Beneath the crown

Secrets of the Miss Starr’s Mill sisterhood

Seniors+Erin+Rodgers%2C+Anna+Sampson%2C+Sydney+Turnier%2C+and+Celeste+Boullion+%28right+to+left%29+congratulate+each+other+after+the+winners+were+announced+at+preliminaries.+The+experience+of+participating+in+the+pageant+was+unexpected+and+changed+my+mindset+on+pageants.+Throughout+the+rest+of+my+high+school+career%2C+I+will+cherish+the+bonds+and+sisterhood+that+we+all+created.
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Beneath the crown

Seniors Erin Rodgers, Anna Sampson, Sydney Turnier, and Celeste Boullion (right to left) congratulate each other after the winners were announced at preliminaries. The experience of participating in the pageant was unexpected and changed my mindset on pageants. Throughout the rest of my high school career, I will cherish the bonds and sisterhood that we all created.

Seniors Erin Rodgers, Anna Sampson, Sydney Turnier, and Celeste Boullion (right to left) congratulate each other after the winners were announced at preliminaries. The experience of participating in the pageant was unexpected and changed my mindset on pageants. Throughout the rest of my high school career, I will cherish the bonds and sisterhood that we all created.

Bre Kozusko

Seniors Erin Rodgers, Anna Sampson, Sydney Turnier, and Celeste Boullion (right to left) congratulate each other after the winners were announced at preliminaries. The experience of participating in the pageant was unexpected and changed my mindset on pageants. Throughout the rest of my high school career, I will cherish the bonds and sisterhood that we all created.

Bre Kozusko

Bre Kozusko

Seniors Erin Rodgers, Anna Sampson, Sydney Turnier, and Celeste Boullion (right to left) congratulate each other after the winners were announced at preliminaries. The experience of participating in the pageant was unexpected and changed my mindset on pageants. Throughout the rest of my high school career, I will cherish the bonds and sisterhood that we all created.

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If you had told me this time last year that I would be competing in a beauty pageant I would have laughed in your face. I thought pageant girls were snooty, stuck-up girls that only cared about how they looked. To me, pageants were sexist and all about outward appearance, essentially another form of body-shaming young women. I was wrong.  

To me, pageants were sexist and all about outward appearance, essentially another form of body-shaming young women. I was wrong.”

— Staff Writer Caroline Hubbard

About two months ago I signed up for the Miss Starr’s Mill Scholarship Pageant. I signed up because of the scholarship opportunity and to help me gain more self-confidence. I thought that it was a good chance to see if I was right with my judgments.  I was skeptical about signing up, but after a talk with last year’s winner Sydney Turnier, I decided to just do it. 

Around the beginning of November, we started having after school practices to learn the opening dance number and learn how to walk a certain way. Walking in heels was way more difficult than I expected, but I eventually got it.

Pageants have five different portions: the opening number, casual wear, talent, evening wear, and interview. They gave us a dress for the opening number, but everything else we had to get for ourselves. Finding the dresses were easy if you knew where to go, but when a contestant is new to the process, where to shop and what to look for can be quite a challenge. Pageant dresses are different from just normal formal wear or everyday clothes. Usually you will have to go to a store that specializes in pageants. 

For evening wear, I borrowed a dress from one of my friends in college, the dress was a little bit too small for me but that did not cause too many problems. My biggest issue with the dress was how long the train was. I was constantly tripping all over it and had to modify my walk so I didn’t step on it. Once I got the hang of it, the dress really made me feel like a princess and helped me present myself the way I wanted to be seen. 

[T]he dress really made me feel like a princess and helped me present myself the way I wanted to be seen. ”

— Staff Writer Caroline Hubbard

The talent portion was the most difficult part for me. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do at first, but I decided on singing. I sang “A Million Dreams,” one of my favorite songs from the movie “The Greatest Showman.” I practiced the song with vocal coaches Dr. Green, who does private lessons, and Jennifer Stadelmeyer, who teaches music at Peeples Elementary. I learned about my voice and explored my vocal range. Performing something that I loved and had put so much work into by myself on stage showed me that I had what it took to be in a pageant, and I gained a tremendous amount of confidence from it. 

The other girls were fabulous and everyone really helped each other get everything right. Instead of forming a group of intense competitors, we formed more of a sisterhood. Those friendships are what made the pageant so great. Without them, I doubt that I would ever do a pageant again. 

Throughout this process, we had bonding days and group dinners that made us all feel like family. If I needed any help I would always ask one of the older girls that have been in this before and they knew exactly what to do. 

What changed my mind was everything that happened behind the curtains and all the moments I spent with the girls leading up to the pageant.”

— Staff Writer Caroline Hubbard

Both nights before the pageant began, last year’s pageant winner Sydney Turnier led the group in prayer. Turnier was so amazing and such a role model for everyone involved, helping us with anything we needed like finding places to shop and made sure we were all comfortable with the walks. 

Going on stage that first night was incredibly nerve-racking. I remember my legs freezing up and not moving out of fright because it was overwhelming to see all the people there, but after a minute I snapped out of it and enjoyed the moment. 

What was seen on stage was not what changed my view on pageants even though it was a big part of my experience. What changed my mind was everything that happened behind the curtains and all the moments I spent with the girls leading up to the pageant — everything that we did as a group helped us grow closer. The overwhelming support and love they gave made me feel like I belonged. 

I didn’t anticipate the experience being so positive and inspiring. The amount of confidence and friendship that I got from doing this is something I hope to carry with me throughout the rest of high school. I look forward to doing more pageants in the future, and will forever cherish the memories of the bonds made with my fellow pageant sisters.