"We need another volunteer" was music to my ears. After a crazy whirlwind of 3 weeks as VP Recruitment for my sorority, I finally had a weekend where I had little planned so I was able to volunteer for MusicLink at the Mall of America. MusicLink raises money for kids that wouldn't be able to afford music lessons. They had various talented kids come, donate, and perform to raise money. I was working the registration table and let me tell you, I saw some amazing talent! Piano, guitar, vocal...it was an enjoyable volunteer opportunity. I even got to watch Michelle (pre-teen) sing for the first time! I had always known she was passionate about music (see her first music video here!) but it was great to finally hear her! Shout out to Michelle's mom who took all the pictures because as much as I love my great new camera, I forgot to charge the batteries. Rookie mistake.
As part of my competition for the Miss Minnesota title, I was required to write an essay from a list of three prompts. One that hit home right away was, "How do you define True Beauty?" I'm sharing this now because I feel we can always use a reminder of how each and every one of us is different and unique, and that's okay. The words below and true, every last one. I remember I began tearing up just a bit as I finished the essay because of how much I've learned through my journey with NAM and how other girls are just beginning theirs. My wish is that by examples of NAM queens, girls around the United States will be given hope that being yourself, flaws and all, is okay.
What is True Beauty?
When I see the phrase True Beauty, I feel pride and accomplishment, but most importantly knowing I was a part of something bigger than myself. Lead by Amanda Moreno (2011 All-American Miss), the Teen Queens of 2010 started the True Beauty movement and I’m proud to say I was in the first wave of queens to take pictures in white t-shirts, banners, and no makeup.
In today’s world, it’s rare and "unnatural" to find pictures of anyone famous without makeup. By reigning pageant queens taking a stand by posting pictures without makeup, we can not only break the pageant stereotype but encourage other girls to view themselves as beautiful as well, even without makeup. It’s a sad truth that teenage girls can no longer feel beautiful without makeup covering their natural features and are constantly comparing themselves to airbrushed models.
I love the message the True Beauty Movement sends because beauty isn’t just about stunning dresses, sparkly shoes, or a perfect smoky eye. Those aspects of being a girl are fun, but they do not capture the true beauty underneath each girl. It’s the passion, that sparkle in a girl’s eye when she talks about what is most important to her that really makes her shine. It’s the timid sixth grader who breaks out of her shell and finds she can be a leader that makes a girl gain confidence. It’s the long days of volunteering in the hot summer sun but still leaving with a smile that shows the girl is strong.
And it’s that enthusiasm a girl brings in conversation, that confidence she shows speaking on stage, and strength and determination in whatever she chooses to do that truly makes her beautiful.
How do I know? I’ve seen the transformation in multiple girls throughout my years in pageants and most personally, I’ve seen it in myself. I was that shy six grader who turned into a leader, I was that volunteer on a summer afternoon, and I am that girl with a sparkle in her eye when she talks about things most meaningful to her.
Because of pageants, I’m secure and confident in myself, with or without makeup, and wish to show others they can be too. True Beauty is letting personality shine through to let the world see how beautiful each and every girl is.