Confessions of a former pageant queen…

by Alison on February 2, 2010 · 1 comment

This past weekend I was flicking through the channels when I came upon it.  The Miss America pageant and I confess I stopped immediately, mesmerized as I always have been by these shows.   

I remember the first pageant I ever saw on television, it was The Miss Oktoberfest Pageant. It was televised across Canada in the 80s and 90s.

Obviously, as a young impressionable girl I was captivated by the gowns, the jewels, the big hair and most of all that glittery crown.  I dreamed that I too’ one day would wear a sparkly dress and walk across the stage with the crown on my head, roses in my  arms, waving to my admirers… the ultimate epitome of princess.

Now this is where I have to stop and make another confession.
Ok… deep breath…here I go….
Yes, I have sequined skeletons in my closet.  I… was… a… pageant patty!  There! I admit it.
Yes, I wore coloured suits with skin-toned heels, I had rivals on the pageant circuit, I wore fringed unitards and cowboy boots with choreographed routines (there are tapes out there with proof), spray-tanned my skin, whitened my teeth, donned big costume earrings and even bigger hair.  Yes, I put preparation H on my thighs to smooth out cellulite that didn’t yet exist and I rubbed Vaseline on my freshly whitened teeth and  I answered questions about world peace with a smile and fluffy answer as I dreamed of that coveted crown, the biggie:  Miss Canada and ultimately, Miss Universe.

My first pageant was at the tender age of 7, when I begged my Mom to enter me.  She did… I think she secretly had an affixation with rhinestones and sequins herself, although she’d never admit it.  Anyways, I lost and I cried and cried.  But I still wanted one of those crowns and even that young I knew I was damned well going to keep going until I got one… a very big one.
And so I did, (keep going that is)… I did a few pageants a year up until I was about 13, and then I stopped.
By this time I had accumulated several little Miss titles many crowns and trophies.  My parents spent thousand of dollars on dresses and other nit nat so that I could, a few times a year, be the ultimate princess. 

When I hit high school I sneered at pageants and the girls that entered them even though deep inside I was a raging pageant patty wannabe.  And although I stopped doing pageants, my dream of being Miss Canada still lived on, just secretly.  I would religiously watch the big ones on television, pen and paper in hand and write down my predictions and I still wanted so badly to be one of those young woman on stage. (Even last night, although I’ve hung up my dress and my ’expiry’ date has long passed (and I say that with sarcasm), I still wanted to be one of them).  I mean some want to be pop stars, actors, models… well, mine was Miss Canada.  I would sit in my room and practice my thank you speech, “ Oh my goodness (I would say this breathlessly), its been a long road to this moment, (then Id pause and paste on my best pageant smile) but Id like to thank the following…”

When I turned 19 my mother mentioned that I should enter in the Miss Oktoberfest pageant (which at the time was the only televised pageant in Canada.)  I did and I got 1st runner up which shocked me since I had been out of the loop for so long.  And yet, I still had it!  I had competed against former Miss Teen Tennessee USA and Miss Vermont, some real American heavy weights in pageantry… and I got first runner up.  That gave my ego a real big boost.  At any rate after this the bug had bitten and was back with a vengeance.  And what do you know I morphed right back into pageant mode… my hair got blonder and bigger, the dresses got more elaborate, and the answers more polished.  I was on my quest to become Miss Canada. 
I’m quite certain people thought I was nuts, because while other girls were going to college or University and planning their lives I was blinded by all that glitters and practicing my ‘walk’.  Anyways, long story short I  won my regional preliminary Miss Southern Ontario Canada and headed to Calgary for the Miss Canada pageant (which was then named Miss Canadian Universe Pageant).  This was it, the moment I had been waiting for… I made top 10, then top 5, then top 3 and that’s where it stopped.  I got 2nd runner up, and just like that, poosh!!! my dream was over.  I hung up my sequin dress, and retired my outrageous costume jewellery, dyed my hair back to its natural brown and washed out all that hairspray.  I felt a little lost… now what?

After a good kick in the ass from my mother I went to college, got a degree and a great job. Fast forward 10  years and  I have a beautiful home in lovely Victoria B.C, a successful career, a loving, supportive partner and beautiful baby girl.  I got it together and accomplished so much more then I could have as Miss Canada!  And yet… I still want to be her!  And clearly, I’m not the only one.  Because despite the archaic nature of pageants, and no matter how we belittle them and the women who enter them, they go back over 50 years, and they are still running strong.  Why, you may ask, when we have come so far as women and accomplished so much?  Why are beautiful, intelligent women entering pageants in this day and age?

I could give you the beauty contest answer about beauty being from within and wanting to make a difference in the world (world peace) blah de blah blah but since I’m no longer a beauty queen I can tell you the truth. 
Why do I and many other women want to be a beauty queen?  Well… its simple really… its that damned crown!  I mean, lets face it, for many of us, no matter how old we get, how educated, how accomplished, inside lurks a little girl who just wants to be a beautiful princess wearing a sparkly crown.  And that folks is why they are still around and why there are women who still enter them.
Blame the friggin crown…

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rebecca February 15, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Alison! You rock! I never knew you were a beauty queen. (That is not to say you aren’t a stunner!)

You aren’ t the only one that dreamed of being in a Miss Canada, but at least you tried. I also think that its because it was something YOU wanted and weren’t pushed into it that its great. I imagine that you gained a lot of confidence in yourself.


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