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I've put a lot of thought into how I would convey my experience with Queen Beauty USA 2020 and Crown Pageant Productions, most notably. Someone I respect greatly encouraged me to speak my truth to prevent others from experiencing what I, and undoubtably others, have with this system. I was hesitant to be totally transparent, and that's the truth. After much thought, I've decided that in this world, especially in the chaos of our nation, truth is something worth standing for even if it isn't Show more
I've put a lot of thought into how I would convey my experience with Queen Beauty USA 2020 and Crown Pageant Productions, most notably. Someone I respect greatly encouraged me to speak my truth to prevent others from experiencing what I, and undoubtably others, have with this system. I was hesitant to be totally transparent, and that's the truth. After much thought, I've decided that in this world, especially in the chaos of our nation, truth is something worth standing for even if it isn't favorable or popular. So, here I am. Below is my experience. Initially, I saw a teaser video advertising a reality show pageant. The spokesperson acknowledged that "corporate politics" dominate many mainstream pageant systems, and touted their genuine desire to "Bring Beauty Back". I don't want to rephrase any of their verbiage or misguide anyone, so do please check YouTube as their website has been updated to not include these ideas. Theme: Pageant for Models After seeing Alexia Rae Castillo's appearence on the Ellen show, my doubts towards the legitamacy of the new pageant system were soothed. Ellen is Ellen, I thought. Must be real. It seemed as though Alexia had many opportunities. I watched contestants participate in photo shoots during Miami Swim Week on Instagram. It looked legit from the 30 second snips I could see. I decided to contact QB USA. It took a long while for a response. I was told my submission went to Spam. Eventually I was connected to the Director of the Southeast Region. After speaking with her, oh my gosh. She is absolutely everything and I'm honestly honored to have even met this woman. Talk about genuine and wow, I truy can't say enough good things. Everything sounded great, I had no doubts, I felt so confident in her as the Director and the pageant is general. I was hoping this was going to finally be the pageant for me. Run by people who are nice. People who care. People who want to aid our sucess on multiple levels, people who offer guidance for anyone with an aspiration and the drive to achieve it. I was accepted, I received the official acceptance email and then pretty much silence. I'd hear from the Southeast Director every 2 weeks until it slowed to every 4 weeks. Still I hadn't received official paperwork, requirements, nothing. I felt very unofficial. Meanwhile, girls in other divisions are going to photoshoots, fashion weeks, etc. I started to think, okay, maybe they changed their mind about me being a delegate? I asked my Director for updates but truly, she did not have them. She kept speaking of meeting with the national office. Time kept ticking, nationals approaching quicker and quicker. I was concerned but kept preparing. I justified, because they are brand new, it must take time to put paperwork together. I want to say it was almost 3 months after I had submitted my initial contact form before I got a text message in legal verbiage saying, due to circumstances blah blah blah, Southeast Director is no longer affiliated with QB. This was a total shock to me. Keep in mind this woman is literally the glue that kept me onboard during the disorganization thus far. I was really at a loss for words for a long time. The message mentioned the national office would be in touch with us if we want to continue with QB we would get transfered under the directorship of another region. I waited and was never contacted. I reached out after some time to the national office again, and was put in touch with one of the two northeast directors. I explained the situation and they had me submit an application again. I questioned why she would quit so abruptly and if this organization is something I want my name to be apart of. In depth conversation with the new directors took place, promising prize packages for appointed titleholders of $2500 including $800 dress allowances, luggage set, NYFW, sponsorships, runway training, $500 costume allowance, etc. in exchange for the buy in fee of either $1000 or $500. If you paid the smaller fee, you don't get a costume or gown allowance, or a luggage set. The new directors soothed, everything you put in you basically get back, but invested in yourself. I felt preyed on, like, by industry lions eager to capitalize on naivity and devour young dreams, I felt pressured to make a decisions ASAP and pay my fee ASAP. I wanted to see a contract first as I was on a limited budget and made that very clear. Everytime an extra fee would come up in the discussion, I was told they would adjust my contract to cover such and such. Yet, I still hadn't seen this contract. They told me they would send a generic contract for me to look through. Not to sign, since it wasn't MY contract with the adjustments we discussed. I looked through it and made mental note of a ton of things that went against the descriptions I was given. I thought it was a red flag but chalked it up to, well this isn't MY contract and when I do receive mine I'm sure it will have these ammendments and if not, I can bring it up then. Later I noticed the contract states something about how the directors and national office have the final say in judging and can override the judges decision for what is best for the organization. Additionally, the prize package, you know the really great big investment in myself? Well, the contract I didn't sign says, you must complete a full year term to be entitled to the prize package. No one mentioned this when I continuously inquired into how the time left for my reign