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  • Writer's pictureMeg Kenney

Why You Should Enter A Pageant

Pageantry can get a bad rap nowadays - a reputation that has followed it from the olden days to a time it is no longer deserved. Gone are the days of archaic rules and antiquated judging systems - pageants are so much more than that now. Rooted deeply instead in sisterhood, empowerment and charity work, pageants are a fulfilling experience that can help any young women grow into the best version of themselves with numerous doors opening along the way. If you've ever found yourself wondering what pageantry can offer, read these 10 reasons below.

 

1) To Meet New People

I think a major part of life is growing, and a key part of growing is meeting new people. I have met so many women through pageantry that have gone on to become my very best friends and brought out the very best in me. Surrounding yourself with strong, like-minded women creates a supportive environment for you to truly flourish. But it’s not just about friendships - you get the opportunity to network with people in the industry such as photographers, producers and major brands. At the end of the day, the women you compete with - both nationally and especially internationally - become like a sisterhood to you.


2) To Build Your Confidence

Confidence doesn’t come naturally to all of us - I’m personally a fan of “fake it till you make it.” Taking part in a pageant will build your confidence in a number of ways. From workshops that revolve around public speaking and self-acceptance to rehearsals that focus on deportment and poise to ultimately performing on a stage - your confidence will be encouraged to grow at each stage until you are truly feeling comfortable in your own skin. Personal development is one of the best ways to truly feel at home within yourself, and pageants are full of it.


3) Community Involvement

One of the very best parts of pageantry is the organisations you get to work with. Most pageants have a heavy association with 1 or more charities - some will let you pick your own as well. You will get the opportunity to raise awareness and funds for some wonderful causes and a lot of winners go on to find their own charity that they are truly passionate about. Miss NZ supports Brave NZ, a charity started by our previous winner Jess Tyson that works to raise awareness about sexual violence affecting young people in Aotearoa. They also provide the appropriate tools to help those affected through our community projects. However, we also encourage our contestants to select a different charity if there is another that is near and dear to their hearts.


4) Life Lessons

When you compete in a pageant it is a given that you will learn a lot of things not only about yourself but about other life skills. Over the course of the pageant, you will upskill in communication and leadership and be faced with challenges that force you to learn and grow. To get the most out of a pageant, it’s crucial to view it as a learning experience rather than a competition.


5) New You

Participating in a pageant is an opportunity to reinvent yourself. You will learn so much about yourself and you will grow so that the person you were when you began will not be the same person who comes out the other end. It's incredibly rewarding to know that no matter the outcome, you can walk away a stronger, more empowered version of yourself.


6) Opportunities

Pageantry is a window to a wider world and may open many doors for you. Whether you are interested in pursuing modelling/acting or something more philanthropic, pageants are a great first step. Many go on to start their own charities or businesses or bring their skills with them to their current jobs to help them excel. Pageants give you a platform to pursue the thing you are most passionate about and can allow you to network with the right people to get your foot in the door.


7) Stereotypes are for the Closeminded

It’s no secret that pageants get a bad rap. And I’m not going to lie, decades ago they kind of deserved it. But modern-day pageants are so much more than a simple “beauty” pageant and the women who enter are not the catty type that gets portrayed. Pageants today are about empowering women - we support personal growth and development, work with charities and keep our judging transparent so you can see exactly how our categories work (none of which revolve around physical appearance). We are looking for a role model, the best all-rounder, and the kindest heart.


8) Self Presentation

In pageants, you get taught how to portray yourself as a brand. How do you want to be perceived? What version of yourself do you want to put forward? Pageants teach you how to take control of how people see you. First impressions are important if somewhat unfair and so learning how to present yourself in public is paramount to being successful in life. Pageants teach young women how to hold their own space in the room and turn up to the conversation with confidence.


9) Trying Something New

Honestly, sometimes the best reason to try something is simply that it is outside of your comfort zone. The way I got into pageantry is because someone else entered me. I was a Mechanical Engineering student and spent most of my free time playing games - so it was far beyond my comfort zone. But I said yes, and I wouldn't trade my experience for the world. Sometimes, taking a chance or a leap of faith can lead to something magical. Sometimes, you've just been stuck in a rut and want to shake things up. What's the worst that could happen?


10) The Crown

I put this last because winning really isn’t the most important thing at all. However, winning puts you in a very unique position of having a platform that you can use however suits you best. It gives you an ongoing platform to make a difference. A title can be used in many ways - to get a job, sponsors, or PR opportunities. You can start a charity or a business. The opportunities are endless and you will have a supportive team backing you the whole way. While the crown may only last a year, what you do with it can last a lifetime.


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