Like everyone else I’ve gone through phases where I’ve had some pretty low self-esteem. Listen to me, I said everyone but I didn’t mean YOU Colleen. Of course not. You NEVER have self-esteem issues. You’re always confident and secure and your life is just one torn down stop sign after another.
Anyway, low self-esteem. It’s not a problem in my 30s because by now I’ve quit caring about things but in my 20s it seemed constant, and living with a pageant princess whose presence reminded me that I never quite grew out of my tomboy phase did not help. While she sat in the living room reading Vogue, I sat in my room playing Resident Evil. She spent every morning curling her hair, I spent every morning sleeping in as long as possible. She spent her money on clothes and accessories, I spent my money on, oh I don’t know, rent, bills and food. Look, the point is we were polar opposites – so calm down, Colleen, I’ve made sure to let my tens of readers know that we couldn’t be more different than if I wasn’t human at all.
Coincidentally that’s the exact look you get from pageant queens when you’ve decided you’re going to infiltrate their world and try to become one. How do I know? Because in an attempt to tap into my girly side and boost my self-esteem I decided to enter a pageant. No, seriously. Don’t worry Colleen, I made sure it wasn’t any pageant you had previously or were at that time competing in. God grow up.
The only thing I knew about pageants was what I had gathered from the Miss America and Miss USA pageants: bathing suit, fancy dress, try not to sound like an idiot but make sure you keep grinning like one. How hard could it be? The answer is ‘extremely’ when you’ve never done a pageant and lack any sort of pageantry etiquette. What’s worse, Toddlers and Tiaras wasn’t even a show yet so I had zero guidance. Yeah, because I wasn’t about to ask you Colleen. You who laughed at me when I asked what you thought of my birthday outfit, which consisted of a long flow-y shirt that looked like a strapless brown paper sack, extreme boot-cut jeans, and clear, thick high heels.
These also happen to be the heels I bought for the pageant. I don’t walk in heels very often so I figured I should get a thick heel so I wouldn’t embarrass myself on stage. I’m a planner. I also bought the heels before I even had a pageant lined up to compete in because when I saw them I thought they were perfect pageant shoes and I didn’t want anyone else to buy them.
On the left is what the top of the shoes looked like and on the right is what the heel looked like.
Clearly there was no threat.
Anyway, now that I had the shoes it was time to find a pageant, which turned out to be surprisingly easy. There are pageants everywhere. EVERYWHERE. So many in fact that there’s no reason why every woman in the country shouldn’t have a pageant title of some sort. The pageant I picked was the Miss Texas Latina pageant which was to be hosted in my home town where I was conveniently spending my summer home from school. So I called the pageant director to sign up and her first question was “what city are you representing?” I thought “shit” but responded with “ummmm”. She then asked where I lived and I let her know that while I was home for the summer my full time residence was in San Antonio. Then she said “perfect, that title is still available if you want it.” “Is there anything I need to do for it?” I asked. There was: stop by her house, pay her a $50 deposit and boom, I was officially Miss San Antonio Latina. I even got a sash AND crown. That’s right Colleen, I’m on to you. Now I know how you got all those bullshit titles. I just got on your level. How do you like it?!
Fuck yeah! I was now an official title holder. But more like unofficial because big, legit pageants don’t work that way. The realization that I had just bought my beauty queen status set in, along with embarrassment, the exact opposite of what I was trying to achieve. There was no way in hell I was going to tell people how I got this title – 1) because the first response would’ve been “that explains it”, and 2) I wasn’t in the mood for people’s jokes, even though they probably would’ve been good. (I was very unappreciative in my younger years) Whenever the topic of my title came up I would tell people that the winner was decided by a lengthy interview process and I beat out a few other girls. I don’t think anyone believed me but they rewarded my effort by not saying anything. Coincidentally what did you tell people, Colleen? It better not have been that you won those titles to compete in those BS state pageants because now you know that I know the truth.
Now that I had my title it was time to start getting ready for the pageant – something I had no idea how to do and less than a month to figure out. Fortunately my first duty as pretend Miss San Antonio Latina was to attend another pretend pageant with bullshit titles. I figured at the very least I would get some sort of direction, which is actually something I needed prior to attending this event. My instructions on attending this event were to show up and represent my title; the only thing I knew about “representing a title” was from what I’d seen on TV when old Miss America would crown new Miss America. Ssssooooo, I showed up to this pageant wearing the only dress that I had: a long, spaghetti strap maroon dress that had previously served as my maid-of-honor dress for my best friends wedding.
The original dress was just a tad lighter shade of maroon but basically this was it. I mean, seriously, somebody douse me with a bucket of pigs blood.
I paired that with my clear hooker heels and topped it off with my sash AND crown. Whatcha think of me now Colleen? I’m a mother fucking pageant queen!
At least I was until I walked into the venue. Every other fake title holder was wearing a cute sundress or some other variation of casual, and NO ONE was wearing their crown. I looked like a fucking parody. Slap some zombie make-up on me and I would’ve been wearing a great Halloween costume. BTW, this was also the dress I was going to wear during the evening gown portion of the pageant. Yeah. I stayed until the first intermission and then got the hell out of there. One could argue that I should’ve stayed to help boost my self-confidence, and that person would be Colleen because she would’ve gotten a kick out of the whole ordeal.
The following week my pageant career ended… sort of. I dropped out of the pageant but I’d paid $50 for that fake title and I was going to get my money’s worth. That stupid sash and crown was on display in my apartment, and then in my bedroom of the house I shared with my cousin and her boyfriend. And any time I applied for a job, under the section ‘Special Awards or Accomplishments’ I would write that I was the reigning Miss San Antonio Latina. I sure fucking did. Don’t act like your fake titles aren’t listed on your resumé Colleen! I’ve seen your LinkedIn.
I only recently threw away the crown because it made me feel like a hoarder, although I did make sure to get a picture before it went in the garbage. I did, however, keep the sash, partly as a reminder to always do my own thing, but also as proof that we can all be beauty queens, Colleen!