Friday, December 25, 2015

PageantLIVE's Red Carpet Award of the Week goes to National American Miss Pre-Teen Shayla Montgomery

National American Miss Pre-Teen
by Shayla Montgomery
I am a fun, intelligent and super friendly 13 year old. I live in Portland, Oregon with my parents, Chris & Sheila and our two dogs. I love to go to church and play volleyball. My goal is to make a difference in our world by ending bullying and spreading my message to "Be Brave and Be Yourself"!
Around February of 2014, I received a postcard in the mail, it was an invitation to an open call for National American Miss. I remember my dad saying, "Shay, do you want to try pageants?" I wasn't interested. A few weeks later, my dad said "Shay they are having the open call this weekend for the pageant do you want to check it out?" I said sure. I remember my mom being totally against me getting involved, however, she went with me and my dad to the open call. I received a letter in the mail from my state director, Matt Leverton inviting me to the state competition. I didn't take it seriously and did not prepare for my very first pageant. I
had fun. I loved meeting girls and doing casual wear. I placed in photogenic and casual wear and was in the top 10. I was so upset that I didn't win. I know crazy for it being my first pageant and me not practicing. I said I would never do pageants again as we drove home. My parents told me that they were super proud of me and I remember my dad saying to me what do you expect you didn't take it seriously and you didn't practice. The next day I told my dad I am going to go back next year and win. I loved everything about NAM. I loved the staff and I loved the girls that I had build relationships with during the weekend. My dad went crazy and signed me up for several pageants to give me practice. All I could think about was getting back to National American Miss.
Over the next year, I practiced with my dad a lot. Some days I would get frustrated with him because I didn't want to practice. He would remind me of my goal and I would do what he was asking me to do. My dad found another person who could also coach me Netty McKenzie. I worked hard over the year. I won the High Point Queen at my very next pageant which was Regal Majesty. I then went on to another pageant system and not understanding how you compete at Nationals went up an age division to Jr Teen and won state! We thought if we won at state and I turned 13 that I would have to compete at Nationals as a junior teen so my dad wanted me to compete with girls in the next age division. We met Andrea Walters there and I had a few coaching sessions with her. I lived, ate and slept pageants the past year. I worked with all three coaches my dad, Chris Montgomery, Netty and Andrea. Right before state we purchased another dress and I love that the owner, Aaron of Simply Grand by Aaron Michaels says to me "you won state in a David's Bridal gown". Which is true. I laugh at that now. We didn't know anything about pageants let alone where to buy a dress.
My hard work paid off and I remember when I was on stage and they were calling the runner ups and it got down to who they were going to call to be the queen and seeing some amazing girls still standing out of the top 10 and thinking either I got the same place as I did last year which was top 10 or I am about to be queen. When they called my name as the Miss Oregon Pre-Teen tears filled my eyes. I was so excited to represent my state.
My mom obviously came to love NAM. She loved that they had an emphasis on volunteering, that there was not a swimsuit competition and that they believe girls need to dress age appropriately including no makeup in my division. She also loved that I was being able to express myself individually and developing my speaking. I went from being a shy girl last year into a girl who is confident and able to talk to anyone this year.
Winning state I knew I would be going to Nationals and my goal was to win nationals. NAM was all I talked about. I watched Bralyns video of being queen every night before I went to bed. I stopped playing volleyball so I could focus on NAM. Life revolved around volunteering and practicing for nationals. I spent countless hours practicing with my dad. In September, we found Greg Solomon and I began having interview coaching online every week. It was so tiring to be asked question after question after question for an hour straight. There were days I would say do I have to do interviewing today and would be reminded of my goal and gladly I would face-time my coach. Thankfully, I was able to work with Andrea the month before going to Nationals too as she helped me fine tune what I had wrote for my introduction and my spokes-model.
Arriving at Nationals I was excited. I did not feel anxious. I felt I was prepared. I just wanted to have fun and build life long friendships with girls from around the United States. I had a lot of fun touring Hollywood, going to Disneyland, spending Thanksgiving with my family and participating in casual wear and spokes-model as well.
I will never forget the moment I looked on the wall to see who made top 5 in optionals. When I saw my name listed for Spokes-model tears filled my eyes and I fell to the ground. My speech was a personal story in which I was very vulnerable. We were not sure if it was going to be age appropriate for NAM yet I made the decision that I wanted to share for nothing else than to possibly help another girl. We re-competed and then when they called out the runner ups and then said my name as the National Spokes-model I was elated.
The life long memory didn't end there. I continued bonding with some amazing girls and then it came to our finale. I was sad that the week was ending. I had a lot of fun doing our opening numbers. Top 10 was called and I was excited when they called my name. Next they called out the top 5. I began to cry. I was in shock and walking around crying with such joy. I was ecstatic that out of all the girls in our country I was in the top 5. I will never forget the next moments. It was down to Miss Nebraska and me. I reached to hug her and then we held hands. When they called first runner up Nebraska. All I could do was thank God. I held on tight to my crown (my crown fell at state and I didn't want it to happen again) as I walked around thanking the judges and looking out at all of my family who came to watch me from Oregon and all around California.

