It's not the easiest thing to wake up on a Monday morning, look outside to see four inches of snow (after the spring-like weather that melted it down to green grass on Friday), and still have a positive outlook on your day, but I try to look at Mondays as a day to get back into the swing of the week. Lucky for me, my Mondays aren't too hectic, and I always have lots of time to catch up on schoolwork in hopes of making the rest of my week less busy. Plus, this week, my boyfriend is visiting! Now, I always look forward to the weekends, but try to keep my thoughts and daydreaming to a minimum because I like to enjoy each moment for what it is, and find joy in ordinary and daily activities. This weekend is especially exciting for me, as I will be attending the Miss Finger Lakes Pageant in Corning, NY, to support the contestants vying for the title of Miss Finger Lakes 2011, and the chance to compete in Miss New York State in June, and to support my pageant sister, Amy Valenti, as she ends her year as Miss Finger Lakes 2010.
Just one year ago, I was getting ready to compete in Miss Finger Lakes 2010, and looking forward to the pageant almost as much as I am this year. This year, I will get to attend the pageant as an audience member and titleholder, which is especially exciting for me because I have never actually watched a Miss America local pageant before. I am looking forward to the experience and hoping to learn from the other contestants. I know I love competing, so I am hoping my experience watching a pageant is just as thrilling! I want to wish all of the contestants good luck in their final week of preparation for this pageant, and offer some insight:
In the words of Mary Johanson, a titleholder in a corny pageant flick of mine, Drop Dead Gorgeous, "With one week to go before the pageant, I was finishing my outfit, rehearsing my talent, brushing up on current events, and running 18 miles a day on about 400 calories. I was ready."
Now, obviously this is a joke, but I do love watching this movie as it gets closer to any pageant I am competing in. It's cheesy, strange, and oddly funny, and we all know it's really nothing like the pageants we compete in, but what people reference every time we say, "I compete in pageants."
Unlike the unwell titleholder in this dark comedy, with a week before a pageant, I absolutely do not recommend running 18 miles a day on 400 calories. But I do have a few tips to offer, especially to the contestants in the Miss Finger Lakes pageant this weekend, as they enter their final week of prep for this pageant.
It's a lifestyle for those of us who compete regularly in pageants, but pageant prep seems to increase in intensity and importance in the week leading up to a pageant. Just one year ago, I was spending extra time at the gym, saying "no thanks" to treats, and reading up on my current events, but also trying to relax and find time in my busy schedule to just think about the pageant. This time is so important to reduce stress, set goals, and plan for a successful week. While it may seem stereotypical, I like to pamper myself in the week prior, not because I think slathering my face with green clay mask is really going to help me win, but because I know that it will relax me and help me to boost my confidence. It is confidence that is the key to winning a pageant. So, to the contestants of the Miss Finger Lakes, many of whom are pageant sisters, I want to wish you good luck in this week and at the pageant. I will be there to cheer each and every one of you on as you further your dreams.
I would also like to offer some advice, as a fellow competitor, based on my own experience, and current pageant prep for Miss New York.
1) Set goals. If not the crown, what is it that you hope to gain from this pageant? If you have set goals in mind, you are bound to be successful. There are no losers in pageants.
2) Relax. Find a yoga class, and go. Yoga has boosted my motivation, plus it is a really great workout in itself, in addition to reducing stress. Stress reduction is so important, not only this week, but always, because negative stress makes it difficult to be focused and successful.
3) Pamper. Whether it is a pedicure or at-home skin care remedies, find something that will add to stress-reduction and relaxation, as well as boosting confidence, in turn promoting overall success.
4) Organize. Getting ready for pageants certainly includes some tedious list making, quick shopping trips, and trying on all outfits, and maybe even practicing hair and make up. This is really good to do earlier, rather than later, so that any issues with clothing or otherwise can be taken care of, preventing stress. Plus, this can help to get you really excited for the pageant, and always helps me to feel more confidence.
5) Practice. Pageant practice is kind of like practice for any other hobby or sport. Continue work on your talent, interview, onstage-question, and walks/poses, and stick with your fitness plan. Read the news every day, practice speaking while you are driving or with friends and family, put on your heels and walk in front of the mirror, and record your talent and critique yourself or have others help you so you can improve to your fullest.
We all have our own ways of getting in the zone during pageant week, and I hope that some of these tips can help your pageant preparation, and that my learning experiences can be beneficial to you all. I am so looking forward to the Miss Finger Lakes pageant, and am excited to cheer each and every one of you on, and support Amy in her final moments as Miss Finger Lakes 2010. I offer this advice not only to the contestants of MFL, but to those in all upcoming local pageants. I hope to attend as many locals as possible, and look forward to meeting new friends, welcoming new titleholders to the Miss New York Class of 2011, and catching up with my pageant sisters. Good luck!
All my best,