“The very worst that can happen through pursuing this dream is that you become a better human being. There is life after pageants. Know who you are and what your visions and dreams are, because you’ll get them.” — Debra Maffett, Miss America 1983
The first step in turning your dreams into reality is understanding that famous titles are won by real people. Real girls grow up to be Miss World, Miss USA, and Miss Universe.
And, quite frankly, most of the time, not a soul around them ever suspected that that little girl next door would one day walk down a runway on live television wearing one of the most coveted crowns in the world.
But dreams do come true. Many of you reading this will become Miss America, Miss USA, America’s Junior Miss, and Miss Teen USA. Some of you will step into Cinderella’s slippers and wear the crown before the year is out.
One example of such a modern-day Cinderella story is Leanza Cornett, a pretty but unknown college student with big dreams . . . perhaps like you.
At the 1993 Miss America Pageant, Cornett had performed so superbly that, when the points were tabulated judges had awarded her the national crown. As the police escorts guided her off the stage to her first press conference, Leanza’s life instantly changed. The following morning, she began a nationwide tour, and within months, Cornett became such a successful titleholder that she was offered a starring role on Broadway and a coveted four-year co-hosting contract with “Entertainment Tonight.” (She passed on Broadway and signed with “E. T”).
Leanza’s dream vaulted her from obscurity to a glamorous, high-visibility position other people work a lifetime to achieve. Leanza not only made her dream a reality. She surpassed it.
Cornett’s example illustrates that a winner makes herself a winner, whether or not those around her realize that she has what it takes to achieve such success. The crown—any crown—is earned by those young women who dare to believe in themselves and to invest in their dreams.
If you decide to invest in your dreams by pursuing the crown, undertake that challenge with the commitment to excellence expected of an aspiring champion. As one Miss USA who spoke anonymously put it:
“Realize that it’s a competition. I’ve never heard of an athlete who is going to the Olympics say that they’re going there to have fun. They’re going there to win the gold medal! If you can enjoy yourself and win the gold medal at the same time, that’s great—but it’s still a competition. And pageants are a competition.”
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. As Debra Maffett advises from experience, the ultimate purpose for competing is to build a life of success and purpose. “Never consider [winning] as an end in itself,” she cautions. “Know that there is a huge element of luck. The very worst that can happen through pursuing this dream is that you become a better human being. There is life after pageants. Know who you are and what your visions and dreams are,” she advises confidently, “because you’ll get them.”
You never can tell where the road to the crown may lead you. So go ahead—apply the principles of this website, give your best effort, fight for the crown, refuse to be discouraged by failure, and enter again and again in pursuit of your dream.
Because, within the next few years, a dozen or so of you reading this will become Miss Universe, Miss America, or Miss USA. Hundreds of you will hold state titles.
Perhaps thousands of you will become proud local titleholders.
Every one of these accomplishments is an honor. Like the contestants who walked the runway before you, you are a true winner for daring to step out of the audience to pursue success.
Our hope is that, as you pursue the crown,pageantcenter.com provide you with the keys to achieve your dreams. Perhaps one we will have the pleasure of watching you glide down the runway victoriously. Until that wonderful moment, here’s to your quest for the crown . . . .