Every pageant girl has a story. Each pageant girl has a why. That’s what brought us to pageantry in the first place.
For some, pageantry is an outlet to express themselves and celebrate their talents. For others, it is a place to grow their confidence and find who they are.
For Andromeda Peters, Miss Delaware United States 2017, learning to love herself was key to getting out of a tough situation and winning three pageants.
“I have been asked the final question, ‘What advice would you give to a girl competing in pageants for the first time?’” Peters said. “My answer is always this, ‘to love yourself.’”
Why self-love is important
Each pageant girl often has a platform that was brought to her by a significant event in her life. (Read: Miss Delaware Contestant Uses Painful Past as Platform)
“Less than 10 years ago, I was homeless,” Peters said. “… Although what I went through was difficult, I was still able to see my many blessings throughout this experience. From sleeping in my car to couch surfing to sleeping in my best friend’s basement, I have come a long way and I feel so thankful for the blessings I have received.”
College is supposed to be a carefree and fun time in the life of a young adult. Some girls are entering the heart of their pageant careers and others are just beginning to take the stage. But not every girl has the ideal college experience. (Read: 10 Reasons Pageantry Should Be Part of Your Post-College Life)
“My living conditions were the most difficult when in was in college…no one outside of my closest friends knew,” Peters said. “I was a regular student and a regular girl! I had my car, which I worked hard for, but my trunk was filled with my personal belongings and clothing.
I had my internships, I worked, I was an AmeriCorps member, I traveled on mission trips after raising the money to do so, got straight A’s, played sports, minored in Theatre, I was the co-captain of my college dance team and had fun with friends. Little did people know, I had nowhere to go, and I didn’t always know where my next meal was coming from.”
All too often, our public smiles and personalities overshadow what is going on in our personal lives.
“When people found out, they’d say, ‘But you’re always so positive,’” Peters said. “My reply was, ‘I may not have a choice in my living conditions right now, but I have a choice in my attitude and outlook on life.”
Learning to love yourself
Putting ourselves first is a difficult choice to make. It seems selfish and as pageant contestants and women in general, we are often taught to put others before us in a life of service.
But you can’t water the plants around you with an empty watering can.
“I knew even then that self-love and self-care needed to be prioritized so that I could be my best me,” Peters said. “Once I graduated from grad school, I began working in the mental health field, helping others to heal their emotional bodies.”
They say those that can, do and those that can’t, teach. But those that teach, often become those who can – and do so admirably.
Peters said, “…I began to heal myself, and that’s when I discovered my love of pageantry. “
How to love yourself
Peters has competed for three years and she works as a mentor through her non-profit, A.P.P.L.Y
“…Most of my preparation lies in practicing positive affirmations and meditation,” she said. “It was through my overcoming of adversity in my young life that I understood the power of a positive mind and the importance of self-love.”
Now giving back as a mentor, mentoring played an important role in getting into pageants as it was her mentor who encouraged her to try. (Read: Why Sisterhood is Important in Pageantry and How to Create It)
“My first year was a fun process,” Peters said. “I trained, leading a healthier lifestyle I have always had this passion [for], but when I was homeless, I ate what I could. I have always been a talker, but I loved working on interview, and enjoyed stage work!”
Like anyone new to pageantry, there is the one area that trips us up.
“When I got to interview, I froze,” said Peters. “I had completely neglected my inner work and my confidence. Yet each pageant got better.”
Practice makes perfect and it isn’t always about the physical prep. (Read: Pageant Preparation Timeline)
“I learned to embrace me for me, and learned to celebrate my sister queens around me as well as myself,” said Peters.
Attitude is everything. No matter how many you win or how many you lose, how you win and how you lose speaks higher of your character than any judge’s score.
“With this said, I do not view pageants as a competition against anyone, but against who I once was and who I strive to be,” Peters said. “The next thing you know, I won three state titles and one local. I am heading to Miss United States to go after the job of my dreams, and rather than feeling nervous, I feel so excited!”
How self-love helps you win
When you are confident in who you are, you walk into the interview room and onto the stage without reservations. The judges can tell when a contestant is holding back, and it doesn’t express confidence in her ability to be a successful titleholder. (Read: How To Stay Confident During Pageant Weekend)
“Once I took the time to connect more with my inner self, I was able to fall in love with who I am; to fall in love with my soul,” Peters said. “This is how I am able to let people in. I love the skin that I’m in and I encourage girls and women alike, to do the same. Only when you love yourself, will you see the results of that before you. Your own radiance will radiate to others.”
Miss United States Pageant
Miss United States takes place in Orlando, Florida, July 2-9 at the Omni Resort. Peters will be competing. To keep up with her journey to the crown, you can follow her on social media at:
Instagram: @realmissdeus, @andromedapeters
Like my Facebook Page: Miss Delaware United States
Interested in competing for a United States title? Visit its website at www.unitedstatesnationalpageants.com. There are multiple divisions available.
If you live in Delaware or Maryland, you can contact Executive State Director Teri Brown-Walker at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org directly.
Pageant girl or not, loving yourself is the most important thing you can do for yourself and those around you. Remember the children’s book, The Giving Tree? The tree gave herself to the boy until she no longer had anything else to give and was no longer herself.
Never lose sight of who you are; you are your greatest asset no matter what competition you are up against.
So, go give yourself a hug and take on the world.