Every pageant started out small, even Miss America. The goal of a pageant each year is to grow. In order to do that, it needs contestants. Without contestants, there is no pageant. Like a crown, it is a circle.
Sometimes, in order to grow a pageant new directors come in, rebranding takes place, missions and goals are rewritten and reestablished. Just look at the Miss Universe Organization in the last year, for example.
No matter how big or small or old or new a pageant system may be, no one is immune to these types of development and changes and for new systems, as long as the numbers continue to grow, the longer it will be around and the bigger the impact it will be able to have.
Pushing Onward and Upward
“I took over and rebranded the American Dream Pageant system in 2014,” said Tenisha Dotstry, director of American Dream Pageants. “For my first inaugural pageant, I had three contestants.”
But she didn’t let that discourage her. (Read: How to Get More Contestants to Compete in Your Pageant)
“That is small, yes, and I feel like many would have canceled,” Dotstry said. “But since the ladies paid me for a national pageant experience, I did not let them down.”
Her determination paid off, and the next year the pageant grew by 300 percent, hosting 12 contestants.
Three years in, and she has already doubled last year’s contestant numbers.
“This year so far we have 24,” Dotstry said. “So, every year we’ve grown dramatically. We hope to continue this forward growth in the coming years as we continue to expand and grow.”
With growth percentage like that, Dotstry and the American Dream Pageant team must be doing something right. In fact, they all try to lead by example in their communities and thus, lead potential contestants right to the stage.
Follow the Leader
Shane Boen, Mrs. American Dream 2016, has been a very active and driven woman. She has done volunteer work and appearances across the country, and she is regularly contributing and promoting her platform Project 10 Kids. (Read: How to Promote Your Platform Through Community Service)
Boen explained, “’Lead by Example’ is more than a phrase. It is a driving force that keeps you engaged. Priorities may change. Organizations with your passion and purpose may change. But the desire to be an active participant, an active voice, an active presence of support….that is leading. The example of what you want others to do alongside of you in order to accomplish all that needs to be done.”
Reaghan Wooster, Miss American Dream 2016, promotes inclusivity. In a time where being different makes you stand out and become a target, Reaghan is standing up for those who stand out and helping others see how they fit in.
“Leading by Example is more than a motto, it is really a way of life,” Wooster said. “It is doing the right thing not because someone else is watching, but because you know it is the right thing to do. Acts do not have to be grand in magnitude. ‘Leading by Example’ can be sticking up for someone who is being unfairly targeted or sitting with the person who is eating alone. It is understanding that you are defined more by your actions than your words.”
Monique Boyd, Ms. American Dream 2016, explained her impact.
“I feel I am leading by example because I am committed to my platform of bringing people from poverty to prosperity. For example, I just wrapped up a project working with Johns Hopkins University with the overall theme of ending poverty. Specifically, I was involved with helping individuals suffering from drug addiction go through recovery and gain meaningful employment in the workforce. It was so inspiring to see them get off of using drugs and return to a normal life. It has been a very memorable experience. In addition, I have volunteered at homeless shelters, donated clothes and items to charity and work tirelessly working with local legislators to try to change laws to bring equality to all. I love what I do and hope to do more in the future.”
Khennedy Wooster, Teen American Dream 2016, promotes volunteerism and she and her sister, Reaghan Wooster, work together in support of each other’s platforms.
“’Leading by Example’ is demonstrated more easily through actions than through words,” Khennedy Wooster said. “This motto can be very influential and spread kindness to others. I have personally experienced and witnessed this many times because I constantly put myself in situations where I can make any difference in my community.”
Join the Movement
Want to get involved in this growing pageant system while it’s still young and help to establish it for the future?
The 2017 American Dream National Pageant will be held June 22-24, 2017, at the Holiday Inn Orlando-Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
(Ages for divisions are determined based on age on the first day of the pageant weekend)
- Jr. Teen American Dream (ages 12-14)
- Teen American Dream (ages 15-17)
- Miss American Dream (ages 18-26)
- Mrs. American Dream (ages 18-49, married)
- Ms. American Dream (ages 27-49, unmarried)
- Elite American Dream (ages 50+, any marital status)
Areas of Competition
- Personal Interview (50%)
- On-Stage Question (10%)
- Fun Fashion Wear (20%)
- Evening Gown (20%)
- Photogenic Award
- Community Service Award
- Appearance Award
- Entourage Award
- Ambassador Award
For more information or to become a contestant in any of the divisions above, contact American Dream Pageants.
While it can be scary and a bit intimidating to get involved in something so new, with this particular pageant growing the way it is each year it has to be doing something right! Don’t you want to be able to say that you were there when it all started?
Good luck, ladies!