Hello again loves! My last post, which you can find here, I wrote about taking new risks and going for them with full force. Learning from the journey so that even if you don’t win, you’re still a winner. I know it’s hard to do at the beginning but after what you truly learned on that journey is the BIG reward. My risk was competing in the Miss Florida USA pageant. Here’s a glimpse of what I learned about myself and how that experience found the #GirlBoss in me.
Applying for Miss Florida USA:
When I was applying to be in Miss Florida USA, I honestly thought I had NO chance to be accepted. I wasn’t tall enough, skinny enough or knew anything about pageants to even be considered. I was WRONG! I was chosen over 700 women to be in the top 200 and invited to Tampa, FL. The directorship of Miss Florida just changed to The Chrisley Family and they believed it didn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what your background is, etc. all that mattered was you. What you stand for? What you believe this platform could do for you and how you would use it?
No longer was their a stigma of the typical beauty pageant girl in Florida. All the beautiful woman I was surrounded by were different shapes, colors, religious backgrounds, sizes and all with one goal. No, not just win the sparkly hat, but to start a movement within the Miss USA organization of change. Every delegate present has their own story and in that room, where we had our orientation, was 200 woman set to change the world and prove that being a #GirlBoss was the most powerful voice we have.
Arriving to Tampa:
The Miss Florida USA Organization didn’t let anything stop them from making sure we had the best 4 days of our lives. We stayed at the beautiful Marriott Waterside in Tampa which was right on the water. If you’re in Tampa and looking for an amazing hotel to stay at I recommend this one. The Marriott staff was super warm, welcoming, friendly and helpful. After I left my bags at checkout, I made my way to orientation. I was nervous walking in because I was clearly under dressed for the occasion. I literally wanted to just go back home and not even compete. I felt totally out of my league. Then I met our director for the show Frank Arcidiacono, who is so warm and loving that I felt like I couldn’t leave now. Plus he gave me my package and wrote down I had arrived. Ha-Ha!
Day 1 involved orientation, meeting our fellow delegates and for us Miss Delegates a bikini photo shoot with our sponsor Sunglassing, who gifted us with amazing sunglasses. The day concluded with a beautiful Pink Empowerment dinner. Where we brought more awareness to breast cancer and celebrated the survivors and remembered loved ones who were taken from this illness.
During the Pink Empowerment dinner, we met our pageant coach, Dale Smith Thomas. She is the most inspiring woman I’ve ever met. She just made you feel that you could do anything you wanted to do in this world. You just had to believe in yourself, work hard, and be kind to others. She asked us all to say hello to each other, better yet, say Good Morning Gorgeous to each other. Which we all gladly agreed too. That alone gives you confidence to start the day. We all loved the idea and said it to everyone in the morning, I think the Marriott staff was even impressed.
Rehearsals, rehearsals, rehearsals:
We were consistently being followed, recorded, and monitored by pageant directors that we all always wanted to look our complete best for the cameras, judges, and ourselves. Thank God for Bombay Hair’s 5-in-1 curling wand set! I would use this bad boy at literally 5:30am and by midnight my hair was still in curls. Use my code “KARENB30” for a discount. You won’t regret it! We had rehearsals for the actual show, photo opts, interviews with the judges, and even saying hello with fans who wanted photos, going on all day long. My makeup was also amazing and I have to shout out Smashbox, there products work perfectly for my skin type.
**I’ll have a list of products I used and a link to Amazon so you can check them out as well next week, so stay tuned. All the little things helped bring out my inner #GirlBoss!
We ended this day with a Cruise of Tampa Bay with all the judges, The Chrisley family, producers, delegates and families. A huge shout out to Yacht Starship Cruises and Events for having us all onboard. THE best three hour cruise of Tampa and its perfect for weddings, parties, and meetings.
The first day of competition had arrived. We all got up again around 5am to get ready and then head to breakfast at 7am. After breakfast, we went straight into a makeup seminar with #girlboss Savannah Chrisley and her BFF/makeup artist Emily Jimison. I learned so much from being here and from them. Honestly! I knew how to apply makeup and stage makeup from my years as a competitive cheerleader and dancer. But they also showed us every day looks, and how to create gorgeous eyes, and how to properly contour.
My makeup game definitely stepped up from being here and in turn gave me more confidence. I’m not saying makeup is what you need to make you feel beautiful or change your appearance. Your natural beauty is EVERYTHING! I just know personally, when I have makeup on as simple or dramatic as I want to be, I feel a bit more confidence and ready to take on the day. After the session, we arrived to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts for a run through of the show, makeup/hair prep, and steaming of dresses.
After the preliminary competition we got an extra perk and had a pizza dance party with all the girls and our friends and family. The DJ of the night was Brandi Cyrus, which is the older sister of Miley Cyrus, so of course I was excited to meet her. All us girls were so tired by this time after such a long stressful day but being with each other and honestly dancing around was the best part of the night.
The final day of competition was here. We were all excited to see who wins Miss Florida USA and Miss Florida Teen USA that we all were much more calm this day. We couldn’t control who was winning that was already decided! All we could do was just support one another and live in the moment. As the winners were crowned, I realized something in the emotions I was feeling. I was surprisingly happy for our current Miss Florida USA, Genesis Davila, which is strange because I don’t take losing very well. (See I had a moment of growth here.) Genesis is truly a beautiful woman inside and out and SO SO deserving of the title. I can wait to follow her journey to Miss USA and hopefully get Florida a win. As for the teens, Lou Schieffelin, is simply a sweetheart and a true representative of what Miss Florida Teen USA is all about. Congrats to both my girls and follow them on Instagram to see their journeys.
After this weekend, as I was arriving back to the hotel and saying goodbye to my sisters, I realized what I truly won from this experience. I won. . . GROWTH. I found a new confidence in myself to truly just go for my dreams. I realized what I want to do and how to make steps to get there. I found that becoming a #GirlBoss is my identity. Time’s Up where woman can’t go a run a Fortune 500 company. Can’t be their own boss. Can’t earn the same pay as men do. Can’t do this or that. We can do anything we want to do as long as we work hard, stay focus and determined to win and most importantly win together.
The BIGGEST thing I learned is sisterhood. I’ve never joined a sorority in college, but through this pageant I’ve made lifelong friends and definitely met my future bridesmaid. I love all my sisters and wish them all the best in their amazing futures. You see, I didn’t win the crown but I won because I chose to let my win be different. I chose that winning meant meeting new empowering woman to work with/alongside in the future, to find a confidence and a new determination in myself to reach my goals. I chose to become a #GirlBoss!
Trust me, I was scared the whole time but I didn’t let that fear dictate my outcome. I chose my own outcome. I chose to embrace my new role as a #GirlBoss and to use that voice to help empower others, share my story, and most importantly help others. There is always an opportunity for personal growth and we own that. I want you to take the risk and chose your outcome. Learn from your failures and make them wins. Don’t let anyone dull you shine or keep you from shining. We make that decision for ourselves. Most importantly as the great Babe Ruth once said, “Never let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game.”