Updated: Jul 25, 2020
"You don't fit the pageant mold," "you don't have what it takes," "your talent is too different, "you don't look like a Miss America or Miss Universe...." These are all comments women of color, identity, and any form diversity receive in their DM inboxes and even on their posts for the public to see. I am writing this post in hopes it will all stop!
You have seen it all over the headlines, "The first time Miss America, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, Miss World, and Miss Universe are all Black." History is being made in the pageant world as women of color are representing their titles with grace, dignity, and diversity. History is not being made at just the national level, but also at the state and local level too. With the Miss America Competition this week, I want to give credit to Miss Tennessee and Miss Maine who are the first African American women to hold their state titles. If that doesn't speak out against stereotypes, I don't know what does.
As a little girl who watched EVERY Miss America and Miss USA competitions, I noticed that they lacked one thing. Diversity. I looked myself in the mirror at my black hair, Asian eyes, and tan skin thinking I didn't look like them. I didn't have what it took because I didn't meet the criteria of the "pageant mold." However, I remember seeing Miss California, Crystal Lee place first runner-up and Miss Virginia, Caressa Cameron win Miss America. That was when I knew things were about to change in the world. Now, I have made representing diversity my life's mission through my platform. I want little girls watching the Miss America Competitions just like I did, but this time, I want them to see African Americans, Chinese Americans, Native Americans, Spanish Americans, Christians, Jewish, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Gays, the list goes on win these titles. Having a woman of color or a woman who is diverse in her own way is what the adults, children, teens, and elderly of today need to see. Representation is key, and if we don't see it, we don't know it.
The color of the crown. Why did I title this post that? I guess because I like the diamond silvery glow and shimmer of it. No, it is because the gems of the crown reflect what is around it. My crown does that. To all my titleholders, look at your crown and you will see your color reflect in its rhinestones. Now that reflection is a beautiful, strong, independent, perfectly imperfect woman who has her flaws and still has room to grow, but she is outstanding. You. are. beautiful. Your reflection gives the crown color. Whether you are African American Caucasian; you give that crown it's color. You give the crown a more colorful glow just like you do to the world.
Your color does not hold you back. You hold yourself back, and if you don't make it, try again and try again after that. Don't let yourself be denied opportunities in life because you are diverse. Be persistent and be a change maker. I reach out to parents and anyone who is a leader to accept people for the diverse abilities because in reality: when all the unique abilities of people are combined, true success can be reached!
Overall, the color of the crown can be any color. The crow is not above a woman, she holds it up with her head of education, wits, talents, and passion for service. To my Miss America, my Miss USA, my Miss Teen USA, my Miss World, and my Miss Universe, thank you for being a beacon of hope and showing me that that little Chinese girl in the mirror can achieve anything she wants. Now is the time stand up and speak up. Use your voice!