Miss Ballerina at National American Miss
So, last weekend your friendly neighborhood ballerina-to-be competed in the “pageant for today’s girl”, National American Miss.
This year, I was not participating in any ballet competitions. The reasons include:
- The expense. Seriously, ballet competitions cost so much!
- My age. Or more specifically, I was a senior in high school this year. The possible reward of studying somewhere fantastic for the summer or a year were not as appealing as in previous years. I thought I would be going to college, and I knew I was going away, so I wanted a relatively free (and less expensive) summer, and I knew that if by some miracle I was offered training during the year, I wouldn’t be able to take it.
- I have had the experience and performance opportunity from competing before. Multiple times. And I also have the experience that says even if I am fortunate enough to win, say, a summer scholarship to some fabulous place, I may not be able to take it.
So, with not competing in any ballet competitions, my schedule and pocketbook were open to something else. In the mail, I received an invitation for an open call for NAM. Unlike the year previously, however, I did not ignore it. Fast forward to July, and I am at my first, and most likely last, pageant event!
I honestly can say that I have enjoyed the experience. I had the opportunity to wear my prom dress (and feel like a princess) again, rocked an interview (and my “kickin’ outfit” according to my mom) and presented myself onstage speaking into a microphone. For the optional contests, I chose Top Model, in which I had fun working one-on-one with a photographer. And let me tell you, I got one huge ego and confidence boost from the photographer’s constant compliments during the shoot. I had the biggest grin on my face for hours after. Oh, and I also received a CD of the pictures from the shoot, which I can honestly say turned out pretty good.
The other optional contest I competed in was of course Talent. Even if it wasn’t strictly a ballet competition, I wasn’t going to pass up the chance to perform onstage! And my mom was able to make a Don Quixote tutu, which made her happy. (Side note on the incredible seamstress/ mathematician Momma- she might be starting her own sewing blog here on wordpress!) And I guess I made the judges happy too, because I ended up winning the Talent Category!
So while I didn’t even come close to being crowned Miss Florida Teen (let’s chalk that up to lack of experience, shall we?), I did walk away with a pretty cool trophy, a cash prize, and an invite to compete at Nationals. I was very happy with this outcome. Some girls get into doing pageants (almost) as much as I love dancing, and I wasn’t disappointed at all for not coming in the Top 20. Frankly, at the time I was just tired of standing on the stage in those heels! But really, I didn’t want to win. Not only because I knew I couldn’t go to Nationals due to scheduling conflicts if I did, but because pageantry just isn’t as important to me as it is to those other girls. Sitting in the audience cheering on the finalists, I felt content. It was nice to enjoy the weekend of competing without the stress of a ballet competition, and I wasn’t stressed because I didn’t want it bad. Which is also why three years ago I cried my eyes out when I didn’t make the NYC finals for a ballet competition. Because then, it mattered. And at that time three years ago, a friend of mine made me realize this.
To wrap this all up: Ballerina takes Talent Category by storm, enjoys pageant for fun, and gets to spend a weekend feeling pretty and cheering on other young ladies. It was nice to have a different perspective and just enjoy myself, rather than need to win.
A lot of people might have wanted to try a pageant at least once. My advice is: go for it! National American Miss gets you out of your comfort zone with public speaking, interviewing, giving back, and of course walking onstage in a pretty dress. You’ll enjoy yourself, meet new people, and come out with increased confidence!