There have been many who have been against "pageants" and often times it is due to a lack of understanding and thinking it is like toddlers and tiaras. I love to get to explain to them what pageants are all about and that a part of my score comes from volunteer service and then the rest is from my interview score, formal wear and personal introduction. These are core skills that we all need to be successful in life whether it is public speaking or interviewing for a school or a job.
Being queen to me is more than just a crown and a sash to sit upon my shelf. Being queen means that I am a role model to other girls and I am a servant shed my light and love to my community. I strongly feel that if you bring a smile to others or help those in need that you are also bettering your own life. My favorite quote is kind words are short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless by Mother Theresa.
I plan to help spread the message of Continue to Find Kindness across the country to Stop the mean girl phenomenon and revolutionize kindness! Not only is this personally important to me as I was once a victim of bullying it also goes along with my career goal to become a psychologist for children!
You may contact Shayla for appearances at:
And follow her reign at :

PageantLIVE's Note:
National American Miss is rated the #1 Pageant System in the United States.  Find out more information at:
Unleash Your Potential


Monday, December 21, 2015

Miss Universe 2015 Makes Pageant History Crowning the Wrong Winner SO MUCH CONTROVERSY by PageantLIVE Blogger Natalie McGovern

Ms. Nebraska United States 2014
If you watched last night’s unfolding of events during the Miss Universe crowning then you were probably as A. shocked and B. as sick as I was watching what was happening. What was to be Philippine’s long awaited and most glorious, victorious moment in nearly 40 years turned into DRAMA as the 1st runner up Colombia was accidentally crowned and literally two minutes later, dethroned right on public television in front of billions of people.

Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez
It was a shocking historical moment not just in pageantry, but in live television. Let me just say how last night’s scenario came across to me: if it were indeed staged then I feel that a cruel joke like this would result in some of the biggest backlash Fox has ever seen and with the reputation they have already, why would they want to be embroiled in a controversy that could potentially rival World War III? Do they really want to go to war with Colombia, I mean, come on-I doubt they would mess with a country’s national representative who is a symbolic icon of beauty and hope to their country.

Fox would be barking up the wrong tree. And the Philippines-the Pinoy nation are some of the most devoted fans in all of pageantry, and their queen missed out on their biggest win in years. Imagine their shock and outrage. I don’t think Fox knows who they’re messing with. I myself am in PR and I know a publicity stunt when I see one. If they thought that Miss Universe was becoming irrelevant and that a controversy would help to bring back ratings-psshh. Then that was a really shoddy way to do that at the expense of another girl’s dream. If it was a setup-then that is sick, sick. Who would do that to a poor girl who worked so hard to win the title of her dreams ? If that was in any way intentional, you can bet your sweet britches there will be a lawsuit in their midst.

Crown being taken away from Miss Colombia
To Miss Colombia, we salute you for handling the catastrophe with such grace and class. We are sorry you had to have your dream ripped away from you right there for all the world to witness. As someone who was the first local Miss America winner to be dethroned over age, I understand the emotional anguish and devastation you are facing right now. What it’s like to have your very dream, not just a crown, taken from you. The women that have experienced this are indeed famous but not for the reasons we had ever hoped. I take a moment of solidarity to remember our lost dreams because someone told us we were of age to compete when we were not eligible, or the tabulations were wrong, or the emcee could not read the score card correctly.

