I still remember watching Toddlers and Tiaras when I was little. I would sit there, amazed by the “pageant moms” and the drama that unfolded on my television screen. It was a new world to me – the makeup, the dresses, the hair… all of it was so foreign.
I grew up in a family where academics were very heavily implemented. Trust me when I say that tiaras and stage lights were far out of my comfort zone. But my perception changed when my good friend encouraged me to join the Miss America program during my junior year of high school. Long story short, I competed for my first title in 2016 and was absolutely blown away by the growth that I had experienced. While competing I discovered that it was okay to celebrate every part of me. It was okay for me to enjoy calculus while still being interested in makeup. I could be knowledgeable about current events and politics yet still be feminine. I learned that I did not have to be defined by an activity or a title that limited me to one encompassing persona. Instead, I could celebrate the contrasting aspects that make me who I am!
That being said, it baffles me why we as individuals continuously put each other in boxes. We label one another as the jock, the nerd, the dancer… but why must we be confined to one identity? We are all multidimensional; we all have varying interests and hobbies – and that should be celebrated! So for all of you reading, I encourage you to think outside the box. I encourage you to refuse to wear a label, to refuse to believe that you must be tied down to “one thing”. It is never too late to “break the mold” of what others (or you, for that matter) think you can and cannot do. Take risks and try everything – you never know what might be around the corner!
by: Asha Bhattacharya Miss Anaheim 2017