What I’ve learned during Miss Asian Las Vegas, My first pageant gig:
1. Girls in Beauty Pageant are not stupid: all the girls in my pageant were pretty smart and ambitious. I don’t know if they are book smart or not, but they are very street smart. (meaning they know how to talk to people, etc.)
2. Beauty costs money: shiny dresses, mani, pedicure, tanning, bikini, full makeup and photo shoot. $$$ it is expensive just to participate in the beauty pageant. also, don’t forget there is a reason why people create the pageant event: for money. it is for profit. As a contestant, the best thing that can happen to you is WINNING and getting a scholarship (or any prizes)
3. Sabotage, drama: yes, it happens: I didn’t really know about this until the pageant was over. I’ve heard that someone’s parents sued the winner. It could be just a rumor, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was true.
4. Don’t expect a fair game: You need sponsors to win the competition. How do you get sponsors? The answer is pretty simple: you know someone with money. HOW? If you have a strong family connection (rich dad, uncle or grandparents…), getting sponsorship isn’t be difficult. Especially, when your parents do all the work for you (like calling their rich friends). For me, I was pretty shocked when the marketing person encouraged all the candidates to get their parents’ help to raise sponsorship money. It was at the orientation meeting. Now you know where the unfairness begins. In my pageant, some girls dropped out because of sponsorship related issues. But, don’t feel discouraged, life is not fair anyway.
5. Struggles: I have no family connection in U.S., I live alone in SF, I had to do everything by myself: buying dresses, contacting sponsors and booking my flights to Vegas. I had an intense full time job, so it was really hard to balance between the job and pageant preparation.
6. You will gain something: #2, 3, 4, 5 might sound discouraging. but I have to say you will get something out of it. For me, I learned a lot about my diet: how to eat healthy, how to take care of my body. I think it is a valuable life lesson. Also, I gained some skills like public speaking, good posture and stage presence. Finally, I met some great people including Rose and Janice from SF.
7. So… will you do it again? I don’t know. Part of me wants to do it again, I enjoy being onstage. but my life is so hectic, one more beauty pageant sounds like a luxury to me. (as I mentioned, it costs lots of time and money)
8. Any tips for pageant wannabes: Enjoy the moment. Don’t be stressed. You are spending your own precious time and money to participate in a pageant so you deserve to have some fun during the process.
*Final note: My biggest concern was “what if people take me not seriously after my pageant gig?”. I spent some sleepless night worrying about it, and even tried to hide it from others. But during my experience, I’ve learned that the stereotypes on pageant girls are not true. And it made me to feel confident about my decision. After the pageant, I have been working/ studying harder to prove that the stereotypes are wrong. It is still in progress! Smart is the new sexy right? 🙂