It use to be once a woman got married or aged out of the Miss America or Miss USA systems, the pageant door closed in her life. For women who enjoy using pageants as a tool for personal growth and a way to experience the different opportunities they provide, this is a bittersweet moment.
Then the pageant door reopened for married women with the creation of the big three married women’s pageants - Mrs. America, Mrs. United States and Mrs. International. Over the years, more and more pageant systems have been created to accommodate the dynamic changes in the demographics of the contestants in the pageantry world.
Just because we get older and get married, that doesn’t decrease our love of competing in beauty pageants. So I am always excited when I see different pageant systems created because it provides continual opportunities for women to keep growing as individuals.
This week I interviewed the national director of the American Dream Pageant, Stephanie McClain, and the reigning Miss American Dream queen, Kristin Adams, to tell me about the American Dream Pageant http://www.americandreampageants.com/.
Stephanie has a long pageant history and has served as a pageant director for many years. Some women only dream of participating in a pageant. Stephanie wanted to provide an opportunity to help fulfill that dream; and, support an opportunity for the titleholders to use their platforms to make a difference in the world.
There are 7 different age divisions in the American Dream Pageant:
- Teenager (13-16) - 5 minute panel interview, swimsuit, evening gown, on-stage question. http://www.americandreamteenager.com/information/
- Teen (16-19)-5 minute panel interview, swimsuit, evening gown, on-stage question. http://www.teenamericandream.com/information/
- Miss (19-29)-5 minute panel interview, swimsuit, evening gown, on-stage question. Never been married, pregnant, or had children. http://www.miss-americandream.com/information/
- Mrs. (21-no maximum age) 5 minute panel interview, swimsuit, evening gown, on-stage question. http://www.mrsamericandream.com/information/page3.htm
- Ms. (21- no maximum age)-5 minute panel interview, fitness wear, evening gown, on-stage question. Can be single, married or divorced.http://www.msamericandream.com/information/
- Lady (40-59)-5 minute panel interview, fitness wear, evening gown, on-stage question. Can be single, married or divorced.http://www.americandreamlady.com/information/
- Ms. Senior (60- no maximum age)-5 minute panel interview, fitness wear, evening gown, on-stage question. Can be single, married or divorced.http://www.mssenioramericandream.com/information/
When I asked Stephanie what she was looking for in her titleholders, she told me the system is looking for real women in today’s society. All of the American Dream queens must have strong speaking skills and a platform they want to do something with. Stephanie highly recommended joining a group like Toastmasters and working with an interview pageant coach to hone these skills. It’s also, very important to complete and submit your paperwork on time.
The wardrobe for each age group must be age appropriate, classy and in good taste. If you’re 13, don’t dress like you’re 18; and if you’re 60, don’t dress like you’re 25.
The focus is to have fun, and make your dreams come true. Winning the crown should be the beginning of journey, not the end.
Kristin Adams is a graduate of North Central State College in Mansfield Ohio with a
degree in Radiological Sciences. She is employed by a local health system as a
Registered Radiologic Technologist. In her spare time she enjoys nature photography, lifting weights, running, and spending time with her bulldog and retired greyhound.
Her platforms are the Soldiers' Angels organization where she has sent over 100 letters and care packages to American troops serving overseas; and the Central Ohio Greyhound Rescue where she rescued her greyhound, Ray.
Kristin’s pageant background includes the Bellville Fair Queen, Sunburst and Miss Ohio USA pageants. In recent years, she missed competing and started looked for a pageant that she could enter. The fitness wear competition was the motivation she needed to get back into shape.
I asked Kristin for her list of helpful hints for winning the national title of Miss American Dream. Here is her winning list:
- Don’t go into debt to do a pageant. Invest in coaching and a well-tailored interview suit.
- Write out your packing list and start packing 10 days before you leave.
- Arrive a day before the national pageant begins so you have time to unpack, steam your clothes, and relax.
- If flying, take an empty suitcase or one that is almost empty, so you have room to bring back your contestant gifts, souvenirs, and new trophies and crown.
- Pack some protein powder, protein bars, almonds, raisins, and other healthy snack foods.
- An empty water bottle that you can refill and have with you all the time.
- Hire a coach to work on your interview skills.
- Thoroughly prepare, stay positive, have fun and be yourself.
The American Dream pageants will take place this summer in Las Vegas. Visit http://www.americandreampageants.com/ for more information.
What dreams have you pushed aside for one reason or another? Is there a thought or an idea that keeps coming up year after year, even when you try to ignore it? What reasons do you keep saying to yourself to justify not taking action?
