Beauty pageants might be the last place that you think could help your teen achieve in life, but you will be surprised. Black celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Halle Berry and politician, Erika Harold, just to name a few, have all found career-success after entering pageants. The opportunities for success from the exposure in pageants are abundant and often not widely known or taken advantage of in communities of color. You will often find that the perks and opportunities are usually bigger with the larger pageant systems. “Participating in pageants not only places you in that community but can literally place you in front of the one person needed to change your life,” says Kola Brown, a former Miss Arkansas International and Miss Arkansas finalist in an interview with Black Enterprise magazine. Pageant contestants in some of the biggest pageant systems start in their teens or younger and are experts by the time they enter a mega-pageant like, Miss USA or Miss America.
There are beauty pageants for all types, all shapes, all ages, and genders but don’t let the word ‘beauty’ fool you. I’m not talking Toddlers in Tiaras™ where children don wigs, lipstick and look like miniaturized women gyrating on a stage during a talent performance, but instead natural beauty pageants that give your child experience, confidence and speaking skills that will benefit them for a lifetime.
Pageants give your teen the opportunity to receive informal media training with the press and develop their courage and confidence when talking to celebrities and politicians.
Give to A Good Cause
Forget the beauty part because pageants are more than what meets the eye. The majority of pageant contestants must have a platform that ties them to a charitable cause they work on and volunteer a good portion of their time. Teens who volunteer and work with others not only develop a sense of empathy and caring but they learn to speak to others and be a voice for that campaign. There is no better way to experience a sense of self-worth and value than to help another person. Find a cause and start volunteering with your teen or at least support them 100 percent.
After you pay your registration fees, if the pageant does not have a local pageant system for you to enter, they will send you a sash and a small crown in the mail to represent your county or area. You will later compete for the big national crown on stage. Use your local regalia that you received in the mail to make appearances, do charity work, and to meet with politicians in your area. Work your crown!
Nothing will prepare you for life more than sitting in front of a panel of judges who are asking you difficult questions during an interview for a pageant. Here you need the speaking skills and charm of a charismatic politician. You often only have a few minutes to make your point and to land the interview. After practicing and winning-over judges, your teen will be able to succeed at any job or college interview out there.
Perfect Your Stage Presence
If your child has practiced well, they will one day find themselves as a pageant finalist and be asked an infamous on-stage question. Poise and grace can only get you so far on-stage. Here you must show your intelligence and an instant recall of what is happening in the world. This is where your opinion, voice, and passion matters. This is the time that your teen’s motivational speaking skills must shine.
Meet Important People
Most beauty pageants require or look highly upon delegates who do a lot of community service, appearances and photo ops with important people such as a mayor, other politicians, officials, and celebrities. Pageant contestants get perks. Public relations people know that when a pageant contestant shows up to an event, the press is attracted to the person wearing the crown and sash. This gives your teen the opportunity to receive informal media training with the press and develops their courage and confidence when talking to celebrities and politicians. In addition, when it is time to apply for a job, your teen has already made all of these contacts with people in high places (through collecting business cards and initiating conversations) and these people remember the delegate’s title, even if they can’t remember your teen’s name.
Be A Role Model
When your teen proudly wears a sash and crown in public other teens and small children look up to them. They instantly become a role model. Small children think they are a prince or princess and are mesmerized when they see a teen in their regalia. When others see you as someone to look up to, it’s amazing how teens adapt to the role with pride.
Many of these pageants offer cash prizes and scholarship money for the winners. This can be one way of stashing money away for your child’s education while they develop competitive skills.
Overall, beauty pageants can help your child get rid of any shyness and to develop into a skilled public speaker with built-in opportunities, connections, and perks. It might be an unexpected venue for rising to success but it is a viable option to get their foot in the door for top career opportunities.
BLACK BEAUTY PAGEANTS
Not all of the pageants listed below are exclusively Black pageants, but they are known to have a high percentage of winners that are people of color. All of the pageants below have teen divisions.
American Beauties and
American Beauties Plus (Plus Size)
Black Globe Pageants
Black and Natural Pageant
Exquisite International Teen
Little Miss Black US
Miss Black Teen US Ambassador
Miss Black USA Talented Teen
National American Miss (NAM)
US United Pageant