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How It Started vs. How It's Going...

Baby Annika's first real pageant, complete with Ebay dress and french twist

When I first started competing in pageants, I had no idea what my “why” was. It’s funny because I think everyone expects there to be this big, grandiose reason for why I decided to start competing and they’re always a little shocked when I say, “I don’t know”. Looking back on my pageant infancy, I probably would have told you I started because of the crowns, or dresses, or being around friends. Now that I’m seasoned in this community, there are aspects of the competition that hooked me so much more than the simplicity of the sparkle.

I know in previous blogs I’ve mentioned that I’m super competitive (but not athletic); so, pageantry was the perfect environment for me to use that competitiveness but in a situation that was bettering me as a person as well. It also gave me phenomenal people to look up to which is honestly one of the absolute best parts (I still can’t believe I get to be friends with some of these women). When I was starting to compete around fifteen or sixteen, I was in awe of them; I was looking up to them and soon got mentored by them as well. They truly made such a difference in my life in how they were able to make their communities so much better and full transparency, I wanted to be like them.

Now you’d probably think I was looking up to the big dogs, right? The Teresa Scanlan’s, the Alyssa Campanella’s; but I wasn’t. I was so much more focused on the Veronica Rohrmoser’s (Miss Piedmont Region) and the Shannon Beam's (Miss Apple Blossom). Why? They were local titleholders that were alongside me, the people who I admired so much and who were making massive waves in their own communities. They carried themselves well; I wanted