Pageants, Pageants, Pageants! In today’s world you can’t flip through the television channels without seeing a 4 year old throwing a tantrum in a tutu over having to be spray tanned or a 6 year old little boy competing for Little Mr. {insert title} or hear about a former Miss USA that was arrested for suspicion of DWI. Whether we like it or not, beauty pageants are everywhere and our society is just as enamored with them as we were 50 years ago. As a former pageant contestant I find myself in cross fires regarding pageants so I thought this was a good opportunity to talk about them and what they CAN do not just for society but for the self as well! So today’s blog is less for the boy’s Mamas and more for the girl’s Mamas unless of course you’re like the mom on TLC’s, Toddlers and Tiaras that has her little man competing in Mr. pageants… to each his own, I don’t judge!

Let’s start with the little ones like what we see on Toddlers and Tiaras. First and foremost, this show wouldn’t be a show if it weren’t for the cast so we have to keep that in mind when labeling pageant competitors. Not all 5 year old competitors dress up like Vivian from Pretty Woman in their best hooker costume in order to win.

Without some of these 2-5 year old characters and their mothers, we wouldn’t have a show called Toddlers and Tiaras. I’m not sure how I feel about little ones competing in pageants, because I don’t think that at the ripe age of 3 or 4 children really understand healthy competition. In my opinion, they only understand win or lose and let’s face it, losing sucks! All they understand when they aren’t called the winner is that “Suzie Q was prettier than me, wasn’t she?” But I don’t have a little girl so what do I know?

So moving onto adolescent to 25 year old competitors…

I started competing in pageants at the age of 14 and never missed a year until I aged out at 26. List of pros.

Miss Texas Teen USA 1999: I’m the one on the far left

Miss Texas Teen USA 1999: I’m the shortest one, 5th from the left

  1. I still get nervous for interviews and speaking in front of people, but I can’t imagine how much worse off I’d be if I hadn’t had the 12 years of experience interviewing and speaking in public. So pageants really do prepare you for the business world. Most 23 years olds that are fresh out of college looking for their first real job have never had a real interview; however, when you’re a pageant competitor you have had anywhere from 1-4 interviews per year (depending on how many pageants you enter annually). In a pageant you only have 3 minutes to wow a panel of judges, but in the business world you are given about an hour. So as a pageant competitor you have to learn real quick how to make an impression in the first 15 seconds as opposed to a business opportunity where you have at least the first 10 minutes to “wow” the person you’re interviewing with.
  2. One of the biggest misconceptions about pageants is that they are all about beauty. They are about SO much more! The girl who shines and that the judges fall in love with is usually the one with the MOST confidence, but not to be mistaken with arrogance. It’s a fine line that most girls don’t get right, which is why your child’s odds are better at becoming an NFL football player than becoming the next Miss USA. Pageants teach girls how to carry themselves with confidence and poise and how to translate that onto the stage. The prettiest girl rarely wins, but rather the one that the judges were able to connect with and had a healthy balance of beauty, brains, and confidence.
  3. And let’s not forget what pageants are really all about: serving as an ambassador for your community, as a role model for young girls to look up to, and to bring joy to people’s lives. Miss USA speaks publicly on behalf of Breast Cancer Awareness and Miss Universe speaks publicly on a global platform on behalf of AIDS awareness. Miss Texas USA visits Shriner’s Hospital giving hope to young children and participates in charity event after charity event as a spokesperson for our great state.
  4. The BEST part about competing in pageants though is the friendships that are made. Without the wonderful world of pageantry I most likely would have never met Vanessa and we would have never created this blog. Some of my closest friends, one of which served as a bridesmaid in my wedding, I met through pageantry. That’s invaluable if you ask me and worth any cons that you’ll read about below.

With all of the pros of pageantry, there are definitely some cons. I can’t speak for all former pageant competitors I can only speak for myself. Some of the reasons I’m on the fence as to whether to let my daughter (if I have one) compete in pageants is because of the insecurities I feel they can create. Sure there are tons of pros to competing in pageants like the ones listed above, but nobody really talks about the after affects pageants can leave on young girls and/or women. Here are the cons, it’s really just one big one 🙂

  1. Even as a 30 year old mother, I constantly feel like I’m being judged. You name it people are looking at me wondering why I’m not made up, why I don’t have on the cutest outfit, why my hair looks dirty, why I have a break out, the list goes on and on. This is all in my head of course, because I’m reminded daily by my husband that the pharmacist doesn’t care if I spent an hour on my makeup. I still wear clip in extensions to go grocery shopping, because the hair that I do have just isn’t enough for the baby food aisle and frozen food section at HEB. I still have the urge to stand on my tippy toes in photos with my hands on my hips to look taller and thinner. I still look in the mirror at my body and wonder if when I’m in my swimsuit anyone will be thinking “gosh, she’s not swimsuit ready.” Nonetheless, there are tons of insecurities that competing in pageants has forced me to deal with even as a grown married woman with a kid! Basically I’m the most confident insecure woman out there!!! So even with all the benefits and personal growth you can gain I’m still not sure how I feel about the cons that my future daughter could potentially face should she venture to try out pageants. We’ll just have to cross that bridge if/when we get there.

