I’m looking forward to Libba Bray’s upcoming Beauty Queens. I liked her other books a lot and I'm looking forward to seeing what she does with the premise. And, I was in a pageant once. I can still see the teenage me spinning around on stage to Pretty Woman, our pageant’s opening number, and then going through the motions of all of the swimsuit competition, talent competition, the personal statement and the evening gown competition. I rocked the personal statement.
I was probably not an ideal candidate for a beauty pageant. I’ve always been bookish, better at writing than singing and dancing. I signed up for the pageant not because I thought I had any chance of winning but because I knew that it would be something that would take me completely out of my comfort zone and force me to consider things like the miracles that can be done with hot rollers.
I had about three months to prepare for the pageant, during which I learned things like how to turn quickly, with a little bounce in my step, and flick my hair at the same time. I’m not making light of these things. It was hard work. There were the moments of ridiculousness during which I felt like I had entered an absurdist world. But the other girls in the pageant were kind and supportive, there were no pageant moms like you see in Toddlers & Tiaras and the women who were organizing the pageant really wanted to put on a good event. There were parts of it that were almost brisk and business like.
Despite the good parts, one pageant was enough for me. At the end of the evening, I stood on stage in a black evening gown with some tasteful rhinestones studded around the neck (I had very tasteful outfits) and held a rose with the other girls as the judges announced the winners. I was genuinely happy for Crystal, the girl who won the pageant, and for Dana, who won the talent competition with a pretty intense tap dance routine. I got a trophy for participation and, like my college writing professor said, a boatload of experiences that I never thought I’d have that I have a feeling will be fodder for a plotline someday.
In the meantime, I’m looking forward to reading Beauty Queens.