Miss Universe 2017 contestants at Bucca Di Beppo Welcome Dinner. Photo: Miss Universe Facebook
All eyes are on you
When you are given the honor of being a titleholder, you are no longer an anonymous citizen and your life is no longer your own, to a certain extent. In the shake of a sash, you go from being a contestant with a number in the Miss Most Fabulous pageant to Miss Most Fabulous herself, and suddenly all eyes are on you. All at once, you represent the city, state or nation on the banner that you wear, as well as every individual who lives in that area. (Read: What are the Expectations of a Queen After Winning the Crown?)
It can be a real shock and can take some time to get used to. You may be required to sign contracts of all kinds, stipulating what you can and cannot do. And, depending on how prestigious the title is, you may have restrictions placed on you that you must abide by. Typically, the further that you advance in any system, the larger your responsibilities are, and the larger the obligations. That is one very good reason why it’s a wise idea to find out what the responsibilities of the winner are before you enter any pageant. However, some things you just never know until that crown is put on your head and it happens to you. But, whether you are Miss Most Fabulous in the Country or Miss Most Fabulous in the County, you should still uphold the values and ideals of the system that you are competing in.
Embody the values that your pageant system promotes
First and foremost, you should behave responsibly and have respect for yourself because you are a person of integrity. Then, in addition to the standards that you hold yourself to, you want to try to embody the values that your pageant system promotes. After all, you entered into your chosen system because there was something about it that you connected with, and you ultimately desired to be the queen. (Read: How to Build up Your Pageant Brand)
Every pageant system has a public statement about the expectations they have of their titleholders. This information will likely be posted on their website and on their application and will include the traits they admire and encourage and the behavior they discourage or forbid. One of the most common behaviors that a pageant system will have a stance on is the use of alcoholic beverages. (Read: Should Titleholders Be Allowed to Drink?)
If you are a minor, there is zero tolerance for the use of alcohol. If you are an adult, your pageant may not be as upfront about their expectations or restrictions, but you can be certain that they still have them. Even though you are an adult and it is legal for you to consume alcohol, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t guidelines that you should adhere to. If you are not sure what the alcohol policy is, then be sure to get clarification from your director.
Miss Universe 2017 contestants at Gordon Ramsay Burger Las Vegas. Photo: Miss Universe Facebook
When in doubt, leave it out
It is imperative that you understand the brand and image of your pageant and that you align yourself with that image in your dealings in the public eye. Being in public does not just mean what you do when you step outside the front door of your house. Being in public has come to mean what you do on social media as well. Social media can be an incredibly valuable tool for pageantry if it is used wisely and with discretion. But, at the same time, what happens on social media, stays on social media, and that can mean the downfall of everything that you have worked so hard to achieve. We live in a time when an event can happen, be photographed or filmed and then be sent across the globe in seconds. (Read: Pageant Girl’s Guide to Building a Snapchat Following)
Most adult titleholders know what is appropriate to post on their Facebook or Instagram pages, but when it comes to being photographed with alcohol, there are not always clear-cut rules. Your pageant may state that it is acceptable for you to have a drink in your hand in a photograph, but should you? My opinion is that it’s best to always be conservative in your language and actions when you represent a pageant. If you think that it’s possible that you may eventually regret posting something on the internet, then do not do it. When in doubt, leave it out. Remember that you have chosen a lifestyle that makes you a public figure. What you do in the privacy of your own home is your business, but the more well-known your title, the more well-known your life will be.
Have a photo protocol
As a titleholder, I maintain certain protocols when it comes to photos and filming. If I am in public and wearing my sash and crown, I am extremely vigilant. When I am having my picture taken, I make it a policy to never hold anything in my hands, other than a purse. (Read: Social Media Etiquette Guide For Titleholders)
If I am approached by someone who wants to take my photo, and I am eating or drinking, I ask them to wait while I put down my beverage and finish what I am doing. And, just before my photo is taken, I take a quick look behind me just to make sure that there is nothing going on that I do not want in my photo. I don’t drink alcohol, so the issue of being photographed with a drink is not an issue for me. However, I still try never to be photographed with a beverage in my hand, just because I don’t want anyone to get the impression that I am drinking alcohol. This may seem like a very restrictive policy for some people, and you have to do what is right for you. The fact is that I am very aware that I am the face of my pageant system, and everything that I do reflects back on my director and every person who is associated with my pageant. I would never want to cast a negative light on the organization that I value or put the people I love in jeopardy. Pageantry has done so much for me and has given me a life that I cherish. The pageant system that I belong to has changed the lives of so many women, and it truly is a family to me.
What is good and what is best
The bottom line is that it is always better to ere on the side of caution and to do what is best for the image of the pageant. Sometimes there is no clear right or wrong answer. Sometimes a situation comes down to what is good and what is best. When you made a decision to get involved in pageantry, you made a decision to serve other people. When you were given a title, you were given a responsibility to represent a business, which is the pageant system. (Read: Pageant Question About Titleholder Responsibilities)
A lot of people are affected by the choices you make because you are now a walking advertisement for that pageant. As a result, you may have to give up some of the freedoms that other people enjoy. But, isn’t it worth it to be able to do all the things that you get to do? Isn’t it worth it to be the lady in the crown that all those little girls at your appearances want to be? When you look at your life from their point of view, you’re gaining so much more than you are giving up. What are your thoughts? Do you have a policy that you stick to when it comes to alcohol and having your photo taken? Share with us in the comments section!
Lydia has won several awards, including Preliminary Talent, for her voice!Learn More