By Hailli Woo
From “Honey Boo Boo” and “Toddlers and Tiaras” all of the way to “Miss Congeniality,” we are exposed to many myths of beauty competitions. I am set to compete in the Miss Maryland USA pageant Oct. 31 to Nov. 2. Through preparation thus far, some of these myths couldn’t be more far from the truth. On the other hand, there are some that are perfectly on point.
To start, not every woman competing is a spoiled brat who has everything at her fingertips. Most of the women I am competing against are typical young women who are going to college or a professional job daily. A lot of the women are competing for the experience and to make new life long friends, rather than the publicity and the perks that come with being Miss Maryland USA.
Another rumor is the stereotype physique of competitors. A lot of the women are not super tall or stick thin. The message of the Miss Maryland USA pageant and many other pageants, is to promote a healthy lifestyle not a perfect body. The pageant wants to see a woman who makes healthy food choices and exercises rather than someone who starves herself and tries to look fake. This to me is the greatest aspect of this pageant which drew me to this organization.
With those rumors being said there are a lot more truths. One of the most obvious ones would be the money shelled out for these pageants. To register for the Miss Maryland USA pageant I had to pay $195 out of pocket. The remaining money left to pay for the pageant was $995 and could be fundraised or sponsored money. This money goes towards hotel fees, meals, contestant packages, prizes, and the airfare and hotel fees for the woman who is crowned Miss Maryland USA 2015 to travel to the Miss USA pageant. I raised extra money to pay for my dress, shoes, hair, and makeup. I would say that the grand total probably came out to be close to $2,000. It’s definitely not cheap to compete, but it is possible to get this money and it is most definitely worth the experience.
A second rumor that is true is the amount of preparation that goes into pageants. Being that this is a pageant based on a healthy lifestyle you must do whatever you can to be in your best shape possible and feel great about it. I have been going to the gym almost every day. I usually do a range of different workouts so I don’t get bored. These include running on the elliptical, doing muscle targeting workouts, and my favorite, Irish dancing. Besides keeping your body in shape, you have to keep your other physical aspects up to your expectations so you are the most confident person when you are conducting your interview or walking on stage. To prepare for this I have gotten my hair dyed I purchased hair extensions and I have also been fake baking (my mother is not happy about that one). This specific process of the pageant world gives society the idea that all pageant girls are fake people, but in reality we do what we know will make us feel the most beautiful and likeable form of ourselves during competition.
Beauty pageants are becoming less about physical beauty and more about inner beauty. Rumors are fading away and society is starting to admire pageant contestants more. Yes, there are some crowned competitors who have brought shame to other competitors, but they should not be the ones to represent our group as a whole. We are all still people and we are trying to ultimately represent the country that we love so much.