Skip to main content

Throw Back: That one time I competed in a pageant


Once upon a time, what seems like a long time ago I decided I wanted to be a beauty queen. It was definitely an experience I will never forget and I finally have the chance to tell you all about it!

I've always known that I wanted to help people in some way, and one day it dawned on me if I had a crown that would definitely give me a much louder voice to speak on issues I thought were important. So, I went searching for what I thought was the best pageant for me and I landed on Miss Nevada USA 2016. The only thing I knew about pageants at this point was from the Miss Congeniality movie and what I heard about from my cousin's social media pages. So from that, I thought it was going to be a breeze...PSYCH! It was probably the most grueling process of self-discovery I've ever put myself through.

My first step was figuring out how much all of this was going to cost. For me, it was a ridiculous amount that I just wasn't going to be able to make at my day job in time for the pageant. So, I turned to crowdfunding on Go Fund Me and raising money through a local business that I loved, Silver State DJs. I am beyond blessed to have had friends and family that believed that I would do great in this pageant that I was able to raise enough money to cover the bulk of what I needed which was - the entry fee, a gown, interview outfit,  hair, makeup, coaching, headshots and other shoots, shoes, and travel from what I remember. It was a brutal price tag, but I really felt it would all be worth it to hold that coveted crown!


My next step was getting Coaching, I met with my coach as often as I could afford via skype sessions as she talked me through what my interview would be like and how I could make myself look as good as possible on paper before the pageant and my paperwork's due date. This pretty much consisted of going out and being about all of the things that I wanted to use the crown to do more of. She would always ask me something like, "What have you done since the last time we talked that would help you in this pageant." Looking back on it now, I definitely did not put myself out there as strongly as I could have before the pageant to really build up a platform, but that all comes back to the self-confidence I had before even deciding to compete. Once the time to compete got closer, I flew out to physically see my coach so she could teach me how to walk in these INSANE shoes and the difference between an evening gown walk vs the swimsuit walk.

Somewhere in here, there was orientation where we met the director, Shanna Moakler and the Queens who would be passing their crowns down. For me, it was Emelina Adams. I had been youtube re-running the pageant for WEEKS at this point so meeting these two was almost like meeting people I already knew which was really strange. This is also where we got fitted and put in our request for the opening number dress that was sponsored. This is where I got my first taste of the beauty and fashion side of the pageant world. I normally wear a dress size 9 but with all the working out and dieting I was doing I managed to knock it down 2 dress sizes...but the sponsor didn't carry my size. Like, they didn't even MAKE dresses bigger than like a 4. It was insane. And as I stood shocked, I looked to the other contestants to see if they shared my shock but what I got instead was giggles and looks like "oh you thought you could wear this?" It was horrible. They ended up just putting me down for the biggest size they had and figured that I'd work it out.

And then, it was pageant weekend. The first day we did interviews while we learned our opening number routine. All the girls were here, and while I expected the energy would be similar to the dress fittings it was actually a wildly empowering day! Every girl I had the opportunity to interact with was really sweet, incredibly helpful and women that I actually wanted to be friends with and see do well in the pageant. It was an incredibly uplifting experience. Every girl that went to do interviews would come back with tips and talk about what they asked and how they answered in attempts to help the next girl do well...it was absolutely NOTHING like what I expected. No one was low key trying to sabotage the next girl, or kill her confidence or her vibe...everyone was team everyone. It was legit beautiful. I was one of the first few interviewed because my title started with a C, so that took a lot of the pressure off of me for the rest of the day. I have super intense social anxiety, so the interview portion had me really worried! But I shouldn't have been,  the judges were all very kind in the interview and just honestly wanted to get to know me and what I'd use the title for. We also got to pick up the dresses we would be wearing for the opening number. I was horrified it wouldn't fit me, but it did! They either made me a special one or I somehow lost a dress size or two...either way I was grateful I wouldn't be the only one not on stage or in a different dress.

On the day of the stage pageant, everything that could go wrong before actually getting to the event did go wrong. My hair showed up early...and my makeup was late...like hours late. But somehow they managed to crunch together and get me ready and out the door ALMOST on time. And then we had no idea where we were going. We knew we were going to UNLV...but had no idea where the actual building I was supposed to be in was so I was walking up and down in these ridiculous heels carrying a suitcase and an evening gown, not seeing anyone and having no idea where I was supposed to be. To say I was in a panic was an understatement. I eventually figured it out and got there later than everyone else but at least I was there! I was the only one in full hair and makeup that I could tell - but it was worth it to me because I did not have the skills to do my own hair and makeup for this kind of event and you weren't allowed to have anyone in the dressing room with you. We spent all day practicing the opening number and then figuring out our stage placement and getting the timing right. We did prelims and finals on the same evening.

