Guess Who’s Back: A Week In The Life Of A (Semi-Retired) Pageant Judge

Well guys, I’ve blown the dust off of my sequins and tried on every single thing in my closet I can still squeeze into, packed it all up, and will be proudly (even if it’s a little snug) wearing it in Florida this week where I’m honored to be part of a distinguished panel of judges once again.

If you’ve ever been curious about what it’s like behind the scenes of the life of a pageant judge, I’ll be sharing some fun snapshots and clips on my Instagram @MrsKansasMommy throughout the week.

Going into this trip, knowing I’d be back in the realm of glam that is my happy place (none of my daughters are into pageants so it’s really just “Mommy’s hobby”) free from the day to day minutiae of school drop offs and volleyball practice and cleaning up after the dog, I was packing my suitcase and remembering what it feels like to be nervous about presenting yourself the best way you can, flaws, insecurities and all. It takes courage to stand on your own two feet and say, “Hey, hi nice to meet you! This is who I am…”

Whether you’ve followed me for years or are just discovering my blog today, I’ve always been a huge proponent of the National American Miss Pageant system. I started judging state pageants for the organization ten years ago when my first daughter was 1. Over the last decade, my life has been so enriched by these experiences, meeting bright-eyed young ladies and being a tiny part of helping them grow in confidence and poise, building their sense of self worth and life skills that will carry them on into adulthood.

I’m coming into this week with so much respect for every single member of every family here. They are showing their daughters they believe they are worthy of being seen, heard, and celebrated. As a mother of four daughters, it’s my opinion that all girls deserve to know that their value does not lie in the outcome of a competition, their worth cannot be judged, and comparison to others is the thief of joy. The only person worth comparing yourself to is the person you were yesterday. We are all improving on our own timelines. When one thinks of how pageants are typically portrayed, that may seem counterintuitive. But my experiences with NAM have been fulfilling and inspiring.

To my own daughters I would say, the real trophies and crowns in life are invisible. The only way to win them is to earn them by being brave, being kind, and willing to look silly. If it doesn’t go your way one day, find a reason to laugh, gather up the lessons you’ve earned like you’re on supermarket sweep, and leave the rest behind you with the trampled glitter on the stage. Hoard all those invisible trophies, girls. Hoard that confidence, because you earned it. Keep taking the kind of chances that make you more YOU.

*Very important disclaimer to anyone associated with a contestant: I will not be looking at social media beyond my own posts, so any attempts to message me are strictly forbidden and will be reported. In ten years, this has never been a problem thankfully! But this is a friendly reminder to keep it classy. I’ll be documenting the light, fun, behind the scenes moments that make this amazing thing I get to be part of with my fellow judges so meaningful to me. Professionalism and discretion are of paramount importance to the integrity of this amazing celebration of empowerment and promoting confidence. Every single one of these young ladies will be treated with the fairness and protection that I would expect for my own daughters. Thank you in advance for your understanding and respect.




One thought on “Guess Who’s Back: A Week In The Life Of A (Semi-Retired) Pageant Judge

  1. Hi Em!
    You’ve given us another superb message. You are a truly gifted writer, following in your Mom’s footsteps. I always love reading your work. Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your dear family. Wish we didn’t live so far apart…

Hearing from you always makes my day:

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