"It's not a beauty pageant, it's a scholarship program" ~Kathy Morningside
I'm so late getting this blog posted but late is better than never, right? Since moving to New York, I have had the opportunity to become friends with some pretty fabulous people and a large chunk of them were through the Miss New York Organization. Check us out. We're rather good-looking.
This year I had the opportunity to work with Miss Manhattan, Mackenzie Perpich. I can't say enough amazing things about Mackenzie. She's one of those rare people who balances heart, humility, talent, and beauty flawlessly. I must admit that it's also fun that she gives me absolutely no direction with her makeup and lets me do whatever I want, just so long as her brows look fierce.
If you are unfamiliar with the Miss America Organization, I'll give you a brief overview. Young women must qualify through a local preliminary to earn the opportunity to compete at the state level. The winner of the state pageant then progresses on to compete at Miss America, currently being held in Atlantic City, NJ. Contestants compete in five categories: Interview, Onstage Question, Evening Gown, Lifestyle and Fitness, and Talent. This is not a weekend of relaxation!
It takes a lot of confidence to walk onstage in a swimsuit. Just the thought of it makes my heart start to race and my forehead starts to sweat, however, when the girls hit the stage I just can't stop smiling. Knowing how hard each of them has worked to find the healthiest version of themselves is inspiring. Mackenzie will use the rest of her year as Miss Manhattan to speak about her platform, Hope, Health, and Healing, which helps to empower others to overcome eating disorders and move towards a healthy life. Follow her journey at Miss Manhattan 2016.
I also got the chance to reunite with my pal, Jillian Tapper, Miss New York 2014. Jillian has a tendency to drop everything and travel Europe for three months, so we don't get to see each other all that often, but when we do, it's like we've never been apart. She's such an approachable and witty person that she kept us all laughing as she emceed Saturday night's preliminary competition with Miss New York 2013, Amanda Mason.
At the end of the weekend, Camille Sims became the new Miss New York 2016, and she will be competing for Miss America in Atlantic City, NJ this September. One of my favorite things about pageantry is seeing the shock and surprise as one young woman hears her name called and realizes that her life is about to change dramatically, and then seeing the ladies that she's competed against be genuinely happy for her and instantaneously rally around her to show their support.
Be happy and kind to one another. It's important.
Follow me on Instagram @jaiwilsonmakeup for behind the scenes photos of pageants and photo shoots.