As many of you know, from this blog post and my Instagram, last month I had the 'delight' (note: inverted commas) of representing Miss Teen Bournemouth in the national final of Miss British Isles 2015. Ok - it wasn't THAT bad - but it was certainly an experience that I found to be blog-worthy and interesting to write about, as more of a social observation style article. The pageant sphere, while not as exaggerated as the stereotype makes it seem, most certainly is a bizarre world which I have to say, I don't think I am particularly suited for. It was a fun event and I did gain a few Facebook friends out of it, but my favourite part was definitely getting the first-hand 'scoop' on what it's REALLY like. Here are just a few of the life lessons I learnt from being a beauty queen for a day..
|Me struttin' my stuff...|
1. 'The Natural Look' has a VERY different meaning
|Makeup by White Haus Hair|
Now, I don't know whether this is a pageant-thing or just the general consensus of Liverpool, but the amount of makeup I got given was not what I expected after specifically asking for a natural look. While I did actually like it in the end (look at those eye makeup skills!!!) and it was certainly needed due to the harsh stage lighting, I did feel like a bit of a goon walking around with my face a completely different shade to the rest of my pale white body...
2. It's not as glamorous as it seems
|Caught on camera shovelling cookies into my mouth...|
While you guys only get to see the Instagram-ready version of the pageant world, that is sparkly dresses and smiley girls having fun, the reality of the situation is very different and actually rather boring. The majority of my 12 hour day was spent standing around in a line with strangers waiting to be seen by the judges for 30 seconds and then returning to a tiny room in which 40 teenage girls (and their mothers) were crammed into. When it came to getting ready between rounds and only having a handful of mirrors between you, you can only attempt to imagine the hell that broke loose. While pics like this of me eating cookies may appear funny, the truth is that you're so hungry you don't even care who sees you pigging out when you get the chance to eat.
3. The vanity is REAL
The one good thing about sitting around for hours in a state of boredom is that it gives you plenty of time to people-watch. I observed a lot of interesting things, but one that struck me most was the discovery that the amount of time one person can spend looking at themselves in a mirror is far greater than originally thought. I'm all for loving yourself, but when it passed the 10 minute mark I became seriously concerned that the poor girl was going to need it surgically removed from her hand.
Whilst lining up backstage, a small debate broke out as some contestants were trying to figure out how tall they were. (Typical model convo, obvs.) They were attempting to calculate the amount of inches in a foot with one girl getting the ball rolling by suggesting 14 inches. However, the matter was quickly cleared up when another was so adamant it was 16 that her word was taken with great confidence and the all-important convo continued. At this point I can't help but wonder if these girls would be better off at home studying for their approaching mock GCSEs they were complaining about earlier in the day.
5. Apparently squatting is an effective pain-reliever
These girls may not know simple maths knowledge, but they do know how to stop their feet hurting after a long day of wearing heels. Priorities, right? I'm not sure how much truth lies in this supposed method, but I think I'll just take their word for it.
6. Many contestants are super naive
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the first thing I was taught about modelling is never to pay an extortionate amount for professional photoshoots as they're really not a requirement for top modelling agencies to take you on. A simple natural photograph is suffice for them to see your features and potential. However, it seemed that most of these girls were forking out ridiculous prices like £500 for professional pics as they were under the impression that it was necessary to break into the industry. Errrr, ever heard of TFP anyone?
7. There are no strict height/weight requirements
7. There are no strict height/weight requirements
This could be seen as either a good or bad thing, depending on your position, but it definitely subverts the stereotype most people have when they think of beauty contests. *Unpopular opinion* but I think it comes across as a little unprofessional.
8. If you're above school-leaving age, you've basically reached the age of retirement
Ok maybe that statement is a little over-dramatic, but it did surprise me how I was viewed as being one of the older ('OMG ur so grown up!') contestants. The ages I was competing with only ranged from 13-17 so this was just a really strange thing I observed. I still don't get it really.
9. Many contestants appear to lack confidence
This was surprising as most people (like me) would assume pageant contestants to have bags of confidence, considering you're basically flaunting all you've got in front of a crowd of people. However, a lot of the girls were constantly worrying about falling off stage (fair enough) but more notably, they seemed so shocked at the prospect of the adult contestants competing in a swimwear round. I found it all rather annoying if I'm honest. At first I just felt like telling them to get a grip but then I started to get the startling impression that these girls seriously take the judges' ratings to heart and depend on winning these pageants to boost their self-esteem. Now I just feel rather sorry for their poor insecure souls.
10. Most of the girls I met were actually friendly and down to earth
Despite this whole post seeming rather negative towards everyone, most of the girls I met were really nice and relatable, with many being first-timers like me. However, the problem was that few of these girls placed anywhere. It's a sad fact but, in the pageant world, the philosophy of 'I'm not here to make friends, I'm here to become America's Next Top Model' couldn't reign more true.
WHAT I WORE
Dress - Quiz
Shoes - Next
Jeans - Primark
Wedges - TK Maxx
CONCLUSION: Unless you have a superficial plan to stop world hunger, a dodgy fake tan and an accustom for making sycophantic flirty eyes with the judges, you're not going to make it anywhere in the pageant world. While it was an interesting experience, I think I'll stick to 'proper' fashion modelling in the future...
Were you surprised at any of the lessons I learned?
Has your opinion of teen pageant contestants changed at all?
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