Now here is an interesting thought. From day one since I saw Pia I pegged her as the winner of Miss Universe. She was in all my top 5 predictions and I was so excited to see her called into the top 15…top 10…top 5…and finally, top 3!! I have in fact predicted the winner before of the Miss USA pageant when Nia Sanchez won, and have gotten quite a few right for several other systems including Miss America Betty Cantrell this year and my hunch that Miss Spain would be crowned Miss World also came true. When Colombia was crowned I thought, this couldn’t be right-and it wasn’t. Then when the whole debacle happened I about lost it-my prediction once again rang true as Philippines was crowned but then it was such a bitter sweet moment because it was so horrific for Colombia, and I literally felt like I was reliving my personal dethroned experience all over again. So hard for all parties involved and I just hope that everyone can be compensated for the loss of what happened.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Marc Defang New York by Amy Sue

Amy Sue - Modelize It Productions - Ms. Iowa 2015 - Miss Royalty International

If you have seen rhinestone heels and new pearl jewelry floating around on social media, they are from the designer of Marc Defang. In my opinion, pageantry's high end fashion jewelry at it's finest. I have been inspired by his line for quite some time and I am very impressed with how these hand-crafted statements are pieces of excellent quality in an elegant way, which can be worn both day and night or on the red carpet or even on stage adding a noticeable touch of effortless luxury to your look.

About the company of Marc Defang: 

MARC DEFANG has been in business ince 1999 with a luxury line of high quality handmade jewerly, gowns, shoes, and accessories for the pageantry industry. All of his hand-crafted items are top quality guaranteed with finest materials of pearls and crystals, 100% curated and hand-made designer pieces for special evening, gala, pageants, or every day socialite carry and use. He is an international fashion designer, raised and educated in New York City. In his early years of fashion career, he worked with other well known people such as Anna Sui, Isaac Mizrahi, Ann Taylor in New York City and Jockey in Wisconsin, USA. His brands are located in New York and Charlotte, North Carolina.


MARC DEFANG jewelry have reinterpreted jewelry bling in a very elegant way throughout their collection. The pieces are extraordinary, high quality with proliferation of color and sparkles, yet feminine and beautiful.

Crown Design 8-9mm Freshwater Pearl Zircon Stones Sterling Silver Rings

All of MARC DEFANG's jewelry are gold and silver purely 18K Gold and S925 sterling silver and never tarnish. Rings come in the size of 5-9.5. These are perfect for any pageant girl or girls simply in love with pearls. 

World's Pearl Origins:
  1. South Sea pearl - Australia
  2. Chinese Akoya Pearl - South China
  3. Freshwater Pearl - East China
  4. Japanese Akoya Pearl - Japan
  5. Tahitian Black Pearl - Tahiti (French Polynesia)
Product Description
  • Pearl size: 8-9mm
  • Color: PURPLE 
  • Type: Freshwater Pearl
  • Pearl Origin: East China
  • Water: Freshwater
  • Shape: Perfect round
  • Surface:  Flawless
  • Luster: High Luster
  • Metal: Sterling Silver
  • Gems: zircon stones

MARC DEFANG 7-8mm Freshwater Pearl Sterling Silver Zircon Stones Fuchsia Reinstone Earrings.

 These beauties are just perfect to wear in headshots, interviews, public appearances and even on-stage. 

Product Description
  • Pearl size: 8-9mm
  • Color: White
  • Type:  Freshwater Pearl
  • Pearl Origin: East China
  • Water: Freshwater
  • Shape: Perfect round
  • Surface:  Flawless
  • Luster: Excellent Luster
  • Metal: S926 Sterling Silver
  • Gems: Zircon
  • Decorative stone: Reinstone
World's Pearl Origins:
  1. South Sea pearl - Australia
  2. Chinese Akoya Pearl - South China
  3. Freshwater Pearl - East China
  4. Japanese Akoya Pearl - Japan
  5. Tahitian Black Pearl - Tahiti (French Polynesia)

My favorite piece that I have came across is this very elegant and outstanding Small Crown Design 9mm White Pearl Sterling Silver Zircon Stones Adjustable size Ring. I love how it pops out on the top, the crown holding the pearl shows purity all around. You can easily wear this as an every day statement or on the red carpet, on stage or even in your pageant photoshoot. This ring comes in various of sizes between 3.5-11 and stone color of purple or white pearl. 

Product Description
  • Pearl size: 9mm
  • Color: White
  • Type: Freshwater Pearl
  • Pearl Origin: East China
  • Water: Freshwater
  • Shape: Perfect round
  • Surface:  Flawless
  • Luster: High Luster
  • Metal: Sterling silver
  • Gems: zircon stones
 MARC DEFANG is your perfect jewelry companion because  you will not feel as apprehensive about it as you would with any kind of jewelry. His line is a versatile piece that t will take you on a whole better level than your every day wear. 

