7 Love Lessons I Learned From Being A Former Beauty Pageant Queen


Want to catch his eye? A sprinkle of glitz and glamour will do.

Lipstick, butt glue and evening gowns. Ah, those were the days of the glitz and glam in the world of beauty pageants. Many former misses, myself included, attribute beauty pageants to professional and personal success. But what about success in other areas of life, like love? Interestingly, the two things aren't that different: beauty pageants and dating both include competing with other women, being your best self, and knowing how to talk to people. So if the two things are so similar, could you learn lessons from one and apply them to the other? Short answer: YES! Here are 7 things I learned about dating all from the world of tiaras and sashes:

1. It's about the total package. In my day (circa 1990 to 2004) the most beautiful girl usually didn't win, the woman who was best all-around did. If a woman had grace, great speaking ability, style, talent, beauty and personality, she would take home the crown. The same is true when it comes to guys—unless a man is weighing one 'area of competition' such as physical beauty higher than others. If that's the case, he's definitely more of a Miss USA judge, which focuses mostly on beauty and sex appeal, versus a Miss America judge, which has a higher emphasis on talent and being a well-rounded woman.

2. Win the interview, win the pageant. It's a long-rumored theory that if a girl has the strongest interview in the group, all of the sudden, the judges will like everything else about her. Meaning, if you win a guy over with your personality, a guy will be more likely to fall in love with everything else you have to offer, too. But beware the dark horse: unsuspected competition. This can be a female best friend or someone who you might never have thought was even his type.

3. Winning Miss Congeniality doesn't hurt: Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of jerks out there who make being nice very difficult in ugly situations. But, in my experience, the moment you get messy, men try to switch the situation around on you even if they're the catalyst (read: confront a guy about not solidifying date plans, and now you're 'crazy'). So while there's no Miss Congeniality Award in real life, picking and choosing your battles goes a long way in relationships.

4. Enhancements help. Wigs, weaves, fake eyelashes are all staples in the pageant world. And I'm here to tell you that they're fine in the dating world, too. Though you'll eventually get to a place where he'll expect to see you au natural, there's nothing wrong with adding extensions, padded bras, wearing Spanx and sprucing yourself up a bit for a first impression. Just a word of advice: don't use packaging tape to hold down your tummy if you're on an actual date or use the infamous 'butt glue' designed to keep your swimsuit in place at an actual beach. Those things are strictly for special events when you'll be going home alone.

5. Confidence is key. Not even the most beautiful of beauty queens is always perfect, but they shine the most when they feel confident. Why? Because confidence wins pageants, and it also keeps you healthy in relationships. A confident woman won't settle for an ugly gown or a man who doesn't treat her well. She will always go for the absolute best.

6. When in doubt, glitz it out: Worried about what to wear on a date? In the pageant world being a little overdressed is always better than being underdressed. Do you want to go to a gala wearing a short dress when everyone else is wearing elegant gowns? No, you don't, which is exactly why I always have at least two ready-to-wear date dresses in my former-pageant-girl closet.

7. Be a good sport:  No one likes a sore loser, whether they've been passed up for a crown or a man. If a gentleman chooses not to date you, don't be an ugly, sore loser. Accept that first runner-up trophy with grace because there's always another pageant (err, man) next week anyway.


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