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Are Your Pageant Friends Helping or Hurting Your Chance of Winning?

National American Miss Titleholders making friends at the 2016 National American Miss national pageant. Photo courtesy: Bella Blanding, National American Miss Orange County Princess 2016 Instagram.
National American Miss Titleholders making friends at the 2016 National American Miss national pageant. Photo courtesy: Bella Blanding, National American Miss Orange County Princess 2016 Instagram.

You may have heard the saying, “people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.” Each relationship we form in our lifetime is significant for some reason or another. The same is true of our relationships in the pageant world.

There are three main categories for the pageant friendships we make: acquaintances, friends/best friends and toxic friends. Each of these relationships has significance and has the ability to make or break us during the course of the pageant competition. Let’s take a look at each!

Are Your Pageant Friends Helping or Hurting Your Chance of Winning?

A Reason

Let’s start with the most disappointing of our pageant relationships: the toxic friends. Although a strong phrase, I reference it because these are the friends who claim to be your buddies on the outside, but who could have ulterior motives.

The biggest thing to consider is how these people make you feel. If they are bringing anything other than joy into your life; things such as worry, criticism, attitude, and manipulation; these are toxic friends. (Read: How To Overcome Pageant Criticism From Friends And Family)

Riding this emotional roller coaster isn’t good for your well being. Constantly feeling as though you are walking on eggshells around these people will at some point physically and emotionally manifest itself within you and reflect poorly on your own pageant competitions, both on and off-stage.

Fun with friends backstage at the 2017 Mrs. Oklahoma America pageant. Photo courtesy: Erin Engelke, Miss Edmond (OK) 2017.
Fun with friends backstage at the 2017 Mrs. Oklahoma America pageant! Photo courtesy: Erin Engelke, Miss Edmond (OK) 2017 Instagram.

Consider the worth of the relationship with a toxic friend. Perhaps this person came into your life for a reason. That reason could very well be to teach you the value of what a true friend should and should not look like.

If you choose to end a pageant relationship with a toxic friend, it can be tough but not impossible. It’s important to handle it in an adult manner. (Read: How Pageantry Can Help You Develop As A Woman)

Start by talking openly to the person about how he or she is making you feel. If they didn’t realize it and truly apologize, perhaps you have the beginnings of what could develop into a real friendship. If you get any other reaction, such as defensiveness, gossiping or any type of backlash, I would run the other direction.

A Season

Pageant acquaintances fall into this category, as you interact with these people for just a short time while competing. Perhaps you recognize the other’s name or face from other pageants and may say hello in passing, but you haven’t had time to form a relationship.

This is likely the largest group of relationships you will encounter in pageants, and although they are truly your competition, these people can only hurt your chances of winning if you let them! Instead, let these awesome people inspire you to reach for the stars!

Your chances of winning in a pageant alongside these great competitors depends on you and you alone. If you start comparing yourself to your competition, the downward spiral of negative self-talk can run rampant. “She has a better dress than me… she has an amazing walk…She won the last pageant…” Do not go there! Stop any negative thoughts in their tracks. (Read: How To Create A Winning Pageant Mindset)

Titleholders growing friendships through the Miss Glitz Australia pageant system. Photo courtesy: Miss Glitz Australia Pageant Instagram.
Titleholders growing friendships through the Miss Glitz Australia pageant system. Photo courtesy: Miss Glitz Australia Pageant Instagram.

Change your attitude towards your competition. Positive thoughts equal positive results. “She has a better dress than me, but that’s okay because I totally nailed my interview! I’ve got this!” One person’s area of strength could be someone else’s area of weakness. Turn unappealing feelings into something you can feel good about.

And remember: our best pageant friends began as simply acquaintances! Your very best friend could be in this group. Consider that during the course of the competition. It is entirely possible for a season to become a lifetime. (Read: 10 Reasons to Compete in a Preliminary Pageant)

A Lifetime

Our soul sisters. Our confidants. Our BFFs! Some of the greatest friends I have in my life have been made through pageantry, and I know I’m of a huge majority of competitors who can say the same thing.

Just like Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy, when you find “your person” you just know. Sometimes it may even be a group, and they soon become “your people.” For whatever reasons, these awesome friendships just plain work.

The friends we have for a lifetime are not likely to hurt our chances of winning, especially when competing alongside one another. In this situation of true friendship, you realize the value of facing some nerve-wracking phases of competition together. You are each other’s biggest cheerleader. Even if your friend takes the crown, you will be equally as happy as if it were placed on your own head. (Read: Best Friends to Compete for Miss Grand Malaysia 2017)

Two of the lovely 2017 Miss North Dakota United States sister queens. Photo courtesy: Miss North Dakota United States Director Instagram.
Two of the lovely 2017 Miss North Dakota United States sister queens. Photo: Lincoln Nybladh – Nybladh Photography

“I feel that friends in pageantry are such a huge benefit,” said Ashley Jahns, the currently reigning America’s U.S. Mrs. Iowa 2017. “You don’t feel like you are in it alone and when you truly find that lifelong friend you know that you can still be competitive and focused, yet still able to cheer them on as they would for you.” (Read: 8 Tips You Need To Know Before Competing In A National Pageant)

True friendships have lasting effects to boost our overall health, especially the immune system and mental health. Neither of these two things stand to harm you during competition week. If for some reason there is something not working well with your friends during the week, be confident that your relationships are secure enough to discuss them openly without fear of repercussions.

Embrace your true pageant friends, have a blast, and hold each other accountable while both preparing and cheering one another on for the crown. These are the memories that will last a lifetime. (Read: The Friends Workout Challenge)

Going Forward

Know the difference between the various friendships you have in pageantry. For the most part, pageant acquaintances and friends can certainly help us win by keeping us competitive, focused and grounded.

The most significant instance we really need to watch out for is when these relationships turn toxic. Knowing when to cut the ties and walk away will be key to not letting it affect your performance during your pageant competition.

Remember, “real queens fix each other’s crowns.” This is the true spirit of pageantry. Focus on that and you can never go wrong!

Which dress do you like better?

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