I recently judged our local Miss Teen New York Pageant held by Nationals, Inc. I had the honor of having the Miss Jr. Pre-Teen and the Miss Pre-Teen Categories and the heavy task of interviewing about 100 wonderful girls between the ages of 7-12. This was not the typical type of contest that you think of with glam makeup and costumes. These were everyday girls from local neighborhoods who were in their first pageant. They didn’t have tons of hair spray and big production numbers but instead, they were judged on interviews, two rounds of questions, and a casual and dressy wear competition. The girls were nice, shy, and sweet and I have a few observations about these wonderful young ladies who will be our future leaders:
- All love Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place, That’s So Raven, SpongeBob, and iCarly
- Almost all love Math, Reading, and/or Social Studies (which is great!)
- All, without exception, love to play with their friends every day
- All wanted to be Models, Artists, Doctors, Lawyers, and Veterinarians
- All wanted to make new friends
- Sadly, several of the girls were “picked on” at school ( Yes, that still happens)
- Many girls said they wanted to find a cure for Cancer and help animals, not too shabby for the 7-12-year-old age group
As I went through the weekend of judging I was looking for a Social Media angle and I really didn’t find one. The parents were busy handling multiple children and schedules and were not sending live Tweets during the interviews. The Dads were not taking pictures and uploading them to their kid’s Facebook Fan Page. The parents were everyday people just trying to get by and find opportunities for their girls. I was glad that the old fashion media of television provided safe entertainment and good strong girl teen role models.
At the end of the long weekend when the girls in my two categories were named winners they confidently walked to center stage to claim their beautiful crown and flowers and then each broke down and cried. I cried too.