Ok, I wasn't "in" the beauty pageant, LOL, but I worked for one day at one. Turns out they were short one judge and so they asked me to judge! I quickly had to read all of the guidelines on "Beauty" "Theme" "Photogenic" "Talent" "Outfit of Choice", Natural vs.Glitz and where points should be deducted for not meeting criteria.
In other words, this mother of three boys was on a different planet. The seats were all filled with moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandmothers, etc. all helping with costume changes, make-up, clip-on air and false eyelashes. Miss Cinderella Teen was on hand to give out the awards.
There were 3 judges all together and we in the end had to pick the winners in five categories. It was a daunting task. If I am looking at it from a practical side, out of about 20 girls there were two or three that really stood out. But it warmed my heart in ways that I did not expect to hear during their interviews what their personal stories were. Since pageants are typically a Southern event, (in fact these organizers are from North Carolina and this was the farthest North they have come) there were girls there from all over.
One 12 year old girl was from upstate New York and her grandmother told her if she could find a pageant she would take her and she did. It was her first one. She wasn't the best dancer and her routine wasn't all that sophisticated, but she was very graceful and elegant. And when it came time for the Judge's Choice Awards, we gave her the award for "Poise". Another 16 year old girl just helped her mom through back surgery and has an 11 year old austitic brother. She told us how she helps take care of him and the other day she was eating an apple and he said he wanted one and he grabbed an onion and started eating it. She said "I help with that kind of stuff". I got a little teary. So she loves her pageants and only watches "Say Yes To The Dress" and all things on TLC channel...so there's no judgement from me.
That's the heartwarming stuff. This was the back of a mini-van STUFFED with wigs, costumes, props, etc. Oh yes, there was plenty of the questionable side, too. Babies not two months old trussed up like dolls "competing" by having their mothers walk around with them on stage. "Who am I judging?"...I kept thinking?
The five year old who has been groomed since she was an infant for this job. During the interview process she's pointing at her palm saying "show me the money, judges, give me the best scores, I'll love you forever" and blowing us kisses and making heart gestures with her hands. One three year old's parents made a motorcycle prop on wheels with a ring of fire that they pushed her through. (It was a Carnival theme!).
So how far away from Honey Boo-Boo was this pageant on a Saturday in Massachusetts? Not far at all. I chalk it up to a new experience. And for that I'd give it an 18.9 (with 20 being the highest score, ladies).