Countdown to Confidence

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As of yesterday, I was officially ONE MONTH AWAY from my pageant weekend 2014.  At this point, I have a mix of emotions.  I am both excited and thrilled, but also semi-scared-out-of-my-wits.  From previous contestants, I heard that this will be one of the longest months of my life, but I’m still ready to knock it out of the way.

Considering that it’s down to that final stretch, this past weekend was one of my most strenuous.  Not including the fact that there was a near-blizzard that I had to travel through by way of bus and train, not for the fact that in the back of my mind I’m remembering everything else that I need to cover (grad school apps, community service projects, bills, etc.), but I also had to get my headshots done, had some extensive walking training, and I had my pageant orientation.

On Friday, I met with my pageant coach to do my  headshots.  I've had headshot shoots a number of  times considering that I've done professional acting and some printwork.  However, this was one of my  more draining shoots.  I got my hair done the night  before (hoping that it would satisfy my coach)and the  makeup artist worked on my makeup for two solid hours on that Friday afternoon.
Lizette doing my makeup on Friday before the shoot in New Jersey.

On Friday, I met with my pageant coach to do my  headshots.  I’ve had headshot shoots a number of  times considering that I’ve done professional acting and some printwork.  However, this was one of my  more draining shoots.  I got my hair done the night  before (hoping that it would satisfy my coach) and the makeup artist worked on my makeup for two solid hours on that Friday afternoon.

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Don’t get me wrong,  she made me look absolutely beautiful like a classic Hollywood star, but it was definitely tiring. Afterwards, we ran to the shoot and experimented with a number of poses to achieve the perfect  look for the pageant program.  Thank goodness that it was achieved.  (I probably would have lost my mind otherwise.)

Saturday morning brought on the massive snowstorm in NYC as well as my intense training in “classic model walking”.  My coach even brought one of her pageant winners to help assist me in the process.  There really is a lot of thought that goes into it; you really have to be conscious about where your toes and ankles rest while posing and being fully aware of your feet while taking long, glamorous strides. There are two different walks: the gown walk and the bathing suit walk.  The first is more elegant and luxurious, slower gliding.  The bathing suit, on the other hand, is peppy, flirty, and fun.  Nonetheless, both must be accompanied by an awesome smile and tremendous confidence.
Natalie Crudge gives Pageant Tips to Brooke Howard 12-14-13 1-1-2007 12-00-05 PM

Sunday was the most awaited: I got to meet my competition.  I traveled to West Chester, New York to meet the other contestants, though I was sure that the orientation was going to be postponed due to the weather.  Nope.  So, for two and a half hours, I got to meet the other girls, see where I lacked and where I was ahead, got to learn the introductory dance routine from a professional NFL cheerleader (my sister-in-law would be proud), and I received my regional title.  It wasn’t as crazy or insane as I could have imagined where it was my first time.  I even received the wonderful compliment from others that they thought that I had done pageants and this particular system before.  Being a novice is cool, but ALWAYS BEING READY is key 🙂

Overall from this past weekend, I did take away a HUGE life lesson.  Despite some horror stories that we may hear about pageants or the fact that sometimes the contestants are expected to step outside of their comfort zones, it really is a confidence booster.  I never have experienced a situation where so much attention was placed on me; it can be very overwhelming.  The thought and preparation that a coach, tailor, cobbler, hair stylist, makeup artist, community service coordinators, friends and family, sponsors and support can all put into just one person is amazing.  The harsh reality of being judged is one thing, but having the sincere support of those around you who are putting their all into making you your absolute best is one of the best feelings that I’ve ever had.  True, there is only one winner, but to constantly do better and win throughout the entire course of preparation is wonderful within itself.  Every girl should experience something similar, to help us find what makes us happy and to make us more comfortable in our own skin.  Despite the final outcome, we are all winners at heart if we really do put forth our best effort professionally, in life, but more importantly to ourselves and our passions.

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