*Originally written for the Miss California Blog – edited for relevance.*
I wrote this article right after I won Miss San Diego and was feeling a little “meh” about it. This was originally written to encourage my fellow titleholders but I hope this post encourages you to stand tall on whatever “stage” you inhabit. You are a special, one-of-a-kind, beautiful person and maybe this is the little note to remind you of that. – Diamond
As a brand new titleholder, I was immediately bombarded with a lot of information, well wishes, and responsibilities. Add that on top of leaving home 3 days after winning to finish my last semester of college in a different state. I’m sure you can imagine how exciting, surreal and overwhelming it all was. It’s not that it wasn’t fun; it just felt like a lot to know about and respond to at once. This is my first MAO title so I had no idea what the contestant portal was or what my “crash” was 😉 I’m your typical STEM student who knew more about bacteriophages than butt glue!
Feeling as if I had two polar opposite sides to my personality created this split in my heart. I felt like I had to prove to my friends and family that I hadn’t changed and become a self-absorbed princess overnight as movies and television like to portray pageant winners. I wanted to show them I’m still the same nerdy Diamond who likes sci-fi novels and graphic design! But as a role model and representative for all of San Diego County, I felt like I needed to prove I was the perfect winner, who posted great selfies and was a seasoned pro (even though I’m not). It isn’t that anyone put these pressures on me – it was what I perceived people would want from me.
Well this stress only lasted about two weeks before I talked to my mom about it (aren’t moms awesome?!) and she gave me a great pep talk about Just. Being. Me. She said, “Just be Diamond. They chose you as their winner for a reason. You showed your true personality in that interview and that’s what they liked.” That helped me so much because it reminded me that no one is asking me to be different than I already am. The “Diamond” in interview mode is the same “Diamond” in student mode – she just talks about different things. And looks a whole lot nicer for interview than for class!
I share this story to encourage you. Who you are is good enough. You are truly special, unique, gifted, intelligent, and graceful. You might be quirky or composed; goofy, or sarcastic. That is awesome! And I mean it because you have to be proud of yourself and be your own cheerleader sometimes. When we’re proud of who we are, it naturally shines on the outside. And it’s that very glow that the children who want to wear our crowns, the organizations that ask us to speak, and the judges that decide our next step in this journey notice and fall in love with. You GLOW girl!
The next morning after talking to my mom, I made a cup of tea and the message on the bag said “Be proud of who you are.” It was like God winking at me. I know that both my Miss San Diego and real families are so so proud of me and wouldn’t want me to change. I don’t want me to change either.
There will always be pressure in life – external and internal – that we have to push past. It can feel all-encompassing until we realize that we are stronger than anything that tries keep us down. We keep pushing through until the fear and self-consciousness is simply a blip in our past. I hope you remember how amazing you are today and walk with your crown on, shoulders back, and smile shining brightly!