Jenna Skyy
Jenna Skyy

2017 is soon upon us. I was hoping to be more excited about this next chapter in our history, but alas, I’m left feeling more contemplative and analytical. Not just about the state of our nation, but also about the state of pageantry. The next President of the United States spent more time in 2016 on Twitter than he did on the campaign trail. And he spent much of that time on Twitter and in front of the media proclaiming the system was rigged against him and that he would not accept any result other than his election. He also went to extra length to disqualify his opponents through technicalities and legalities. Following his election, that very sentiment he was so eager to callout, that the system was rigged, disappeared.

I can’t help but find similarities in pageantry. When the results aren’t what a contestant or their team may want, or expect, the public response is not in celebration of the process, the efforts of those involved or the person crowned, it’s scrutiny over their qualification as the winner, the judge’s qualification, and ultimately an implication or direct accusation that the process and the system is rigged against them.

When these contestants return, and in instances win, what makes the system different? Integrity, which is the title of the USofA newsletter, and symbol by which we reign, is needed when choosing to compete. The merits of competing should outweigh “winning” and more effort toward improving ourselves in this craft and the packages we present should take precedent. Being the crowned winner does not mean that those not crowned have lost. Participation alone brings value to the individual. Effort, discipline, ambition…the pursuit…these are qualities of success. Not just a crown. By competing, you have proven successful. Yet, the technicalities or presumptions that many feel, contribute to undesirable results seem to overshadow the very sentiment that IS pageantry, which is to inspire us to continue to pursue excellence and to challenge ourselves in this craft. Participating in the mindset that fairness is nonexistent or lacks integrity proves a lack of understanding of what it means to participate, and a lack of qualification should that top spot be achieved.

These aren’t just concerns that exist in pageantry, they are evident in everything and seem to become more and more ingrained in our culture as a nation.

Miss Gay USofA will be celebrating its 32 nd Anniversary in May. Its history rich in a legacy of leadership, integrity, and excel- lence. But what is to become of Miss Gay USofA if the very peo- ple who join her legacy do so from a place of doubt and scrutiny? I wonder, too, about the legacy of our country and draw comparison to this election because it has proven important to all of us and currently plagues our spirit as a community.

I can’t say what will become of the next presidency, or the next reign. But I do hope that those that enter the race, will do so from a place of effort and integrity, through qualification and preparedness, and embody that spirit throughout. This is what we should celebrate, from all of our contestants. Celebrate the entire top 12, celebrate every contestant…everyone qualified to compete nationally. Celebrate the new girl that was just recruited to compete locally at your city prelim. Celebrate your promotors for sacrificing their time and money to create an avenue toward excellence. Celebrate the winner and celebrate yourself. Let us cel- ebrate our efforts and pursuits. Let this election be a reminder. Love trumps hate. And let that ideal alone be your inspiration.

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