At the end of the day, pageants have their perks. They are just like any other sport or hobby out there and require just as much practice and time. If you have a daughter and you didn’t know a lot about pageants, I hope this blog sheds some light. Who knows, maybe your little Betsey will be the next Miss USA! I can say one thing; I wouldn’t be who I am or where I’m at confidence, insecurities, and all had it not been for my years as a pageant competitor. And I’m pretty happy with what all I’ve accomplished in 30 short years and the woman and mother that I’ve made of myself. I guess if the worst is having the need/want to put myself together and look good, then I’m probably okay, right?

Speaking of pageants, the Miss Austin Texas Pageant is coming up on February 18th! I’ll be there with bells on, extensions clipped in, spray tanned, bronzer, too much blush, fake eyelashes, 5 inch platform stilettos, and a girdle ready to cheer on my girls!

Miss Texas USA 2007

Miss Austin USA 2007: Crowning Moment


  1. I am all for Logan competing if she A) shows interest and B) seems mature enough to handle it all. I started competing at 18, I’m not saying my daughter or anyone else should wait until that age but there is something to be said about having a certain amount of maturity in this business. I mean basically there are 5-7 judges deciding out of a group of already beautiful talented young woman who is the most attractive etc. You have to mentally prepare yourself for that and realize it is someone’s opinion. I agree with Allison on the pros to competing 100%, which is why I still very much support pageants. Of course the “pageant” itself has changed since I competed so who knows what it will be like when Lo is of the age to compete.

  2. I love love love this blog and my amazing hair extension, girdle-wearin’ co-founder, Allison!

    I 100% agree with the pros. You do gain a certain level of confidence from pageantry and friends that last a life time (if you’re lucky…some of those bitches just stab you in the back!) But I think there are several other cons. 1.) I feel like there are a lot of politics involved with “having” to use certain dress designers and photographers, etc. 2.) I also think the cost associated with pageants is outrageous. Can it be done on the cheap? Yes. Are you going to win if you don’t “do it right?” Probably not. There are a few success stories where someone borrowed a dress and went on to win but those stories are far and few between. I would venture to guess that the average Top 5 contestant at Miss Texas USA spends anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 dollars to be pageant ready and that’s a lot. I think a lot more than football or ballet costs if you look at the scope of the competition time, etc. 3.) I don’t think it does anything for your life path unless you do well (and by well I mean win). I can’t think of any other way to say that, but I think I would be the exact same person if I had not competed in pageants (with a few less friends). Pageants did not help prepare me for my career. Am I more comfortable speaking in public? Yes, but is that because of the string of pageants I competed in when I was 18/19? Not sure.

    But…all of that aside…my kid is doing a pageant ASAP. Haha! Great blog, Allison! If I wouldn’t have walked up to you and said “You are sooooo pretty! I can’t believe you didn’t make Top 15” in 2004…where would we be?

  3. You girls are beautiful inside and out. Watching Vanessa during her pageant days was such a great honor. We cheered at every turn. Cried happy tears at every win and found silver linings when she didn’t win Miss Texas. Pageants are great for some girls and simply not so great for other girls. Personally for me, my Faith Elicia will not be doing any pageants. I think there are so many other ways that my daugther will be able to show her beauty, self esteem, intelligence and her kind heart. My mind is made up now but if she were to convince me that it is really imporant to her and I am convinced that it is something that she wants, then I will listen with an open heart and let God decide my decision at that time. But for now, no tots n tiarra’s for my baby. She will be all about dance and cheer!

  4. Love this one! I am actually completely against the little girl pageants. If Charlotte is competing at that age it is because I chose to enter her not because she wanted to enter. If she wants to do them when she is older of course I will support wholeheartedly. Yes, I will be the crazy person screaming for my girl on the front row! I do foresee a little problem though since I am still fully involved with many state pageants and Miss Teen USA. Charlotte is going to be introduced to the pageant world very early! But we will cross that bridge when we come to it! Great blog Allison!

  5. I should add that I started pageants at 12 years old and was competing until I was 23. I had a wonderful experience competing when I was younger. I think my hesitation about the little girl pageants is from toddlers and tiaras. They seem different than they were when I was competing. Honestly if Charlotte wants to compete when she is young I am sure that I will reconsider because I agree that there are so many wonderful things about pageants. They helped make me who I am today!


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