The night before pageant, I was still running around trying to get everything packed up and ready to go for Sunday, and found out that my steamer wasn’t working; none of my outfits were going to be ready! While trying to review the questions I might get on Pageant day and fixing the steamer at the same time, I didn’t get to sleep until 2am – and next morning I had to wake up at 8am to get my makeup and hair done! While the makeup artist was working on me, I actually fell asleep. My Sunday wasn’t getting off to a great start – I misunderstood the start time and arrived late at the Campbell Heritage Theater – not the way I wanted to start the day, but it made me realize I would have to dig deep inside me to give it my all on stage.
When we got into the theater, we were assigned to our dressing rooms, changed into our white ao dai, and did the first run through of the day. I was nervous – nothing was set up yet, and we had to work as a team to get the correct markers down for where we were to stand on stage for the various parts of the pageant. We did our intro dance and the self-introduction and my heart started pumping fast and I got nervous, spoke very fast and pretty much forgot everything – and this was with nobody in the audience! Rehearsal was over in a flash and we have a little bit time to relax and collect ourselves, eat and steam our gowns before the show. I kept practicing my introduction and questions because public speaking still makes me very nervous. But, I wanted to be a 2014 court member, and knowing that I will have to speak in public, I have to make this an opportunity rather than an obstacle.
After two months of practices, the show goes by really fast; it felt like I blinked and we were at the end of the show. During the show, it felt like a race against time to get changed from one outfit to another. At one point, it felt like everybody was piled into the dressing rooms trying to help my other pageant sisters and I change, but once we step foot onto the stage, our expressions don’t show the craziness but only smiles.
Time to announce top 7, I was the 2nd to last to be called. I was nervous and I was told later that my friends and family were even more nervous then I. When I was called, my body just felt a little lighter but my nervousness never went away because I’m facing what I feel was the most challenging aspect of pageant; the on stage interview. I was so nervous and I didn’t deliver the answer to my question as I had wanted to or even rehearsed. Top 5 got called and I didn’t make it, but I smiled and exited the stage. While I was packing up my things and changing back into my color ao dai, my friends and family tried to cheer me up by texting me, and saying how proud they were of all my hard work – that support definitely helped ease my sadness for my bobble onstage with my response.
The final time for us to come back on stage again, I didn’t expect to win anything, I was ready to walk off stage without a crown. I was shock when I got called to win the title of Miss Social! I was surprised and delighted while walking to center stage to receive my sash, crown and flowers. I felt like I didn’t let my family, friends and sponsor down after all! I was very happy with that accomplishment.
I want to say ‘Thank You’ to everyone who has been there for me and always believed in me. Being in this pageant has built up my confidence more than I can imagine – I can’t wait to share my court experiences with you, and give back to my community.