Pageantry: A Platform for Greatness
By Kristie Kennedy
In recent years, a tsunami of negative press has surrounded the pageantry system. Many critics believe they objectify women which in turn create negative and unhealthy behavior in those who desire to win an illustrious crown. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are innumerable women who will proudly state the instrumental role pageants have played in grooming them for greatness.
As I reflect on how pageants have cultivated me as a woman and impacted my life significantly I am amazed at who I've blossomed into. Towards the end of my high school years I was afforded with the opportunity to compete in local pageants. During that time I was a diamond in the rough who loved to wear jeans and sneakers, no makeup, pencil thin body and to place icing on the cake I wore eye glasses and braces. It was social suicide! How in the world did I end up in frilly gowns whisking across a stage you might ask? The gift of a loving mother who saw well beyond my awkward growing phase and introduced me into a social realm that taught me how to discover the power of elegance, femininity and grace.
As a teenager I spent a great deal of time walking around with bottled up anger. When it erupted, like a volcano I landed in school suspension every time. Participating in pageants showed me a more excellent way to carry myself as a lady of dignity and esteemed worth. Ironically, in the Ms. Ebony Woman Scholarship Pageant that I competed in I won the Most Positive Award. This trait was identified by my peers before I recognized it within myself and it is an attribute that I am highly known for today.
After a span of ten years the decision to participate in pageants again was my idea. As long as I can remember the beauty industry was a part of my life intentional and unintentional. In my younger years I was not the one voted most likely to succeed. I was a below average student who always did just enough to get by. One pivotal experience with my high school guidance counselor set me in a new direction towards leadership. She and my mother deeply believed in me and told me that I could go to college if I applied myself. At the end of my counselors guiding hand of influence and recommendation I was able to attend Florida State University, a notable accomplishment in which only a handful in my family have achieved.
A reoccurring theme throughout my life has been overcoming obstacles, feel good, look good and be all that you can be. All of my life experiences have helped to crystallize my purpose in life and what I desire to give back to society. At every critical juncture towards attaining lofty goals there was a woman who graciously shared words of wisdom to keep me moving on the right track. As a women's beauty, business and brilliance coach I seek to be a voice of affirmation for others who are having a difficult time accepting their individual call to greatness. I am on this earth to be a herald of hope to the hopeless.
When I compete in a pageant at this stage of my life I understand that I am not in the competition to be the best but to be my best. My inspiration behind participating is to showcase the beauty of a life that continues to soar against all odds. I find quiet confidence in knowing that a crown does not make one a true queen. Her royal pedigree lives in the blood flowing through each artery and vein imbedded in the center of her heart.
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