The preliminary round was first and everyone had to buy tickets to both events ahead of time before knowing who would go on to the finals. Everything was so fast pace I didn't even really get to enjoy the moment of having center stage in a building so many amazing performers graced before me. I was still feeling a few body issues, but I threw all that to the side and did my peppiest cute walk down the aisle for my swimsuit, and my slowest most elegant walk for the evening gown. It's so crazy how long and how much I prepared for such a short moment! We got a little bit of time before finals. After the opening number is when they announced the top 10...and I wasn't one of them.

To say I was crushed was an understatement. I felt like complete garbage, and then I was so angry for even thinking I could compete in something like this and then I just wanted to leave out of embarrassment. I went through a full course meal of self-sabotaging emotions before looking around the room and seeing the other girls that didn't get into the top - girls I was SURE would go through. Some of the girls looked even angrier or more disappointed than I felt, and other girls were too busy congratulating the girls that DID go on to even care that they didn't. And then, the teens came in and all rushed over to us asking us questions about how they did and how they walked and what looked better. I immediately got over anything I was feeling about myself and did what I could to help everyone around me still competing. This quick energy change TOTALLY changed my view and how I feel about the pageant system as a whole. Instead of being disappointed in myself, I was able to feel proud of all the girls that got through to the finals and build connections that I hope to keep for years to come.

So, at the end of it all. I did not win Miss Nevada 2016, but I DID win best in Evening Gown! That was an honor I was SURE I wasn't going home with. And I still have the trophy proudly displayed above our bookshelf. I also got to meet a ton of amazing women whose careers and lives I've watched blossom since this pageant. It is honestly an amazing, bittersweet experience that I would not take back. I feel like that might be it for me so for now, I just watch and send love from the bleachers but I'll never forget that one time I went for it myself!

Have you ever competed in a pageant before? Have any questions about my experience? Or, do you have any questions you've been dying to ask a pageant girl? Let me know down in the comments!

Comment - Share - Subscribe

- Nikki

Comments

  1. I loved reading about your experience. I always dreamed of being in a pageant but never had a chance.

    ReplyDelete
  2. YAS! You look amazing! My friend participated in a pageant and it was fun to go and watch her and support. You look great. I bet it was a fun experience

    ReplyDelete
  3. I always wanted to be in at least one pagent. Went to a couple first rounds but never made it to the next. haha

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow. Must be an experience you'll remember for life. Glad you enjoyed it. Are you thinking of joining again though?

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's so bad when you get different size outfit. But hey your overall journey is super. I liked reading detailed of how the emotions are and the rounds that you need to pass through. Good to know that all girls are friendly , that's the best thing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Loved reading about your experience and journey. Very inspirational and will help others who are thinking about doing the same. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. oh what an experience it must have been! I have seen many tv shows or movies featuring these experiences. You look great!

    xx
    lau

    ReplyDelete
  8. What an amazing experience! You are so beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Looks like your overall journey is superb. Good to know more about you.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I really enjoyed reading your experience about that Nevada pageant. One of my favorite movies is also Miss Congeniality. Don’t lose your enthusiasm on what you do.

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a fun experience and does not sound easy at all. good for you for taking it all on and putting yourself out there.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This must have been an amazing and exciting experience. This is awesome. And you look OUTSTANDING.

    ReplyDelete
  13. i am happy to hear about your experience in the pageant. Follow your dreams ! Hope the best for you

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow! Thank you for sharing your experience. It was fascinating. ANd by the way, that evening gown is KILLER!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Even though you didn't win. At least you actually tried and put in the work. I'm sure it was a great experience for you. And the connections you built there will go a long way. Great Article it kept me entertained you are a great writer.

    ReplyDelete
  16. You look beautiful. Such an interesting read

    ReplyDelete
  17. I know many people dont know what being a Pageant Queen entails. This was a good read and thank you for sharing your experience! I definitely have a new and fresh point of view on the subject! :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I don't think I would ever compete in a pageant. Having everyone staring at me while I was on stage was freak me out, but I'm so impressed by the woman who do these all the time. It seems like a lot of work and a lot of expense.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Great throwback! I am happy to know about the activity and your role in it. looks like fantastic experience to remember and share again and again.

