When hard work is added to winning daily choices, even seemingly impossible dreams can be achieved! Cheryl Prewitt, Miss America 1980’s commitment to hard work elevated her from the Miss Choctaw County stage to the Miss America runway.
Yet initially she was totally unprepared for competition:
“I entered fully expecting to win, but I didn’t do a thing toward working for it,” she recalls, “I didn’t know how to walk, how to talk, and I wobbled in my high heels. I just didn’t know anything about it — and I didn’t win.
I could have been discouraged, but then I began to realize that when you feel a dream down in your heart you don’t sit back and wait for it to fall on you! You have to work for it!
You have to begin to set that dream into motion and to do everything you can do to be the best at what you’re trying to accomplish.”
Invest Hard Work and Discipline Beyond What Other Contestants Are Willing to Do
Hard work and discipline beyond what others are willing to do is the key to winning pageants.
During a conversation shortly after Debbye Turner won the 1990 Miss America title, her mother, Gussie Turner, described the back-breaking effort Debbye invested in capturing the crown:
“When she trains for a pageant, she trains like a fighter,” she exclaimed, “more determined, working harder. She trained for the Miss America Pageant harder than she trained for the Miss Missouri. She trained for Miss Missouri harder than for Miss Columbia. She worked hard and believed that her opportunity would come and she wanted to be ready when it came. She prepared for seven years … and she was ready. Hard work pays.”
As the experiences of these winners prove: Reaching the throne means investing the sweat-producing, muscle-fatiguing, emotion-draining hard work others aren’t willing to push themselves to do.
“It’s not easy,” admits Sharon Turrentine, a physical fitness specialist who has trained numerous titleholders:
“Hey, if it was easy, everybody would do it. It’s that willingness to go that extra mile, to pay the price, to make yourself the best that you can be in all areas of competition. You’ve got to be prepared physically, mentally, and emotionally. With anything in life, you must always strive to go one step farther, one step farther – or you backslide. This is America and there is one thing that can stop you from achieving your dreams … and that is yourself. If you have a realistic goal and go for it one hundred percent, you are going to reach the heights you were destined for.”
It’s Like Preparing for the Olympics
“It’s almost like preparing for the Olympics,” says Donna Axum, who now judges national pageants such as Miss America and America’s Junior Miss. “It’s mental, physical, and emotional training.”
Paying the price for success is what separates the girls on the runway from those in the audience.
Always Give Your Best, But Be Realistic
Always give your best when you compete, but keep in mind that, like the Olympics, only one individual can win the ultimate prize. No one would dream of looking down upon an individual who missed the Olympic gold medal but won the bronze, or who made the American Olympic team, or set a state record in an Olympic sport. In the same manner, not bringing home a national, state, or local title in no way diminishes the value of what you do accomplish as you compete.
Every competitor must participate with realistic expectations and be prepared to accept whatever outcome with a positive perspective.