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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Step Forward and Be Seen!

"I am inviting you to step forward, be seen, and ask yourself, if not me, who? If not now, when?"

Do you know where this quote is from? Emma Watson recently said this at the UN conference for Women. She has been appointed as the Goodwill Ambassador for Women.

Why should you care? Let me break this down.

The United Nations is a meeting place, of sorts, for countries to come together and discuss important issues. Things like war, the world economy, trade, nuclear weapons etc are all discussed here among the nations. One thing discussed, but not really highlighted, is that of Women's Rights. Emma Watson hopes to change know her as "Hermonie" from Harry Potter.

Emma recently a gave speech. In very, very basic terms she says that women should be treated as men are. She is working for gender equality. She's saying that women should be paid the same amount of money as men are for the same jobs. Women should not be limited because they are girls. Women should not be assumed to less because they can give birth. 

Why does this matter to you? Well, if you're a girl competing in a pageant, you will likely be asked about women's rights. Or about 'role models'. Or about 'girls being less than boys', etc etc. You need to know what is going on in the world. But in general, if you are a girl, you should realize that all girls are not treated equally around the world. You may be more qualified than a man at a job, but you will be paid less. You may be the best to lead a team or a country, but you are looked at as less...because you are a girl. You should feel free to be strong and be your best should feel free to be a more complete and true version of yourself. And I cannot turn a blind eye to what she says about her dad and boys being seen as "weak" for showing feelings and emotions...gender equality is the issue at hand here.

And if you're a girl considering pageants and platforms...this is a great example of a platform and a girl having real passion for a cause. I encourage you to watch the video and see Emma's true passion. Look at her speech and notice and her smile, her pace when speaking, her genuine connection to the topic, and how she makes everyone (men and women) connect to what she is saying. She gives statistics and stories...she gives life to this topic and makes everyone listen. She commands the room. Could you do the same about your platform or passion?

I encourage you to view the video and comment below. Do you agree with Emma? How do you feel? Be honest, tell me what you think!

Monday, September 1, 2014

6 Secrets to Preparing in the 'Off Season'

So you're heading back to school and thinking that this means that pageants are officially on hold. You'll be busy with classwork, homework, extracurriculars and more, so your pageant preparations will have to wait until winter break or spring break, right? WRONG!

If you've read my blog before, you know that I firmly believe in constantly preparing for a pageant - there is no down time. While you are "resting" for 25 weeks, your competition is preparing.

Want to know the secrets to preparing in your 'off season'? Read on:

1. Seize all leadership opportunities, no matter how small.
Create a "let me take that on" attitude! Volunteer for that event. Run for student government. Step outside of your box and take every opportunity that comes your way. Your leadership opportunities need not be month long projects, because you have your studies to attend to, of course. But at school and at your extracurriculars you have limitless possibilities and with these, you can thrive in your leadership potential and develop the true persona of a titleholder!

How this will help: A titleholder will be a leader in her community. She will meet with officials, volunteer with various organizations, speak on behalf of groups, and much more. Use your time in school to practice being an excellent leader and role model to others. Develop those public speaking skills, organization skills, people skills and more.

2. Find role models. 
Look for people who have the roles you want and study how they act, communicate, dress, and more. Pick someone at 'the next level' and try to emulate that person, while staying true to your self, of course. I'm not asking you to change who you are, but I am encouraging you to grow and be your personal best. It may also be useful to find some anti-role models - what do you dislike about them? What can you strive NOT to be or NOT to do?

How this will help: by figuring out the qualities you want to emulate and striving to achieve them, you will be able to hold yourself at a higher standard. You will also be able to talk about your best qualities easily in interview and describe the type of titleholder you will be. Use your time in school to build the best YOU possible!

3. Develop your friendship skills.
If you're going to be a titleholder, you have to have people skills! You have to be able to maintain friendships in the face of disagreements, you have to listen to the opinions of others and give yours, and much more. It is your friends that can help you develop integrity, empathy, clear speaking, charisma, strong boundaries, and strong beliefs.

How this will help: Your friends can be your greatest supporters! Maybe they can help you organize that clothing drive you have been dreaming of or that anti-bullying club. And of course, these are fabulous things for your pageant resume...but also for your college resumes, job interviews, and more! Use your time in school to develop the (necessary) people skills and teamwork skills of a true titleholder.

4. Speak up! Ask questions!
If you have a question in class, ask it. If you have to give a presentation, do it. Learn to value yourself and your voice. Refuse to be passive and instead, project confidence.

How this will help: In some cases, your interview judges may push you. Maybe they want to test how much you believe something or if you are being honest. You may need to express yourself in a strong way - practicing this skill in school will get you there! Use your time in school to rehearse projecting confidence in difficult situations!

5. Develop a plan.
In everything you do, make a plan. When you have a big test coming up, plan study times. When you have a big game coming up, plan practice times. When you have that special recital coming up, plan rehearsal times. By planning and organizing your busy schedule, you will be able to balance being a titleholder with great ease.

How this will help: As a titleholder, you will need to balance a busy schedule...especially if you plan to be a good one. Use your time in school to practice the time management skills required to really excel as a titleholder and in your future career, as well!

6. Refuse to be lazy.
Get your act together! It does not matter if you are in a 'little girl pageant' or a 'big girl pageant', fitness is of the utmost importance. As you're reading your textbook, jog on the treadmill. As you're rehearsing your lines for the play, do some bicep curls. Wake up each morning and challenge yourself to ten pushups...then 15 next week...and 20 the following week. Focus on living a healthy lifestyle, from your diet to your exercise. You spend HOURS shopping for that gown, HOURS volunteering and more...but how much do you invest in yourself? Invest in your personal fitness level to demonstrate to the judges how committed you are to being the very best YOU!

How this will help: As a titleholder, you are a role model. You will also be balancing a busy schedule of being a spokesperson for your pageant system, being an excellent student, a fabulous daughter and more. Living a life of fitness will help you approach these activities with great vigor and get the most out of your year - who wants to be sick 4x during their reign because of their weak immune system? Not me! You can also use your 'off season' to avoid 'gym cramming' later...think about swimsuit season OR your pageant swimsuit competition - instead of rushing a fitness plan and spending 7x/week in the gym because your pageant is two months away, you can spend 3x/week in the gym because you used your off season well. Be wise and refuse to be lazy.

Just because you are 'back in school' or in your 'off season' does not mean that your pageant preparation has to end completely. You can still prepare by actively working on the skills needed to win your pageant, be an excellent titleholder, and an even better young woman. <3