Beauty is more than skin deep at national competition

From Nov. 21-26,  I competed for the National All American Miss Teen title in Anaheim, California. This pageant is open to girls ages 4-18 and has five different age divisions along with multiple side competitions such as an actress competition, a runway model competition, a talent competition and more. I competed in the pageant’s actress competition along with the main competition.

To qualify for nationals, I earned first runner-up at the state-level National American Miss Louisiana Teen pageant held in this summer in Baton Rouge. There, I competed in the actress competition, where I performed a Domino’s pizza commercial, and in the talent competition, where I performed “All I Could Do Was Cry” by Etta James. I acted out my commercial for the national pageant as well.

Before this, I would have never seen myself competing in a pageant. I used to be shy, and I was going through depression that lasted about four to five years. If I could go back to that time and tell myself that I would be the confident, outgoing girl I am today, I would have looked at myself as if I were crazy.

Being in the National American Miss pageant, I never thought about the girls I competed against as competition. It was definitely nothing like the exaggerated movies as I had anticipated it would be. Everyone there had a positive attitude and made the whole experience something that I would never forget.

Since the pageant program is based on inner beauty as well as poise and presentation, all activities were age-appropriate, and girls under age 12 were not allowed to wear makeup or nail polish. There also is no swimwear competition.

Though I didn’t win the national title, I am glad I got to be there and meet people from all over the country with so much ambition. And though we all were there for the same purpose, every last one of those girls was unique. For example, one contestant told me that bullying was a big problem in her city, so she decided to start an anti -bullying organization with her church group that soon became very popular.

I strongly encourage any girl to try something she enjoys doing, even if someone has discouraged her from doing it.

The National American Miss competition helped me to be more confident in myself and more proud by emphasizing the importance of self-confidence, learning good sportsmanship and setting and achieving personal goals.

Now, I proudly wear my New Orleans banner and will continue to help my city through disaster relief, literacy, homeless programs and many other things as a City Queen.

“God did not give us the spirit of fear; but power, love, and a sound mind” – 2 Timothy 1:7.

Beautiful Lawson is a senior at St. Mary’s Academy in New Orleans. She is an active youth department member at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church where she helps feed and clothe the homeless while performing in TV and stage productions around the city. She studies martial arts and will soon pursue dramatic arts at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida.

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