It happens. You are standing there in the spotlight. Grasping tightly the hand of the other girl. Waiting. Waiting. for the emcee to announce the first runner up.  Because you know…if your name is not announced, then YOU are the newly crowned queen of the pageant!  Then, it happens.  You hear YOUR name.  Sudden disappointment engulfs your whole being.  From the follicle of the hairs on your head to the tips of your beautifully sculptured toenails.  “Nooooooo!  My name was not to be called!” you scream silently in your head.  All the work you’ve done.  All the time you’ve put in.  All the emotion spent getting to that moment on stage….and it wasn’t meant to be.

Well, I have wonderful news for you, all is not lost! Take a look at the journey you traveled. Without traveling this journey you wouldn’t be stronger, smarter, wiser, and more beautiful, than had you not taken this voyage. 

Carly Wolf, who'll be competing for the crown of Miss South Carolina Teen USA, thinks disappointment is a part of life and pageantry, but she has learned to turn this negative aspect into a positive thing - "It is hard to take a loss when you work so hard for something. However, I have learned to walk away and look forward to what will be next. Actually, nothing at all was lost, but a whole lot gained. " - she explained. 

Carly is a college cheerleader at the University of South Carolina-Aiken majoring in Biology. Let's know a little bit more about her below!

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It sounds like the premise to the 2000 hit, Miss Congeniality, but this woman is the real life Gracie Lou Freebush. The beautiful Keshia Lee, who'll be competing for the crown of Miss California USA later this year, graduated from California State University San Marcos in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Studies. She worked patrol for a short while, then recently got a job as a Detective with the State of California - "I am humbled and proud to say that I am a Law Enforcement Officer. It’s a very rewarding career and I give credit to all of my brothers and sisters in blue who are putting their life on the line to protect and serve their communities" - she explained.

Did you know ? Women in general make up approximately 13% of police officers in the United States according to The National Center for Women and Policing  compared to in 1970 where only 2% of police officers were women. California has been a leader when it comes to women police officers. 

 had the opportunity to interview Keshia a few weeks before the Miss California USA Contest. The winner will have the opportunity to represent her state at Miss USA 2018. 

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One in every ten people you know will battle feelings of anxiety, low self-esteem, self harm and even suicidal thoughts. Furthermore, depression does not discriminate. It can affect anyone, anywhere, anytime; man, woman or child. Jacqueline Giancola, who'll be competing for the crown of Miss Alabama USA in a few days, herself has struggled with anxiety and depression over the past few years. She would like to share her story on the Miss USA stage and shows that if she overcame the disease, then any person anywhere can get through what they are going through as well - "There was a time where I had to really look in the mirror and ask myself, do you want to end up like your friends who took their own lives? Do you want to do that to your friends and family? Do you want to do that to yourself? And the answer was no. I wanted to continue living and I wanted to be able to help others struggling with similar things that I was struggling with" - she explained.

This past summer Jacqueline has lost 12 close relatives and friends, 3 of whom took their own lives - "I would like to speak about suicide and bring more awareness and attention to the issue globally. I never want to see another child bury their parent to suicide, or worse, another parent bury their child!"

In addition to her commitment the beauty queen is a professional opera singer, actress, model and current student. Her main focus at the moment is her Opera singing. She was awarded a presidential scholarship to study opera, and this past summer she travelled all over Spain and sang in Basilica's and Cathedrals across the country. When she's not working, she is a student at the University of Alabama Honors College, majoring in International Business and Spanish. 

I had the opportunity to interview Jacqueline a few days before the Miss Alabama USA Pageant. Her dedication and hard work towards her goals will surely take her long on the road of victory!

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From a young age, Bri Lang was captivated by pageantry. She always knew that someday she wanted to be just like women on the Miss USA stage because they were smart, kind, talented and individually beautiful - "Every year with my mom, who also used to compete in pageants, and I would sit down and watch Miss America and Miss USA on television.  I was inspired by the confidence and stage presence that all of these women had and it seemed to be something that I lacked" - she explained.