    ReplyDelete
  20. That's so cool you were able to win best evening gown. You did end up looking amazing. Sorry you didn't win the whole thing but good you were able to find something you appreciated in everything.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks for sharing this... we see contests like this so often, and now its great to see behind the scenes :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Nikki - I was on edge reading about your experience (how brave of you!) but was also encouraged that you met a lot of amazing, driven women. I love hearing about women supporting women! And congrats on the Evening Gown win!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. You look great in all your outfits!! You have this posture that makes you really stand out as well. Hoping to hear from your next experiences, though, if you wish to pursue more of pageants!! You look amazing!!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thank you so much for your comment. I really appreciate you taking the time to interact with me. I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Popular posts from this blog

The Women of Las Vegas: Frances Urtaza with Angels and Energies

Meet Frances Urtaza


Frances Urtaza is a Las Vegas-based Energist, Alternative Therapy instructor, Nurse and Health Care practitioner of over 20 years. Caring for the communities she's had the opportunity to be a part of has always been a huge driving force in her life. Frances works in the Las Vegas community both in the healthcare field and as an instructor. At times, she even travels to share her knowledge and skills with students across the Mid-west and West Coast. During this difficult time of Social Distancing, she has been using her available time and skills to hold free call-in meditations to help the community take a deep breath, get centered and cope with the stressors we are all facing while raising our vibrations and giving us the tools to keep our households strong.

That's not all! This year, she has launched the Angels And Energies shop on Etsy! She has made it a hobby to share with her local students energized crystals, candles, and handcrafted jewelry aimed to …

My Netflix Obsession: Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker

Since we are all doubling down on social distancing, I am making SURE to do my part by getting my entertainment fix from home by streaming the latest Netflix titles. This week, we streamed Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker. This is the filmmaker's adaption of the life of Madam C.J. Walker, one of America's First Black Women to become a millionaire.


We open this up with a beautiful moment of sisterhood. Sarah (the Madam) had been having an extremely hard time with life, making an income and was under a tremendous amount of stress. Luckily for her, Annie showed up at the perfect moment to help pick her back up. While this is the sisterhood moment we all hope to have when we are at our lowest, this beautiful friendship doesn't turn out to be that fairytale womanhood bond we'd hoped for.


After continuing to be beaten down by what life has thrown her way, the Madam continues to whip up her hair products in her kitchen because she knows that no matter wha…

Earning The Crown - Ms. Nevada Regency International 2020

Winning a state title is a surreal moment. When they put that crown on my head and I did my celebratory walk, all I could think was that I still could NOT believe it. If you would have told me 30 days before, that I would not only be competing in a state pageant but WINNING one, I would not have believed you. Let me tell you how I got here.

A few years ago, I did a little soul searching and found that for me to really be happy I needed to be spending my time in service to my community and making a positive impact on someone else's life even if that just meant an extra smile in their day. I started doing some googling to see what my options were and eventually came upon a state pageant I thought was the right fit for me! So, I went around campaigning and raising funds to get the coaching I needed and compete. Pageant week came around and I lost big time! I wasn't fortunate enough to place in that pageant at all, but I did win Best In Evening Gown so I was really proud of that.…

4 Week Fitness: Week 3

Welcome to week 3! We are at the halfway mark and moving past it with a FORCE! We've got this far and we owe it to ourselves to push through and finish these last 2 weeks. I am already SO PROUD OF US! Now is the time to lock in our rewards. Whether you are coming to party with me in Vegas for the opening of Encore Beach Club or splurging at your favorite local spot for a stay-cation, do it BIG! You have earned it.
This is a mirror of week 1. I think it's important for our bodies to get at least a little comfortable with the movements we are doing so that we can get the most out of these workouts! Last year, we talked about fitness inspiration and the destructive energy I used to attach to fitspo and why I think I never really kept up with a fitness routine. For me, the energy and the attitude that is behind anything I do is HUGE. I am at the point where I chose, if something doesn't vibe right with me, I'm just not doing it. I would DREAD doing the things that didn'…

Beauty Moment: What's In My Makeup Bag

This is a new one for me, but as a state titleholder in the Beauty world, it's about time I get sharing what's going on in my makeup bag. I always love seeing these posts on Youtube and in the Blog-sphere and I got a whole new kit that I've been loving so I figured now is the perfect time to share my first Makeup Bag spill.


