Being a judge for the Miss American National, held at the Santa Clara Hyatt, was SUCH a great experience. I was there representing A-List Makeup Team as an Over All Judge for the Miss California Jr. Teen (13-15yrs old) and the Miss California Teen (16-18 yrs old) divisions.
Upon meeting with our wonderful judge coordinator, Charlotte, I was surprised to learn that this pageant was not like your typical pageant in that it’s purpose is to promote INNER beauty versus the typical “beauty pageant.” Here, they encourage girls to be confident and believe they are beautiful just the way they are without having to conform to the media’s definition of “beauty.” Coming from a purely outer beauty standpoint, I thought I would be really biased and have a hard time being the type of judge they were looking for. What do you mean we’re not judging them based on gowns, hair, and makeup?! That’s MY “thing”!
I was surprised to find just how easy it was to see all the INNER beauty these girls had to offer, with impressive resumes filled with charity work that made my eyes spin! The first round of judging consisted of the girls going through a one-on-one Interview with each of the judge, like a job interview. I asked the girls, “tell me about some of your family traditions.” It was great seeing them light up and beam as they talked about their families with such enthusiasm. The on-stage rounds proved to be more difficult as I watch these young ladies literally shake and teeter as they try to walk gracefully in new heels. I tried to catch their eyes, flashing them a real smile in hopes they would flash me a genuine one back, not just the smile-because-I’m-on-stage-and-I-have-to-smile. I loved hearing about their dreams and aspirations during Personal Introductions round, so inspiring from such intelligent and bright eyed young ladies! But I think my favorite was watching their fathers escort them in the Evening Gown round. Such a touching moment, it was hard not to cry AND furiously scribble improvement suggestions for each of the girls.
At the end of the night, a gorgeous young lady won each of the titles, with many more winning other titles for: scholastic achievement, charity, top model, best spokesperson, best platform, etc… I was extremely impressed with the National American Miss organization, providing a place for young women to come and build their confidence and learn valuable skills while make new friends.
Looking back, I can’t say I ignored their outer appearances completely while I scored them on confidence, substance, and poise. Not to say that I think only the girls with the best hair & makeup are even considered in the running, but I think I can speak for everyone when I say their overall appearance does factor in. First off, the girls had to wear AGE appropriate attire for both Interview and Evening Gown. The last thing a 13 year old should be wearing to her first job interview is a sexy secretary outfit! Secondly, did I care if a contestant had her hair professionally put into an up do or if their mama tied them up into a neat pony tail? No. But did I care if a contestant took the effort to even comb her hair? Yes! It didn’t matter to me if a contestant had flawless skin thanks to Dior’s new line of foundation or if she was smiling through her braces and teenage acne. As long as as she was smiling and making some effort to look pulled together.
The point I am trying to make here is: Outer beauty should not be the only important thing in our lives but it is definitely ONE of the important things. Why hide all that inner beauty behind greasy hair and ill fitted clothes? Be beautiful on the inside and gorgeous on the out. You don’t have to choose one, have your cake AND eat it too! 🙂