Competing in Miss Taiwan was exhilarating – my first beauty pageant and an event that changed my perspective on the world of women forever.
As a 16-year-old, I initially had prepared myself for pageant battle – ready for any girl who would attempt an accidental drink spill on my dress or push me off the stage. Yet all I received was magnanimity and compassion from my “competition.”
Training was one of my most pleasant memories of the event – the other girls and I were eventually taught to move gracefully in heels of unbelievable heights, and all the prior chaos allowed us to bond despite the stress of having to learn so much in limited time.
Though I had the support of my family on the day of the pageant, along with my super fantastic escort Michael, I felt like both a queen and a nervous wreck! On a personal level, the competition was truly difficult because it meant I was opening myself up in a foreign environment for complete strangers to judge me on only what I had to say for my personal outlook on Taiwanese culture, in addition to my outer appearance.
I was prepared with an introduction speech in Taiwanese (but predominantly Mandarin Chinese) and another speech in English on the impact of my Taiwanese heritage on my American self. After also answering an on-stage interview question and going through with several more modeling performances, I began reflecting on my journey throughout the event.
What I learned from both the pageant itself and its aftermath was this: there is absolutely no true foundation on which others can truly judge a person based on the premises of aesthetics alone, and existing stereotypes or prejudice that may have arose in the past about pageants and the girls who compete are not in any way accurate.
After the pageant was over, I not only received two official pageant queen titles, but also developed a fervent motivation to defy social norms and demonstrate the true strength, intellect, and inner beauty that all women have the capacity to possess.
And if you want to learn more about my reasons for joining Miss Taiwan and competing in the Miss Fourth of July scholarship pageant, check out my previous blog “Beginning Pageantry!”