This cute bag I probably got from Ipsy and has been holding some of my new additions.


PRIMER: I kind of consider primer as part of my skincare prep routine, but it's in my makeup bag so here we go! I always jump between primers but right now, my go-to is Smashbox The Original Photo Finish Smooth & Blur.



CONCEALER: When I start slipping on my self-care, my skin is the FIRST thing to tell everyone how stressed out I am! Because of that, I've been stockpiling an arsenal of concealer to keep my skin issues on the low. It Cosmetics has the perfect shade to blend with my skin tone in their Bye Bye Under Eye full coverage anti-aging waterproof con…

4 Week Fitness: The Final Week!

This is it, guys! The Final week! We have 7 days, 5 workouts, and  2 rest days left until we are kicking it poolside in our well-earned bikini bodies, or celebrating ourselves in whatever way you deemed rewarding. Our previous weeks have been fun for me, mostly Fitness Marshall dance workouts that really get us moving in the most fun way, but this week we are turning it UP on our muscles.

Here's what's on the Agenda:

DAY 22: Cardio AbsDAY 23: Upper Body FocusDAY 24: MeditationDay 25: Cardio + Lower BodyDAY 26: Cardio HIITDAY 27: COREDAY 28: Meditation I don't know about everyone, but I've already been getting comments on my weight loss and I can actually see a difference which is the biggest motivator EVER to me right now. Whatever we were struggling with the last 3 weeks, do not let it take you out now! We only have 7 days left to be consistent with ourselves, to do something that matters for us, to take the steps we need to be healthier. Our health is the foundation …

My Disney+ Watchlist: November Launch

I love a good streaming service, and Disney has just taken 100% of my viewing time with the launch of its latest service, Disney+! They've got our all-time faves from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and more. I've signed up, and locked in my free trial and am about to grab the popcorn and snuggle up for the long haul! Here's what's first up in my Disney+ watch list.

My first ever Disney+ stream was an easy choice, The Nightmare Before Christmas! My tiny was Jack Skellington for Halloween, and it's the perfect movie for between the seasons. I'm sure we'll put this one back on a few times as it's an all-time favorite.

Next up, we went straight to The Goofy Movie! I have the fondest memories of this from being a kid! I'm pretty sure I had the tape 😂. My tiny was fully ready to jump up and try to do the Power Line/Goofy dance with me. And, he recognized Goofy from the shows he gets to watch now. Such a fun moment.

Then we tuned i…

Vegas Bound: January 2020 Guide

Welcome to 2020! May this year bring you all the things you have set out for yourself. Hopefully, that includes lots of Vegas time. This list does not include everything that is happening here regularly like the Cirque du solei shows, the daily free shows, sights and things like that. I've just got the big and noteworthy things that are here for the moment and all the club events I could stand to type up. If you are planning a vacation or staycation, book your hotel with my team. We keep rates 20%-30% off nationally advertised rates. I also have rates in cities outside of Las Vegas, so check with us for all of your hotel needs.

As of right now, I'm looking at weekend rates of $73 per night+ taxes and fees at the Planet Hollywood for their standard rooms (Ultra Hip King). If a budget is not how you do Vegas, I recommend the Ultra Panorama Suite at $676 per night +taxes and fees. Check the rates for your travel dates, and book with me today.

Here's what we have going on to …

Let's Go Sailing: Cruising With a Toddler

Cruising with Carnival has become a yearly thing for my mom and I, and this year we extended the tradition a generation by bringing my 1-year-old with us. We went for a 4 day, Halloween cruise from Long Beach with 2 stops - Catalina Island and Ensenada, Baja California. Here's a rundown on going on a cruise with a toddler!

First off, we drove from Las Vegas all the way to the Long Beach Terminal so the first leg of our trip was a 4+ hour car ride. I made sure we were fully stocked for the ride over so we wouldn't have to make too many stops and make the ride any longer. Turns out we didn't need anything I packed for the ride because he slept for about 3 1/2 hours and was completely content with his tablet, a juice box, and some cheez-its when he woke up. 🤦🏾‍♀️🤷🏾‍♀️

We decided to check our bags instead of dragging them through the ship because we just knew we wanted to grab some food and explore before going back to the room. That means we had to have everything we cou…