Monday, June 2, 2014

A day in the life of a beauty queen: my take

If you follow me on social media, I'm sure you've seen an explosion of Miss USA posts throughout the past week. Because of my job, I am fortunate to work as an extension of the Miss Universe Organization production staff for this year's Miss USA competition, which will be hosted in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The contestants at Nottoway Plantation.

Throughout the past few days, I've traveled to different attractions and locations in the city alongside the contestants. But before I go any further, I think it's worth saying that I am a total pageant girl. Not in the literal sense, but in the sense that I love watching them. I grew up watching Miss USA and Miss Universe with my mom; in fact, after each pageant ended, I would turn off the TV, take my best pageant stance and tell my mom to give me an interview question. I would answer as many questions as my mom was willing to ask--yes, I was THAT type of child.

Now that I'm working behind the scenes, it's extremely impressive to see how much really goes into filming footage for the telecast. When you're watching it at home, everything seems so seamless, but from the inside looking out, it sure is a lot of work. 

The contestants exploring the Rural Life Museum

One of the biggest things I've noticed is how awesome these young women are.  Ranging from nineteen to their mid-twenties, these ladies are intelligent, beautiful, outgoing and fun. It makes sense that all the contestants have these qualities; after all, they are competing to be Miss USA, which entails all of the aforementioned traits. But, as I said before, it's different when you're watching the competition from home--you really only get to see a contestant's outer layer of beauty, with the exception of a one- minute live interview question. 

The contestants at the Old State Capitol.

After getting to know some of the contestants, I must say, the media definitely does NOT portray how well-rounded and smart they are. Sure, they are pretty, but when you think of the pageant world, many of you probably assume the worst. For many, the words ditzy, competitive or self-absorbed may come to mind. With shows like Toddlers and Tiaras, and with videos like the 2007 South Carolina Miss Teen USA interview going viral, it's hard for the pageant life not to have negative connotations. But to be honest, these girls are down to earth. Take away the flawless makeup and the bedazzled dresses, and I feel like I am talking to any one of my friends. 

And they are all quirky in their own ways. Throughout the past week, I've witnessed contestants dance to Zydeco music, try Louisiana cooking without hesitation, hold alligators and learn about plantation life. I've learned that many are advocates for various causes, I've seen them karaoke in a crowded room, I've heard them talk about a love for cooking--and the list goes on and on. 

Tasting jambalaya at Restaurant IPO.

I am so lucky to have kicked off my career in public relations on such a high note. This has certainly been an experience for the books. Can't wait to see what this week holds! Make sure to tune into the 2014 Miss USA Competition on Sunday, June 8 on NBC at 8/7 central! It's going to be GREAT!

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