You always get what you focus on. If you focus on the dream, opportunities will present themselves to make it happen. If you only see obstacles standing in your way, then more obstacles will come to you. What do you see in your life right now? Obstacles or opportunities? If you want to make a change, contact me today and let’s talk about how we can get you on your way to winning in life. What’s your dream?
A blast from the past-1986. Inspired by Sunday night’s Super Bowl game and the Glee episode that followed, I pulled out the scrapbook and took a walk down memory lane. Here’s a photo of me (in the yellow) and my friend Kelly 25 years ago after our casts of Up With People performed the half time show of Super Bowl XX. If you’re interested in trying to find me, here’s the YouTube link to the show http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bQI7CGfJyM&feature=related.
The 2 years I spent traveling the world with Up With People were the most life altering years of my life. My dream of traveling with this organization began at age 14 when I saw them perform the half time show of Super Bowl XVI. You had to be 18 years old to interview and, if accepted, travel with them. That gave me 4 years to figure out how I was going to come up with the tuition of $8000. FYI, that’s around $20,000 in today’s economy.
It wasn’t easy being a farmer’s daughter in South Dakota to raise that kind of money in the 80’s; but I never gave up on my dream. Four years later, it became a reality. I was traveling the world, performing at the half time show of Super Bowl XX, and I met my husband (who also traveled in Up With People).
Another dream I had was to become Mrs. Ohio America. After 5 years, that too became a reality and opened another chapter in my book of life. Never under estimate the power of a thought or a dream.
In my weekly e newsletter, I always have a personal note from myself at the beginning before I dive into my main article. I usually don't publish it to the public because it's intended for only those in my inner circle. However, after getting an email today in response to my above note, I had to share this.
In my life, there have been many activities that I have chosen to pursue that people make fun of for one reason or another. Because they don't understand it, or have a preconceived notion of what it is about, it's just easier for them to make fun of it or put down the people who participate in it down. There are two specific activities I'm referring to here. First was my involvement with Up With People and the second is being involved in beauty pageants.
Anyone who has hosted a student, traveled as a participant or watched a show from beginning to end knows the lasting impact this wonderful organization has in the world. Case in point. This Tuesday, I shared a picture and a brief commentary on one of my experiences from 25 years ago and I get an email from a daughter saying this:
"Wow! Mom loved "Up With People". She said them as a child in Atlanta, GA. She said it was the 1st concert she went to. She is cracking me up right now and singing and dancing. She said to tell you she remembers the lyrics:"Up, Up with People, you meet them wherever you go. Up, Up with People, they’re the best kind of folks you know. If more people were for people, all people everywhere. There’d be a lot less people to worry about and a lot more people who care." And to make it better she said being a native Atlantan from the ghetto. It was the first time she seen so many different races and saw that they got along. She grew up thinking people who were not like her were mean and hated blacks. That show showed her everyone could get along in this world. Thought you may like the memory of my mom!"
When they make fun of you or what you're doing, do it anyway. If you feel down to your core that you should be doing something, do it. You have no idea of who you will touch or what the lasting effects will be.
So today, as I always have, I will stand extra tall and proud of my involvement in Up With People and beauty pageants because I know and experience on a daily basis the lasting impact I am having in the world. Stand tall for your cause. Hugs.
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The ability to answer questions about you, your purpose, current events, and controversial topics in a clear way is an important life skill that everyone can benefit from. The more you practice, the better you will get. These handy interview cards are a great way to practice with a partner or use by yourself to get you thinking about the topic.
The Beginning 10 Questions are the staple interview questions everyone must know the answers in an interview situation. Then each month you will receive a new card in the mail with fresh questions.
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Rhonda Shappert is an expert pageant coach, an iPEC Certified Professional Coach, an Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner, and a member of the International Coach Federation. She created Winning Through Pageantry® to partner with pageant contestants and their support people to provide complete pageant preparation, achieve winning results in life through pageantry, and to Succeed From The Inside Out®. She has over 30 years experience in the pageantry world as a contestant, judge, emcee, staff member, mother of daughters who compete, Mrs. Ohio America 2005, and has held multiple titles at the local, state and national levels.
Rhonda graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors degree in Musical Theater from The Ohio State University and has performed on stage in 15 countries on the Asian, European and American continents. This mother of three home educates their children and has been married 22 years to her husband Stephen, is the former mayor of her community, and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Ohio Virtual Academy. She and her husband perform original contemporary Christian music. Their music CD entitled Cana is available through www.cdbaby.com/cd/shappert or on her website. For more information on Rhonda, visit www.WinningThroughPageantry.com .