What the Miss America System Did for Me

Confidence for this Shy Girl– SimplySunni

As a shy little girl of 17 years, you never would have expected to see me on the television in the 1988 Miss Florida Scholarship Pageant; but I was. The benefits to those days have carried me throughout my years with a confidence I never would have known if not for the pageant world.

Starting at the beginning, I was bullied in middle school by a group of girls so much so that I went up during lunch and washed the teachers chalkboards every day at recess, so I did not have to be in contact with them. Then I went to high school and something changed. Although I was still a shy and quiet girl in class, I had music classes where I could be loud and express myself. The acceptance of one music teacher pulled me up and out into the front. I became the main the soloist for the school and my church.

The stage and microphone were my cloak and dagger for facing the world. When onstage I could be anyone and I felt alive! I was accepted and loved as long as I was singing. I landed a couple of singing gigs on TV which gave me credit with my peers, and one more boost of confidence.

My aunt was the one who suggested I try a local pageant. At the time I refused, but she was persistent. Entering the room, I was terrified, but the rest is history. I thoroughly enjoyed having girl friends and camaraderie in the practice room, at least. This was something I could do, and do well.

Winning my local pageant, I went on to the state level competition. In the months preceding the event, the local team of volunteers coached me to be the best I could be. This is where I learned valuable skills like interview techniques, etiquette, how to discuss politics, how to carry myself confidently, cosmetic application, self care routines, exercise routines and so much more.

That year, I placed top ten in the Miss Florida pageant as the youngest contestant on the stage. From there, I interviewed for college and had the confidence to chase my dreams. Without the scholarship monies I was awarded, I would never have been able to afford college. There’s so much more I could say about the experience, but that would be too long of an article. I do want to say, the love and support of the community of volunteers is something I have not experienced since. I love them all to this day.

2 thoughts on “What the Miss America System Did for Me

  1. So proud of you! I was lucky enough to meet you during your high school years when you belted that beautiful voice of yours while visiting my home church with your youth choir. Such a beautiful soul inside and out!

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