Be sure to visit his website for more, you will be amazed by all that he can provide.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Werner Wessels, W. Styling & Imaging Consulting by Linda Suter

Linda's Gala Inc.

After the recent Mac Duggal Runway Show, I had the opportunity of sitting down with Werner Wessels at the Miss World America and Miss United States pageants.

Werner came to our Nation's Capitol to be a Pageant Judge, and who could be better at judging than Werner, an international stylist from South Africa with an impressive clientele list, including the reigning Miss World, Rolene Strauss, also from South Africa.

As Rolene's stylist, Werner plans everything for her: shoes, accessories, gowns, and day wear. For the Miss World Pageant last year, Werner brought 19 pairs of shoes and over 40 outfits. Yes, they were able to pack everything into just four suitcases. How does he keep everything in order? He includes a look book for every outfit that she was to wear. A lot of thought and effort goes into the color selection for each gown, and his winning choice for Rolene last year was light pink: a perfect pairing with her dark hair and stunning blue/green eyes. 

Miss World Rolene Strauss with coach and International Stylist Werner Wessels
Whether a Celebrity or Pageant Contestant, it is important for Werner to help his client establish both herself and her "brand". Being able to plan is important in everyone's career, since, to Werner, timing is everything. And while his clients work very hard to take care of every facet in their daily lives, he likes for the women to project a very strong sex appeal, and he is a firm believer that this must be done with class and poise at all times and nothing vulgar.

Werner very much enjoyed his visit to Washington, DC, and his next stop is Baton Rouge for the Miss USA Pageant.

Melinda Bam, Miss South Africa 2011 and official representative of her country to Miss Universe 2012. 

The Judges Corner Werner Wessels Miss World Coach, Stylist and  Miss World America Judge
PageantLIVE Exclusive 
Werner's contact information:

Thank you to PageantLIVE, and AJ Photz, for assisting in the interview.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Reigning Today's American Woman Petite Ms 2015 - Saryna Ritter

Saryna Ritter

Saryna Ritter was born and raised in Rockford, Illinois. She graduated from Guilford High School in 2004 and went on to Rock Valley College. Saryna currently resides in Naperville, IL where she works for world-renowned pageant and prom designer Mac Duggal in Chicago. Saryna is the North and Southeast account manager and travels 15 states representing Mac Duggal. We dress everyone from celebrities to Miss Universe contestants.

She is the reigning Today"s American Woman Petite Ms 2015. Saryna has won numerous international, national and states titles including: Miss Royalty International 2014, Miss Midwest Galaxy 2013, National U.S. Miss 2013, Miss Illinois International 2012, Miss Illinois U.S. International 2010 and Americas Ultimate Queen 2010 to name a few. She has a very successful business called "Go Bling Yourself" that carries pageant jewelry and gowns. In her free time she likes to travel, read and volunteer.

Please be watching for her upcoming interview on PageantLIVE innovative series, Ask the Crown.

Today's American Woman Petite Ms.

Today's American Woman Pageant

Our National Queens, National Ambassadors and our State Queens Carry out Monthly Missions all over the US during the same time frame. Our crowns are used to shine a light on what is needed to help others.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Miss World America Recap: A Historical Pageant By Natalie McGovern

Natalie McGovern
Miss Nebraska United States 2014

Move over Miss USA: the hottest new pageant to emerge recently is Miss World America. 

Miss World Rolene Strauss, PageantLIVE's Founder
Paige Clark, Miss World Americas Elizabeth Safrit
If you don't know what I'm talking about then I will bring you up to speed: 

51 of the most accomplished and beautiful women just vied for the Beauty with a Purpose title on July 3rd, in Washington D.C. to represent the United States at the oldest international pageant on the planet: Miss World. Delegates consisted of former Miss USA delegates such as Kristy Landers Neidenfuer, (Louisiana,) Carlyn Bradarich, (Illinois,) and Arielle Rosmarino, (Virginia,) along with a former Miss America (Nebraska).  

