I have been asked by many about to my thoughts regarding the Miss USA controversies brought up by recently-resigned-Miss Pennsylvania USA (learn more) but I’ve been struggling to find the right use of my words and the best way to make this conversation productive. Along with thinking about this recent event I additionally encountered an experience that has helped me connect the Miss USA controversy to the concept of storytelling and the stories that define us as individuals.
What I’ve learned by a series of personal experiences is that I find it incredibly heartbreaking when other people narrate a story that is not their own. In this case a story of dishonesty is influencing the opinion of the Miss USA pageant and our new Miss
USA. My story regarding this event stands
in a neutral place and I share this solely as my side of the story and thus it
should not reflect any other characters involved. On one side I can completely
understand why Miss Pennsylvania USA would be frustrated and hurt. As women we
give so much of ourselves (including subjecting ourselves to vulnerability and judgment)
to have a voice and to feel important in a big world. We can feel so quickly
demolished when we don’t get what we think we want and when we feel powerless
in these situations. I would want Miss Pennsylvania USA and all former Miss USA contestants to understand the power of their
voice and role in the realm of female leadership regardless of their success at
I would also want women to recognize that while Miss USA is a platform for serving
others it is also a production, and to exist it must generate revenue like
every production and source of entertainment. Anything that generates revenue cannot
be expected to be flawless given the high number of variables and the
complexity of human expression and desire. When going into such a high profile experience
we have to recognize that the Miss Universe system is neither perfect nor
transparent. Stepping back, if I had the opinion that the Miss USA pageant was “rigged”
would that have changed my decision to compete? Absolutely not, I would have
still competed and I bet Miss Pennsylvania USA would have too.
Regardless of its flaws the Miss Universe Organization enables and empowers so many women all over the country to do great things and become strong leaders. I would hate for the organization to ever lose that credibility. The new Miss
should be celebrated and honored and positioned to be the strong female role
model that we all admire. She certainly didn’t have anything to do with
“fixing” the ultimate outcomes of the event yet her time as a leader is being
held back due to this controversy. With all of that said I hope we can move
past this mild blemish and focus on all of the good that the Miss Universe Organization
& Miss USA
titleholders and state titleholders bring. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it
again- I would never be the woman I am now had it not been for the experiences
I had as a titleholder within the Miss Universe Organization.
It’s up to us to tell our own stories. There will be many characters and voices that carry and influence it but at the end of the day your story is most powerful in your hands. Those same hands are the only ones that mold and create it. By letting someone else’s story of you define and dictate who you are then you neglect what your story should be and forfeit your own power and voice. What’s your story? It’s being created this very instance. Own it, live it and tell it for yourself.
write & revise-