I was never one for pageantry, and previously thought of the grandeur of it all as excessive and ostentatious – something to only please the public eye.
The opportunity came one day in my junior year; I was contacted and asked if I wanted to compete in the Miss Taiwan World pageant. As I was only 16, I was afraid of going ahead with something so foreign, something I had sworn to myself I would never do.
Did I also mention that I have intense stage fright? In fact, the first time I went on stage to present myself to the judges, I collapsed after returning backstage – not the best first experience.
Yet through the months of training, the event itself, and the succeeding events (parades, appearances, etc.) I developed a more mature sense of my personal independence and gained insight into an entirely different world of women and stereotypes.
Pageantry is an acquired taste, like coffee or tea! I began to love pageantry in the way that it helped me in gradually overcoming my stage fright, and allowed me to get accustomed to putting myself out in the public eye.
Before I began competing, my thoughts were surrounded by the common prejudice and stereotyped comments about pageant girls: catty, vicious, ignorant, ‘trophy wives,’ and other such negative bias. I felt that it couldn’t be true, so I set off to find out the truth for myself.
Being a pageant girl doesn’t mean being superficial, nor does it indicate any lack of intelligence – some of the most brilliant girls I’ve met in the Miss Taiwan pageant are successful college students in both private schools and the UC system!
I joined and may continue to still join pageants because I’ve discovered that it’s one of my many passions. Competing in a pageant isn’t all about winning a title (though of course it’s super nice to get one!!) but also about the lessons gained personally from it. I think I grow up just a little bit more every time I go through with another pageant, and it truly is a life-changing encounter – and thankfully not a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
As of now, I’m so ecstatic about the titles I have because they’re not only my memories of the coolest moments ever in my life, but also names that help define my beliefs and who I am as an individual. It isn’t until I had such unique experiences that I realized just how valuable a pageant truly can be.