Miss Virginia World Arielle Rosmarino 

Miss Illinois World Carlyn Bradarich

Miss Louisiana World Kristy Landers Neidenfuer
The pageant focused on the well rounded traits of contestants including poise, physical fitness, and public speaking.  They were scored in Evening Gown, Judges Interview, Media Interview, Multimedia, Top Model, Beachwear, and Beauty with a Purpose, to name a few. In this notoriously intense competition, Victoria Mendoza of Arizona bested the competition to win the coveted title of Miss World America 2015. Victoria wore a blue Mac Duggal gown and championed her Beauty With a Purpose cause for fighting  hunger in America. She will compete at Miss World on December 19, in Sanya, China.

Miss World America Victoria Mendoza 
The overall Beauty With a Purpose winner was Miss Massachusetts World, Maude Gorman, who was hailed as a hero during the pageant for enduring the traumatic experience of rape as an adolescent.

Miss Massachusetts World Maude Goman

Miss United States Elizabeth Safrit 2014
Victoria is the first beauty queen to be crowned Miss World America in a nationally held pageant in almost ten years.  In years past the U.S. delegate was chosen by a modeling agency. Elizabeth Safrit, Miss United States 2014 and Miss World Americas 2014, represented the U.S. at the Miss World America and placed second at the international competition. She is the last Miss United States to represent at Miss World with the debut of the new Miss World America title. Traditionally the first runner up winner of Miss USA or Miss United States pageant would represent at Miss World. Newly crowned Miss USA Olivia Jordan represented The United States at Miss World in 2013. To enter Miss World America, women must be between the ages of 17-25.

PageantLIVE got a chance to catch up with Victoria Mendoza on her first photo shoot in preparation for Miss World America and her media tour.

Below are some highlights from her interview:


Miss World America at Newseum, Washington, DC

 What was it like to win Miss World America?

It is difficult for me to describe the emotions I was feeling, I was excited for my future to represent my country at the Miss World pageant and also a little bit nervous and I had some crazy butterflies because I couldn’t believe the week was over. I’m really excited for my future and the way Miss World organization is going to help me.

What was your most memorable event at Miss World America?

My most memorable event was the Top Model competition hosted by Mac Duggal, all of the gowns were so beautiful and I was really impressed by the level of talent displayed that night by all the ladies.

What do you hope to accomplish during your reign?

I want to promote my Beauty with a Purpose Project since it is the foundation of Miss World, and hope that by having this platform it will allow this project to expand even further and reach more people

What is your Beauty With a Purpose Project?

Feeding America is my Beauty With a Purpose Project, which stems from a personal background and experience when I traveled to Haiti. It really changed my life and opened my eyes to the hunger in America, here are so many people that go every day hungry and I want to help alleviate that.

What is your life legacy?

My legacy will be that of love and giving. “Seize the day and thank others along the way.”

Victoria has a foster dog, is a huge family girl, loves cooking outside, and her favorite color is blue. She wants to pursue her degree in Broadcast Journalism, which she is currently studying in school. Victoria said she will work her absolute hardest to make her country proud. She wants to thank her friends and family, her entire team AZ and the entire country or being so supportive of her journey. Victoria is incredibly grateful for this opportunity, and honored to be put in the position of Miss World America.

Miss World America National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC

Exclusive first interview of the newly crowned Miss World America


Monday, July 13, 2015

Seven Reasons You Might Bomb Your Onstage Question and One Good Reason Not to Panic by Kristina Rowe

Kristina Rowe
Ms. United America Ambassador

Seven Reasons You Might Bomb Your Onstage Question and One Good Reason Not to Panic 

Top 5 Miss USA 2015

You’re sleep deprived.
The onstage questions we see most often are at the televised pageants. The contestants have been busy in a whirlwind of activity for a week or two and they have had little sleep. No matter how well versed they are on current events, it’s easy to draw a blank when you are exhausted.  Be sure to practice onstage question when you’re at your worst as well as when you’re at your best.

You’ve missed the latest updates on trending news items.
During those busy two weeks, you may have missed the latest news.  Try to build in time during pageant week to check the news on your phone , or have a newspaper delivered to your room in the hotel.  If you don’t know out trending news  items because you didn’t practice at all, then shame on you!

Fifteen million (or more) people are watching.
This is probably the most high  pressure moment you have ever experienced in your life. Practice under pressure, and practice choking (on purpose) so you can practice recovering.

You didn’t hear the question.
It can be really loud in the pageant venue. If you need the question repeated, ask that right away, not as a save if you get lost in the middle of an answer you’ve started.

