My face became flushed at the Ms. Black, Fit & Fine beauty pageant. Tears filled my eyes. My heart skipped beats and I couldn’t believe what just happened.
The announcer called my name. This moment was incredible. I wanted this opportunity. I’m glad I looked within for the courage to overcome my fears.
Before Running for Ms. Black, Fit & Fine
Have you ever wanted something badly in life, but didn’t have enough courage to go after it because of fear?
There was a struggle in my mind for a while.
I wrestled with being asked to enter a the Ms. Black, Fit & Fine beauty pageant at 69 because my mindset was fixed as an accomplished businesswoman.
Beauty pageants are known for certain standards. One that quickly comes to mind is women who are slender in size.
I’m a curvy woman; I’ve never been the size of a fashion model, but I work out every other day and love fashion.
I can’t think of too many women my age who try out for competitions in the health and beauty industries.
By this time, most of us are retirees, enjoy traveling and the freedom of retired life.
I’ve worked in the non-profit area for over 30 years, and at the executive level, and then started my own business.
I’m used to running organizations, talking about vision, goals and social issues. My passion is raising dollars to support solutions for social issues.
When asked to apply and run for the pageant, I didn’t respond right away.
My mind rushed back to the time as a little girl being entered into a beauty pageant by my mother.
I didn’t win. Losing to the other girls was a disappointing experience.
But like mothers who support and affirm their children, she had a different view than me.
“You won because you stayed with it. You did everything until the end.” She further remarked tenderly reaching for my hand, “you were a winner and mommy celebrates your courage.”
Her voice and words echoed in my mind only to give me comfort. Mom’s words supplied the strength to try this again over 60 years later.
After researching more on this beauty pageant, I discovered that it wasn’t a typical one.
Traditional pageants focus on looks, what types of gowns and the swimsuit styles. This pageant was created to celebrate and recognize women over 50.
It was put together by a woman who owned a boutique and constantly saw African-American women coming in with style, fashion and aging just gracefully.
She created a platform with a purpose that resonated with my passion to be a role model, encourager and shows others over 50 how to be confident and win.
I entered the pageant after a brief pause.
The pause actually worked in my favor because my mindset shifted. Time gave a chance to come up with a game plan.
I began to see visions of what a winner looks like and what a winner does. Then, I put together a game plan to get there.
My business skills went into full operation by gathering a team to help with advice and support.
My workout plan changed a lot.
We trained more and tightened up my diet. I drank lots of water, ate more protein, vegetables, and healthy carbs to feed my muscles.
I contacted a hairstylist, make-up artist, wardrobe designer, and publicist. Everyone used their gifts and talents to help me.
The beauty pageant required performances from the participants. I chose the spoken-word category and we also had to learn a dance routine.
I used some of the wording from Miss Black, Fit & Fine’s mission in my spoken word. Growing up I danced many times on stage.
In fact, I danced with my high school band. Here I am 60 years later learning a dance routine with having the grace and a smile.
Did I mention I was the oldest in the group?
Moments of fear surfaced here and there during my preparation.
Yes, I was scared. I thought about being in front of a new audience; people that were pageant attendees.
Fear and preparation were my greatest teachers.
Fear was the force that made me push harder to want to win. It gently forced me to stay focused on the importance of the other side.
The other side included meeting new women both young and over 50 who needed role models and courage to win in life.
This beauty pageant provided a unique way for black women to celebrate each other.
I became Ms. Black, Fit & Fine 2018 – 2019.
I won this pageant using determination from the strength my mom instilled in my soul.
The part that tingles my heart more is being a role model, pillar of tenacity and inspiration to my children, grandchildren, friends, my team and the attendees.
My win emphasizes the fact that any woman over 50 can overcome fear and take the courage to enter into any challenge life offers.