is getting shorter and shorter, stating I felt disadvantaged. Some girls had a reign over a year and some had less, significantly less. Time and time went on and at this point I'm on a payment plan. It's getting to be like 2 months before nationals. I still don't have my crown or sash and I can't post or do the hashtags or anything. When we set up the payment plan, Crown Pageant Productions (QB NE) said they were going to "front me" the buy in fee and I would pay them back on the payment plan, since there was a deadline at the national office of that day. It would secure my spot, blah blah. I assumed this meant I was actually QB Louisiana at that point since that's what the Congrats message said. I kept paying, expecting at least more information to come about nationals dates/locations and requirements, but it never did. This is getting long, I'm going to wrap it up. To conclude: I got my mom involved in discussions with them since I felt so unsure about the whole thing, I really wanted my family's support. She said it was a scam from day one. She spoke to the husband of the northeast director and I felt he very quickly escalated the situation when he started referencing that Texas (where I am) and NY (where he is) don't have 3rd party consent laws, aka. he's threatening wire tapping phone conversations to use in the court of law. They proclaim to have REALLY great lawyers too. These are NOT conversations that should occur when a Director is giving information to the mother of a delegate. Period. PERIOD. There was a Facebook Chat group started for the Queens to communicate and share questions and see the answers in case someone were to have a similar question. By the end of this fiasco, my family and coworkers had nicknamed this event, the Fyre Fest of Pageantry. I had told friends and family about Nationals yet everyone was reluctant to make arrangements since they thought it was a hoax. Plus, we didn't have a date or place to even make arrangements at! The websites between all the regions were really inconsistent about where and when nationals were, etc. Some girls closer to the national office, in Arizona I think, got more hands on, personal training and coaching from Thom (so it appeared on Instagram. Keep in mind literally no one official is communicating information at this time other than to mandate new social media requirements since none of the delegates were advertising nationals on their socials either.) The communications started coming through the FB Chat in all caps and very aggressively, I felt. Strict mandates on how many posts to social media with which hash tags needed to happen by when, came through with phrases about let's see who wants to be Queen, or something similar. Yet, deadline after deadline went unmet by leadership.The venue changed states and dates multiple times, the reality show came and went and came and went, sponsors quit, contestants left, extensive photo requirements were sprung on us last minute and constantly being changed, gown allowances went unpaid for some, it was just a mess. Soon we were banned from asking questions in the group. I contacted my director for the details I was missing many times, and went without answers for so long - too long. I emailed and kindly resigned. I asked for my $750 partial deposit back but the CPP policy is absolutely no refunds, per the contract I never signed or saw. When I questioned why, as I had literally made the payments over a period of 3 weeks with enough time as I would have had (since I wasn't officially crowned) for a replacement to take the reign. I was told, no way could I have my deposit back because the paperwork for the national office had to be processed and that has administrative costs. Keep in mind, the nationals office had not processed my paperwork yet, obviously, that's why I still had no title. They can't give me a title until the fee is paid in full.Aka. no admin. cost applies. Then he said, well, the cost of the sash has been accounted for. I hope to sweet baby Jesus that the Queen who replaced me got her sash for free, because at least someone in this situation can pay it forward. It turns out CPP is run by three people, on the side, when they aren't too busy with their main priority: their full time, 9-5 jobs. I have no personal ill feelings toward the organization or the people involved, nor do I want to devalue the experience of the current Queen Beauty USA 2020. This is a true account of my personal experience with these organizations. I felt I handled the situation respectfully and courteously. I am grateful for the experience because, truly, after seeing the heart of the former southeast director shine so bright, it is one of the few things in this industry that gives me hope that an authentic, empowering pageant experience is out there some where, though I wouldn't recommend this one to a friend and I wouldn't be mad if this lesson didn't cost me $750 and my self respect. **This is really important guys: No matter what I say, no matter what you hear or how this review connects with you, please keep this idea in mind when you sign up to be a part of ANYTHING in your life. Pageants, jobs, volunteer organizations, etc. When you look back, or even forward, at your involvement, do you feel proud? Honored? Grateful? Are you treated with respect, like a human of value and importance? Most important, does your involvement in this add to your life, boost self confidence or in some other extraordinary way help you to be farther along in mind, body & spirit, than where you are in this moment? Growth may stem from many circumstances, but you are enough and so so important, capable, EVERYTHING, that if you don't feel like you are being treated in a way that aligns with authenticity and kidness, leave. Get out. At the very least, address and correct the misalignment **Show less
Swimsuit/Fitness, Photogenic, Personal Introduction, On-Stage Question, Interview, Evening Gown, Costume
18 - 28 years
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