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National American Miss Pageant - Our Princess Experience

Not what I expected - and I’m glad!

By Hope MartinPublished 12 months ago 7 min read
My personal princess with my king ❤️

I have mentioned before that I have stereotyped pageant life. I thought it to be stressful, and I’d have to watch for bullying towards my kid. I thought I would see parents drilling their daughters in perfection, or giving the stink eye to other contestants. I thought I would see girls with fake smiles plastered on their faces but misery in their eyes. I thought I would feel insecure (because I’m a chunky woman) in a sea of beautiful pageant moms dressed in brand names.

And I’ve never, ever, ever been so happy to be wrong about something. I mean, let me be clear if I had chose to put Aylaina Sky into any other pageant, it very well could have matched my fear. But National American Miss was nothing like the horrors we hear or see.

In the article I linked above, I tell you guys why I chose to give NAM a try. I just want to go into detail about our experience- because I want other moms or girls who are interested in pageantry to know about NAM, to choose them, so they can have the same kind of experience we did.

When we got to the 2023 Tennessee/Kentucky States finals at the Marriott Hotel in Franklin, Tn, I was so nervous. Aylaina Sky, being 4 years old and impervious to insecurity yet was nothing but energy and enthusiasm. My fiancé had taken the weekend off so he could escort her during the formal contest (Best. Dad. Ever.) so thankfully he was able to help me sail through this giant fancy hotel with ease, and get us into the room so we could settle in.

Orientation and check was first that day, welcomes and reminders, announcements and rehearsal times. Questions and answers. Check in was interactive and we went to different stations to hand in our emcees cards and her number badge.

That night, she already had a rehearsal. State finals are crammed into a weekend, and with 6 different age divisions staggered between two ballrooms for rehearsal and competitions, everything was carefully scheduled. I’ll be honest, it was a very busy weekend.

Rehearsals were honestly so much fun. The time before she got to play with the other girls her age, and make friends. The instructors and staff were so kind and patient with each girl. Some of the emcees were the older queens, such as Teen and Miss, and these girls were AMAZING.

That night during casual wear rehearsal, a couple of the state Teen Queens were the emcee and in charge of rehearsal. There was one in particular who was the main emcee and she looked like Princess Jasmine- and naturally Sky wanted to follow her around like a puppy.

Princess Jasmine (not her real name but I am respecting her privacy) was so good. The first night was the pajama party - so everyone showed up in their pajamas, and crowns of course. She helped the girls understand the walking routine of the casual wear contest and actress contests.

Pageant life, I’ll be honest is expensive. We were only able to fundraiser enough to cover our costs and one optional contest this time, which I think is plenty for a 4 year old. We went with a “Back to School” theme for her casual modeling outfit. Sky was so shy the first time in rehearsal, going up in front of everyone and practicing a walk on stage that she could do to show off her outfit.

What impressed me was princess Jasmine, in her crown and M&M pajamas, held my daughters hand, and walked with her, encouraging her to twirl, and pose. Sky was absolutely enthralled, she relaxed and started to have fun.

The casual wear contest was the next day- and we found out during the finale that she won first place in it.

The next day was busy. Dad had to get a haircut, we had to go get her some last minute things. There was also dance practice for their group opening dance number, and practice for personal introduction. I had to do her hair for casual modeling contest, and then immediately after we did that we had to rush back to the room to get ready for her formal competition and personal introduction.

By the end of the day I was a total exhausted wreck. And I had never seen Sky fall asleep so fast.

The highlights of this day was dance practice and personal introduction rehearsal. Dance practice and getting to see them all learn the dance together was absolutely delightful. The choreographer was sweet, and patient and very good with the large group of 4, 5, and 6-year-olds.

We aren’t really supposed to record them during rehearsals, but none of the staff enforced that rule. So we fell in line with all the other parents recording the girls learning their dance.

All the parents during this time were clapping and cheering, and giggling with other parents at the cuteness overload. But it was during personal introduction when I finally clicked in with the other parents.