You went blank and went into panic mode.
You started answering and you just lost it.  If you can recover verbally, wrap up as quickly as possible. If not, just do the best you can and whatever you do, keep smiling. Keep your posture proud and confident and pretend you just said something worthy of Einstein.

You rambled on too long or veered off topic.
I’ve seen this happen in live streamed pageants. The televised pageants will cut you off. But you must absolutely practice with a timer, even if there’s not change you’ll be buzzed to stop onstage.

You didn’t practice.
There’s just no excuse for this. No matter how good of a speaker you are, you HAVE to practice for this once in a lifetime moment.

Why you shouldn’t panic
The best answer does not necessarily win. It is not supposed to. Based on the scoring of the pageant, it is only ONE factor that judges consider. It’s usually more of a pass-fail thing. Can you keep your cool under pressure? If you can, you’ll be a great titleholder, even if you weren’t the most eloquent. In most cases, a bad flub will take you out of the running, but even that is not guaranteed. So keep smiling. Make eye contact with the judges. Practice having something intelligent to say in any situation and under varying amounts of stress. And then go out there and kill it in onstage question.

Miss USA 2015
Olivia Jordan


Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Judges Corner - Ask the Crown at Miss World America 2015

Miss World America. How to win the crown? What are the judges looking for? Get the tips from the judges who selected the winner, Victoria Mendoza. A PageantLIVE Exclusive.


Saturday, July 11, 2015

More than just "Flirty" Vizcaya Swimwear - Lisa Opie and Franz Orban by Linda Suter

Linda's Gala Inc.

Miss United States 2015
We all love pageants: the beauty, the production, the atmosphere. While most of us concentrate on the Beauty and Atmosphere, it's the production, apparel and delivery that make the experience. At the recent Miss United States Pageant in Washington, DC, I had the pleasure to speak with Lisa Opie, the co-creator and designer of luxury swimwear brand Vizcaya Swimwear, the official Swimwear Sponsor to the Miss United States Organization. 

Being a model and former top-5 Miss United States Finalist, Lisa brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique perspective to her designs. Lisa draws inspiration for her designs from her history in modeling and pageants, and it is evident that she incorporates design ideas from diverse cultures in more than 30 countries she has visited. It is these  travels that has also allowed her to use fabrics from all over the world, with the current line of swimwear created with fabrics from Colombia.

Vizcaya Swimwear's Kristina bikini
Rather than use an exotic, secluded beach for a photoshoot highlight her swimwear, Lisa would rather distinguish each piece by the model chosen for the shoot. These models are chosen, not only for their relatable looks, but also for their positive backstories and worthy platforms that Lisa and Vizcaya can support. Also, instead accessorizing her suits with big, flashy jewelry, Vizcaya has partnered with Shine Tattoos, makers of temporary metallic tattoos. These tattoos are waterproof, look fantastic and give the wearer the freedom of not having to worry about jewelry while at the pool or beach.

Of course, we all want that bikini, beach body, and Lisa has some very simple, easy to follow rules that help her stay in shape. Her Motto is, "The abs are made in the kitchen!" Instead of three large meals, Lisa eats six smaller meals throughout the day, consisting mostly of proteins (Chicken, meat and tofu) while cutting out the satisfaction foods like pizza!

Franz Orban and Lisa Opie, Owners of Vizcaya Swimwear
Official Sponsors of the Miss United States Organization
Franz Orban, who started Vizcaya Swimwear with Lisa in 2013, tells us that their association with the Miss United States Organization arose from the Organization and the models' desire to break from the traditional pageant swimwear, in favor of something a bit more "flirty". He is proud to be associated with the pageant as it allows a common design to be worn and expressed differently by so many models.

For the new 2016 line, he looks forward to maintaining that flirty look while incorporating more flora and fauna patterns. Please come view their new line at DC Swim Week July 24-25th. 

Lisa and Franz while in Washington, DC

My thanks to Pamela Privette from PageantLive for her assistance during the interviews with both Lisa and Franz. Also, many thanks to AJ of AJ Photoz for the spectacular pictures.

Lisa Opie and Paige Clark,  Founder of PageantLIVE


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Relationships and Pageantry... Is Your Boyfriend REALLY Supporting You?