She looked up to her mom and knew that she wanted that "pageant girl" self-confidence someday - "As a shy 7th grader, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and enter my first pageant with National American Miss. I did not win that year, but I made the top 15 which ignited a fire in me and encouraged me to continue following my dream of competing in pageants."

Competing in just one pageant completely changed her confidence level and gave her the self-esteem she needed - "I've stuck with pageants ever since, while taking just a few years off to complete college. I love that pageantry focuses on education, community involvement/service, and beauty both inside and out. It is a very inspiring to be standing on stage with the most well-rounded, kindhearted women you will ever meet."

Entering a beauty pageant teaches young women very important life skills and confidence is a bonus. The ability to get up in front of an audience will help a shy and quiet person to develop confidence and carry themselves with pride. Many people have a fear of speaking in front of an audience and entering a beauty pageant provides them with an opportunity to speak in front of crowds on a regular basis so they can reach outside their comfort zone until they develop confidence and a stage presence. All beauty pageant contestants radiant confidence. So if you are a shy person and are looking to get out of your comfort zone, why not join a pageant?

I had the opportunity to interview the beautiful Bri on her preparation for the Miss Ohio USA Contest. The most notable Miss Ohio USA Winner is actress Halle Berry, who was 1st runner up at Miss USA 1986. Other notable former titleholders include actress, model and sportscaster Jayne Kennedy and two former Survivor contestants, Kim Mullen of Survivor: Palau and Candace Smith of Survivor: Tocantins.

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Late bloomers, we feel ya: It can be frustrating, to say the least, to always feel like you’re the last one to get past your awkward phase, have your first kiss or relationship, and figure out what you want to do with your life. But when it feels like everyone is whizzing past you as you plod along in the slow lane, remember that doing everything at a young age doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have greater success.

The beautiful Brenna Seawalt, who won the title of Miss Photogenic in the Miss Colorado USA Pageant a few days ago, used to have lower self-esteem as a young teenager. She was what you could call a "late bloomer." But we all have dreams in our lives and we can use them to drive us towards greatness and to help us find happiness in life. Brenna remembers watching the Miss Universe and Miss America Pageants with her dad when she was a young girl and always dreamed of one day competing in one - "I competed in my very first pageant when I was 19 years old and ever since have had the dream, like many other young females, to take home the crown someday" - she explained.

I had the opportunity to interview Brenna a few days after the Miss Colorado USA Pageant. Let's know a little more about her below!

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The feeling of being Irish and patriotic always comes on strongest around St Patrick’s Day. To see a day being celebrated all over the world just for Ireland is really quite exciting and moving to see. Irish people, it can be agreed, have one thing in common… they all love to talk about being Irish. So what does it exactly mean ? Cailín Áine Ní Toibín, who'll be competing for the crown of Miss Universe 2017 later this year, always wanted to be a representative of her country & her people and give them a voice on an international platform -  "Ireland is passionate about supporting people who embody our culture and what it means to be Irish. Ireland is a beautiful country full of genuine people, we are a nation built on being a peaceful arbiter for many years back as far as time can tell." she explained

The beauty queen wants to promote Ireland to the world in a way that it excites them to come and expand their knowledge on how they live in her country. 

Cailín Áine Ní Toibín loves that Miss Universe is a pageant that celebrates women of all nationalities, colours and ethnicities - "These women are driven to discuss topical issues such as mental health which is the platform that I have chosen to be an advocate for as it is a topic that has been a part of my life since I was born, in Ireland it is a topic that is shadowed over because of our religious background and I hope to bring that to the forefront this year and de stigmatise mental health here in Ireland and abroad."

I had the opportunity to interview the beautiful Cailín Áine Ní Toibín on her preparation for the next Miss Universe Pageant. Check it below!

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The gorgeous Frida Fornander will have the opportunity to compete at Miss Universe 2017 later this year. The 21-year-old entered the Miss Universe Sweden competition in 2013 and was crowned Miss Earth Sweden in 2014. She also held the titles of Miss Teen Sweden in 2011 and Miss Teen Universe in 2012. Sweden has not placed into the semifinals since 2009, but the nation is one of the most successful at Miss Universe with three crowns.
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