taking the road that is less traveled. This can definitely be lonely at times. Some will respect you for the decisions you make to stay above the influence and avoid the senseless drama for example, but many will dislike you for it. Just remember that you ALWAYS have a strong support system in your pageant sisters.
During my interview at Miss Teen International last year, one of the judges asked me, “Who is a good teen role model in the media?” I couldn’t think of a single person that really set a positive example for me, and I told her that. I followed by telling her that this is why teen queens are so vital in today’s society. We need to use the crown to make the world around us a better place by being a role model to those we encounter.
Was I the most popular in high school? No. Did I attend lots of parties? Definitely not. Did I get bullied for my decisions? Yes. Did I leave high school knowing I served in my community, did the right thing, and strived for excellence? Absolutely, and I don’t regret it at all.
I know it is tempting to feel that you have to be accepted and liked by all. Most teenage girls feel so much pressure by society to conform to the norm, but there is a much greater joy in taking the right path and doing the right thing.
For all of my teen queen sisters that are still on their high school journey, just remember that choosing a path not taken by many can be so incredibly rewarding. You all are doing phenomenal things in your communities and states, and I believe that’s way better than “fitting in” and being “popular.” Strive for excellence ALWAYS, and don’t be afraid to be different!