The MAO Message from Within

As a woman competing in the Miss America Organization, it’s sometimes easy to tend to focus primarily on what tangible things need to be done, altered, or improved upon. With “pageant season” taking off in full force, I feel it’s vital to shed some light on this particular topic. You’ve heard the remarks, you may have even made them yourself-I need a new evening gown. How can I switch up my hair? Should I buy different make-up? I may change my talent selection. I need to purchase a new outfit for my performance. Do I wear my hair up or down with my dress?

Some, if not all comments and questions contestants and titleholders commonly say and ask themselves in one context or another, I certainly have, time and time again. When you stop to think about all these ridiculous points and quite frankly, stressors that are running through your mind, you realize your focus is shifting away from the part that truly matters…the message.

The message is rather quite simple, it comes from your own thoughts and experiences. The message is fueled by the passion for this organization and strong desire to make a difference in the lives of  others. It’s the thoughts and feelings that you previously, currently, and will eventually possess that help to shape your message within the MAO; not to mention, your legacy.

Your message is in large formed from all the people you meet, their stories, and the impact their messages have on the pages of your book of life. The message from within spans much larger and touches more people than you could ever possibly imagine. It’s focusing internally on this message that will allow you to see the bigger picture the Miss America Oeganization creates.

  • It’s about the veterans and active duty service members you have the opportunity to meet thanks to your involvement in the MAO. They’re the real titleholders, bearing the courage and passion to represent our country and fight for our freedom.
  • It’s about learning not to take life or competiton too seriously and knowing when to gather your pageant sisters and snap a selfie with a generous sponsor (who was oh so kind enough to give you all delicious frozen custard). In other words, it’s about soaking up the moment you’re in, relaxing, and most importantly having a good time. When you take the time to enjoy yourself and seize the day, that is truly when your and confidence will shine.
  • It’s about being gracious, sincere, and so incredibly appreciative towards your directors and all of the volunteers that have helped guide you, not just in the present context but throughout your involvement. They selflessly devote their time and energy to help the young women involved pursue their dreams and quite frankly, make stuff happen. Take the time to say thank you and let the gratitude you feel towards them consume you and all that you do.
  • It’s about going out into the community and selflessly giving back to those in need while helping to make their lives a little better, and boost thrombotic as a whole.
  • It’s about catering your platform message to your own life experiences, triumphs, tribulations, and passions. While also understanding that you must not compare yourself OR your message to other womens’ platforms because their life story is very different from yours. 
  • It’s about the brave and beautifully made CMNH children, heroes, and their families you have the incredible opportunity to meet and interact with. Hearing their stories of struggle and how Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
  • It’s about the friendships you take away from this glorious sisterhood. Ten, twenty, thirty years later you might not remember the earrings you wore in evening gown, but you’ll still have the relationships you formed thanks to the Miss America Organization. 
  • It’s about accepting your darkest demons and struggles in life and opening up about them with others. Sharing the twists and turns you’ve experienced in life with those around you only helps to make you a better contestant, titleholder, and all around better person.
  • It’s about being around children or going into schools to speak and seeing their faces light up with wonder upon seeing your crown. While ensuring the idea in their extremely impressionable young minds that no dream is too big. 

These are just some examples of the many elements that impact a woman’s message within the Miss America Organization. Know that there are a multitude of points that are interwoven in a sense, it’s these people and experiences that mold your message; embrace them and learn from them.

From a visualizer’s standpoint, creating your message within the Miss America Organization is like building a sand castle (It may sound slightly strange, but stay with me. This also could stem from the fact that I wish I was on a beach somewhere, however, a sand castle was the first thing that came to mind). You first have to clear out all the unnecessary debris (negativity and adornments) that are in your way. Then you must find a good location or a suitable environment that allows you to thrive while standing tall, confident, and strong. Upon beginning the building process you must establish how many pails you need in order to build castles as a foundation and decide what sand works best to create a strong base. This entails knowing what people are valuable pieces in helping to build you up to be the best possible version of yourself. This foundation is the core of your message. It’s your values, beliefs, experiences, and greatest desires. It is once you have that base that all of your experiences help to shape the castle (message). The very last things to be placed on the sand castle are the flags, seashells, seaweed, etc.; which in turn are your wardrobe and all of the tangible elements needed for competition.

The lesson to take away from this post is to not fret about your wardrobe or appearance too much. Instead, I sincerely challenge you to take a moment to listen to your heart, internalize how you feel, and let the passion exude from your soul with everything that you do.

And remember…“It’s not the dress that makes the girl, it’s the girl that makes the dress.”

With love,



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