Undoubtedly, by this point, you have googled my name to see what incredible accolades I have accumulated. Let me save you the time, I held two preliminary titles, I competed at Miss Florida in 2005 where I won a talent award, then three years later competed at Miss Tennessee where I was named in the top 10. That’s it. Full Stop.
So no, you will not see a national crown on my head anywhere, from any system.You will not see a lengthy list of credentials. But I would pose a thought to you… with all of my obvious lack, I am still here able to speaking to you about success. Why?
Because Not all Miss America’s Wear the Crown.
(insert whichever national title is your dream, when I was growing up, Miss America was IT!)
In 2005, at the Miss Florida after-party, a woman I did not recognize came to me and hugged me. She said, “I have been following your year of service and let me tell you something, not every Miss America wears the crown. You will forever be my Miss America.” In the exhausting aftermath of Miss Florida week, I didn’t fully grasp what she was saying. I have had many, many, *sigh* many years to roll this over in my heart. Now as I watch my clients grow into incredible women, I FINALLY GET IT.
Miss Gulf Coast may never win a national title, but to the people of Chipley FL, she IS Miss America. Teen Miss NWFL, may not come home with the Outstanding Teen title, but to the schools receiving grants from her 501c3, to those students able to pick up an instrument for the first time because she provided the school with the funding, she IS Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. Most people will never meet the “real” Miss America, Miss USA, Miss International, Miss whatever title you are striving for. But in your corner of the world, they will meet YOU! To them, it is the same shiny thing.
When you wrap your practiced and polished brain around this concept, your year (or years) of service change. It is no longer rhinestone-colored and tiara-focused. You start to see the perfect blue of that six year old’s eyes who believes she just met a real life princess. You see the summer pink on the cheeks of the girls standing in line for an autograph card at the county fair. You see the brilliant white in the smiles of teachers, parents, even legislators who are watching the future in real time as you advocate for your platform. That is when pageantry changes from perfection and poise to platforms and purpose. That is when you discover the Miss EVERYTHING that was and is inside of you. You may be the spark that ignites the next great non-profit, you may pave the way for an up and coming talent, you may be the role model for a future president. You may even help shape the next Miss America.
You may never wear THAT crown, but you can and will leave a legacy of passion and power for generations.