1. great brightness; luster
2. excellence or distinction; conspicuous talent, mental ability, etc.
3. splendor, elegance, or magnificence:
EXAMPLES OF BRILLIANCE:
This week at work, my friend Kim asked me if I watched Miss Universe. With that, she unknowingly invited me to share my original oratory for why I LOVE pageantry, and in particularly, the Miss Nebraska Organization.
1. INSPIRATION. These women are clear evidence of how beautiful our bodies can be when we exercise, eat right and take care of ourselves. Every single time I feel that fire within myself rekindling to JUST DO IT, looking like that IS POSSIBLE with focus and hard work.
2. RADIANCE. I am a proud, strong, confidant woman. I can be all of those things and still LOVE to dress up and feel like a queen. The gowns, the glitz, and regarding Miss America, the beauty and art behind each talent performed on stage.. I LOVE IT. Being a woman is a beautiful thing; focusing on that beauty and allowing each woman is radiate is spectacular.
3. CONFIRMATION. Evidence of the intelligence, articulation and confidence so many of these women possess in their interviews on stage and off. Women at Miss Nebraska last year were asked questions on issues ranging from prison overcrowding, to education funding, to social media challenges. These are real issues we as a society face, and in front of hundreds (and sometimes, millions of people on live TV), these women address each topic and prove time and time again you can look amazing, and FEEL fantastic, AND be BRILLIANT.
And with that… the time has come for Year 4 of There She Is, my annual series profiling each of the Miss Nebraska and Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen contestants.
This program is RELEVANT, providing countless opportunities for young women in our state to speak, perform and to raise money for their futures beyond pageantry. Miss Nebraska 2014 Megan Swanson went on to perform the National Anthem for tens of thousands at the College World Series and is currently pursuing a recording career. Miss Nebraska 2016 Aleah Peters has visited dozens of schools crisscrossing Nebraska to speak to children about cyberbullying and what they can do both before and after it happens. Both she and Miss Nebraska 2015 Alyssa Howell topped $20,000 in cash scholarships during their time competing for Miss Nebraska and then Miss America, money that helped both pay for their college educations.
One of the other things I have come to cherish about this program is the camaraderie it creates between the women who compete, and the women who work behind the scenes to make it happen. I look forward to Miss Nebraska events all year long not only for the glitz and glamour, but to be surrounded by women who work everyday to ‘have it all’. Our goals are so similar; to give to our families while serving others, to make sure we are hitting the gym and eating right despite nonstop schedules, to reach the top of our career fields the right way, through hard work, respect and kindness.
“Someone else’s strengths are not my weaknesses.”
–Miss Pennsylvania 2014 Amanda Smith
We live in a competitive world, folks; I can’t tell you how many times people seemed surprised when I told them Melissa Fry was one of my dearest friends at KETV and that Julie Cornell was a leader and mentor to all of us. Much like in the pageant world, I think people assume there’s an Anchorman/Miss Congeniality mentality where women are constantly fighting with each other to be the It Girl. Programs like Miss Nebraska reinforce a culture of unity and support between women. Is it competitive? For sure. But one of our constant goals is to teach women to compete with themselves and not others. To focus on defeating procrastination, weakness, distractions, NOT other women. To be the best THEY can be, and allowing others to inspire, not deflate. Those lessons translate far beyond pageantry in teaching young women how to support each other, creating more positive work environments, support networks and friendships. To better handle challenges and disappointments, to better foster team work and productivity. I daresay these are intangible qualities that every employer in America prizes in their staff.
Happy February; the countdown has officially begun. To this weekend’s Crowns and Gowns event in North Platte and to the final weeks and months leading up to the competitions that will determine the next two women to represent Nebraska in this storied organization.
If I can’t convince you to become a Pageant Junkie like me (shout out to the talented Carrie Lakey!), I ask you this.. to please support the women who take part. They are talented. They are beautiful inside and out. They are intelligent and well spoken.
They are BRILLIANCE defined.
The Miss Nebraska Pageant takes place June 7-10 in North Platte, Nebraska.
The Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant takes place April 21-22 in Omaha, Nebraska.
To read more about this year’s contestants, or the Miss Nebraska/Miss Nebraska’s OT classes of 2014-2016 click the THERE SHE IS link at the top of the page!