By Trinity Nicole Miller, Petite Elite MS National Queen,
 Today's International/American Woman Pageant

Pageant preparation takes a lot of time and a lot of work as every pageant queen knows. At the national level, there are LOTS of experienced contestants and it is not an easy task to win. I personally prepare for an entire year before a competition. Since I own a marketing company and regularly promote my business and title, it is relatively easy for me to sit behind the computer from early morning to late evening. That is what I do. I'm a nerd, businesswoman,community servant, beauty queen... in that order. I do indeed spend a lot of time on my computers, but I am also able to balance that with family/friend time... Until the last year.

I had a boyfriend this year when I was trying to win my TAW national title who I assumed would support my pageantry, being that we were in a committed relationship and I supported the things that he was interested in on a regular basis.

It was going to be a very tough competition and I needed to be way on top of my game. I practiced my platform speech daily while cleaning house, working, gardening or hanging out in the pool. Any chance I got to practice, I was giving my speech. For several months before the competition, I went to appearances and meetings for the pageant as well as my business. Every time I would leave the house, I would get accused of not being where I said I was, even when I came home with photos. I got very tired of having to fight every time I went somewhere, so the last few weeks before I left for the competition, my appearances suffered. I noticed that the closer I got to the competition, the more distant and rude he became about it. The week before I left he barely spoke to me. I left for the trip and thought that once I was at the pageant, everything would be OK. I had a very long 38-hour trip and was ready to begin my quest for the crown and have someone I loved to talk to and encourage me in between rehearsals and competitions. I was in for a big shock. This guy who claimed to love me, called and texted me every single day and evening accusing me of cheating and partying rather than the activities going on at the pageant. He actually called right before evening gown competition and told me I wasn't about to get on stage, that I was "out partying"..... yelling at me... WOW. After all of the effort I put in so far, and I am about to walk on stage for the final time in my beautiful gown, I get yelled at that I am cheating..... that I am out partying.... that the last year of my efforts as he watched me prepare, was just a joke to him. It broke my heart and truly knocked the wind out of my sails.

If there had not been about 40 women in the dressing room at the time listening to this, I don't think anyone would believe me. It rattled me for a minute and then one of my pageant sisters, Selma Johnson, Golden Ms Texas, talked to me and suddenly all was well with the world again.  I went on to rock the stage and win my crown, however it could very easily be gone the other way. The truth is, I have never had a husband or boyfriend that supported my pageantry. That incident could have ruined my attitude and cost me the crown. Thankfully, that did not happen. I now represent Today's International/American Woman Pageants for the next year as the TAW Petite Elite Ms 2015 National Queen. With this crown, I will be able to put my platform charity, Panhandle Mothers Against Methamphetamine, as well as my other causes on a national platform and get them the attention they need to find new sponsors, donors, volunteers, and funding. I trained for a year and competed for this crown for the simple fact that I want to use it to help as many people in my community as I can. I think of the many goals I wrote on my goal board and I am so happy that I am going to be able to do so much good for so many people.... its a dream come true.

I began to look back and see some things my now ex-boyfriend said and did that should have told me that I needed to disconnect from this person. As a survivor of domestic abuse for over 20 years, I know better. I know that mental abuse can be even more devastating than physical abuse. You don't have to be hit to be mistreated. There are some things you can look for in your relationships (and even in your family members) that will tell you if you are being sabotaged.

Does your guy...

  • Discourage you from attending events and appearances?
  • Barely listen or ignore you when you are discussing your title and upcoming competition?
  • Tell you that you are 'too involved' with your causes/pageant?
  • Make you feel guilty for taking time away from them to practice, make appearances, etc.
  • Accuse you of cheating or partying when you are at events or appearances?
  • Make conflicting plans at times you are appearing/volunteering/etc?

I came home from the competition, moved back to my house, and started over... 2 hours after arriving home after 36 hours on a bus. "Sometimes when you win, you lose." He was still accusing me of cheating as he left my house. He also kept my new kitty. Rude. Luckily, I have a very good friend who talked with me all the way home and cooked some amazingly good and healthy food for me knowing I had been on that bus very stressed and had not eaten or slept. He also talked with me from a man's point of view and encouraged me to get back on my goals and move on. It is interesting to find out who your real friends are when you are in this situation.

The bottom line is, if you don't have the right man in your life, this will hinder your efforts, which will be the difference between a win and a loss.

I like to look at it this way, "It is better to have NO boyfriend than a BAD boyfriend."

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Disclaimer: Bad boyfriend/bad relationship illustration photos are from Google.
Re-edited by Joyce Cortez. 16 August 2018.
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