Why I decided to take on a directorship… while still competing…
April 28, 2021
I’m so glad you asked btw! For those of you who may not know me personally and my pageant journey thus far, I have competed in Illinois for the last 10 or so years in quite a few systems. However, I was only competing and never winning. Placed in a few but never the victor! Alas! She persisted by way of appointment and low numbers (admittedly) towards my goal of winning a national competition. It was on the way to my third try at a national competition representing Illinois where I knew I wanted to prepare my exit plan.
For those that don’t know, when you are an inventor or a small business owner, one strategy for success and wealth building is to create your product or service with the hopes of someone with millions of coins laying around will come through and scoop your little business up and take over the business side (adminsitrations, distribution, marketing etc) meanwhile you are taking off somewhere in a bikini sipping on a martini. This is called an exit plan.
When it came to my pageant journey, my exit plan was to always take on a leadership role in this space. Although I do love being on stage and being the center of attention (also admittedly), I knew my days of being a Miss were literally limited by how many systems decided they wanted to entertain the idea of having a woman reaching her thirties wearing their crown for fear she’s lost her youthfulness (We’ll talk ageism later). With this exit plan in the back of my mind, I entered my pageant season with intention of preparing to retire as a contestant sooner than later.
So what did I do?
Learn. An old Proverb says you are only a piece of information away from being a millionaire. There’s something you don’t know that you don’t know that is the missing key to why you are not financially sustainable. Whether it’s learning how to flip retail, learning the tax code to your advantage, learning another position with higher pay is hiring or even learning such a position exists, learning how to save correctly or learning which method of saving is best for you, or simply learning a new skill or service which you could sell for $100 to 1,000 people. I hope the math is mathing.
So what did I learn?
Great question. Here’s the answer: everything. Well okay, I’ll be more specific: everything about pageant directing. I went into my future competitions with the mindset of watching and paying attention to how the pageant director ran the show and preceding pageant week. I took inventory over how I, as a contestant, was experiencing this particular competition. Imagine it like being the private I or the mole. I payed attention to what kind of events we, as contestants, participated in. Did it interfere with out rehearsal time, was it a necessary appearance when we don’t have an opening number down yet?, what kind of food did we eat? did the pageant supply food or did I have to? How much did I pay to enter this competition and do I feel like I am receiving my money’s worth? <- That last one is a biggie for me! Especially because I self-fund majority of my pageant endeavors.
With this information, I began to figure out how I want to run my own competition when the time came to be a director. Often time I feel like most directors weren’t “serious” competitors or even competed at all, so they have a hard time creating a pageant environment during pageant week that is suitable in optimal performances from their contestants. There’s been a few competitions I been in where we were tossed and turn making appearances, sitting in rehearsals, confused in rehearsals, laying around backstage or redoing this Britney Spears live at the Grammy’s opening number a million times to perfection that by the time finals night rolled around I could barely keep my eyes open and my poor toes were bleeding.
So I always knew I was going to do something different come my time.
Unfortunately, when I won the title of Miss Illinois Earth USA back in April 2019. My director announced she was retiring from directing to focus on being the next big couture gown designer. Well okayyyy so where does that leave me and my teen? Solo. She was there up until nationals when I needed her however, she quickly left for her home country with her hubby and is now hustling out gowns and somewhere on the beach. Due to her absence I had to self navigate my own reign. Nothing unfamiliar seeing as I was already appointed a state title twice before.
Fast forward two years: like how most things happen in life, I was scrolling on Facebook and saw a post that officially changed my life. It was none other than Laura Clark, the Miss Earth USA national director, posting that she is specifically looking for a director for Illinois. So I did what anyone else who was thirsty to transition from being a competitor to the other side would do.
I kept scrolling.
With the vacancy in directorship in a big ass state like Illinois, I knew someone else would step up. There’s a ton of people in the industry here and I’m too young to be a director right now. But then I saw the post again. “Now Hiring for Regional Coordinators.”
How many times am I going to pass up this opportunity?
A sales technique is that a person it takes a person seeing something seven times before they decide to either buy it or do whatever the call to action is seeking from them.
However I’m different. The minute I see something I want I begin to jump on the idea and do my research. It’s actually a really bad ADHD trait or mine and often leads to my taking on too many tasks but when I see something I begin to instantly either consider doing it or sign up. I obsess and think about my life doing that role and really weigh the pros and cons and trust my inner self. If I don’t feel any negative self-inventory about such a task then after talking it out to someone close to me or thinking it our through a 3 mile walk, I decide if I am going to dive in or not. I felt no negative outcomes from taking on this directorship whatsoever. My intuition said go for it and so I did.
I DM Laura and not only did I become the first African-American woman to wear the Miss Illinois Earth crown, I also became the first African-American woman to be the State Director for Miss Illinois Earth USA and for the first time I get to crown a Mrs. and a few Junior Ambassadors!