Beauty Unveiled

When people think about pageantry one of the first words that comes up is, ‘Beauty.’ Beauty pageants, Beauty queens; the word beauty has been inserted into the foundation of pageantry and is almost synonymous with the industry.


This undeniable truth has always raised an important question in me. How can a whole industry be defined by something that everyone has a different definition of?


The idea of what it means to be beautiful has always intrigued me. I had a hard time understanding ‘beauty’ because my entire life I have always been drawn to images that did not reflect what others around me perceived as alluring. Graffiti art, urban street photography, even tragic love stories like Casablanca and Roman Holiday; when the couple didn’t end up together at the end of the film, I saw beauty in the heartbreak. My definition of beauty lies between John Keats’ “truth beauty” ideology, and the Japanese characteristics of “Wabi-Sabi;” a beauty that is defined by imperfection, acceptance, and impermanence.


As you can imagine, entering into the world of pageantry with this set of beauty values definitely made me an outsider looking into the industry. When I first began competing in pageants five years ago, I thought the industry reflected a very narrow-minded definition of beauty. It wasn’t until I competed, and lost several times, that I realized I was trying to fit into the stereotypical mold of what the world defined as "pageant beauty.” I was becoming a reflection of someone else’s opinion of what was beautiful, and not my own.


It wasn’t until I competed in the Miss Nevada USA pageant, that I realized I had it wrong. Pageantry is just as introspective as beauty. Every woman who competes brings her own symmetry and charm. As contestants we have the power to define the industry the way we want to define it; we don’t have to see it the way the world does.


I finally understood that if I was going to win, I was going to win by being myself. Though physical beauty can be influential; shining the light of your own individuality, and connecting to another person emotionally always trumps the fleeting impact of physical beauty.


Now, it would be short-sighted not to acknowledge that physical beauty does play a large part in crowning the winner in a pageant. However, how many times have you and your friends disagreed on who you thought was the most beautiful girl on the stage?


Beauty is biased. Beauty is personal.


To all the girls who enjoy competing in pageants, and anyone else looking to find true happiness, I urge you to spend more time developing WHO you are rather than just what you look like. If you can walk out on that stage and give people a sense of who you are, you will radiate a charisma that transcends the stereotype of what it means to be a beauty queen. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog post. STAY YOU and STAY BEAUTIFUL.




Brittany McGowan



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