Personal introduction during the NAM pageant is one of the scarier competitions for the younger girls. It’s right after formal, where they had their friend or relative escort them on and off stage after showing off their dress a little. They go up on stage by themselves, take the microphone from the reigning Queen and give a little speech about themselves. Their name, their hometown, and an interesting fact. No less.

Sky, naturally for nervous but she still did good. But one girl was too afraid. She refused to come out on stage during rehearsal. She was shy, and terrified. Well- I couldn’t help myself. Sky was sitting next to me, Chris on the other side and I wanted to use this moment to teach Sky how to be a good teammate/competitor. We were in the front, and the little girls mom was trying to coax her out on stage. So I said loudly: “You can do it! You can do it!”

Naturally my daughter who copies everything I do joined in, and then all of a sudden the whole room was chanting with me. Moms and dads, even the staff were chanting with us. And the little girl shot came out on stage smiling, and we all fell silent in unison. She took the Microphone and NAILED that introduction with a few stirrers and I swear it was like we all had watched or favorite player on our favorite team hit a winning score because the room went WILD! We were all clapping and cheering and shouting and the little girl ran back to her search face red as a tomatoe. Her mom followed, tears in her eyes and smiling, thanking everyone as she went past.

There were also at least one disabled wheelbound girl in every division. When ours went up there to give her introduction, she also got a outstanding ovation.

It was actually really freaking magical.

Look at her walk like a lady 😭 #proudmama

And after that, it was like the tension inside me broke. These were all normal parents- actually I take that back. These were all fantastic awesome parents. Every single person who was with a NAM princess was supportive of their kid, and encouraged them - there wasn’t a single person who acted like a pageantzilla. The girls were all happy, and they squealed with laughter as they chased each other around and played - even in their pretty outfits.

It was awesome talking to the other moms. And through the weekend, she got to make friends. She nailed her formal introduction, and by the report card apparently she won over the judges in her personal interviews.

During the finale, every girl got to win something. They all went home with state finalist trophies. The girl in the wheelchair in our division won spirit of pageantry and miss personality - and the room went wild when her mom wheeled her up there to get her awards.

Sky won 4th runner-up for Queen in her division, first place in the casual wear contest, and 1st runner up for the art contest she entered. She qualifies for nationals- which are in Orlando, Florida on thanksgiving week…

Looks like I’ll need to write a lot of articles between now and November as all of my Vocal earnings will be going to that… hopefully we can fundraise properly this time.

We’ll need another formal gown, and casual wear outfit. Hotel costs and activity costs. Pageantry life isn’t cheap, so fundraising is a must. But that’s really the only downside. If she wins anything at nationals she has opportunity to modeling jobs, a future scholarship to college, and fun travel opportunities as well as represent Tennessee in all kinds of important events.

I want that for her. She has a very beautiful spirit, and she’s strong willed. I think NAM is going to guide her in the right direction, and perhaps help teach her to be a good leader that might lead to positive change in the future.

So here’s the part where I grovel… just kidding!

But since we are fundraising and all of my vocal earnings between now and nationals will be used for it - you can tip this article!

You will be listed as a sponsor in her nationals yearbook - and businesses get a tax-break receipt! So there’s that!

I feel a little shameless lol. But for my babies, I would do anything. I also am able to refer your daughters for NAM too if you’re in the United States.. I strongly encourage you to read my other article on why I chose name (linked at beginning of article) and if it sounds like something your daughter will enjoy experiencing - fill out this referral form on the NAM website and put down Aylaina Sky Martin as the one who referred you.

Love you all! Thank you so much!

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About the Creator

Hope Martin

Find my fictional fantasy book "Memoirs of the In-Between" on Amazon in paperback, eBook, and hardback.

You can also find it in the Apple Store or on the Campfire Reading app.

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Comments (2)

  • Kayleigh Fraser ✨12 months ago

    This is a fascinating insight into the Pageant world!

  • Valentina Savage12 months ago

    good job

Hope MartinWritten by Hope Martin

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