Inside Miss Teen Marin
By Bernie Michel
In my first year competing in the Miss Marin County beauty pageant, I learned a lot about the beauty pageant life. Like most people, I thought that all you had to do to be a beauty pageant queen was walk around in fancy dresses and avoid the words “world peace” when being asked a question. Through this experience, I learned that it's a lot more than that.
In preparation for the pageant, there is a month of practice and training. In this practice you learn to dance, walk, speak, and most importantly change in two minutes, so at end you are pageant-ready.
Now, to be able to compete for Miss Marin, there are a few requirements you have to meet and a few things you have to do. You need to be a U.S. citizen, work, live, or go to school in Marin County, be in between ages 17-24, and lastly be able to raise money for Child Miracle Network Hospitals. Competing in the county beauty pageant is how you move on to compete for the title of Miss California, which then leads to competing for Miss America and so on and so forth. It's a huge commitment to compete and potentially even win. Participants sign a contract that locks them in for the following year.
If you’re not 17 and older, you can still do the pageant, you'll just be competing for Miss Marin Outstanding Teen. This division is for girls ages 14-16, and is a bit different than the Miss Marin division. The same things happen when you win and you'll be locked into a contract.
Cassidy Bruner, winner of this year’s Miss Marin outstanding teen, described what it's like being a beauty pageant winner.
“It was completely a shocking and wonderful moment when they called my name,” said Bruner. “It was not what I expected when I first entered; it was much more personal and rewarding than I originally thought.”
Honestly, I only did the pageant for the scholarship money you get just for competing.
I was scared, as I’m not really a people person, outgoing, or someone who's comfortable throwing themselves on stage. I had to learn how to get through a lot of my insecurities and thoughts about myself, which is something I think a lot of young girls need help with. Constantly feeling as if you’re not good enough or you're not pretty enough is a constant struggle and battle many girls don't know how to face. Doing the pageant helped with that. It helped me gain confidence in myself and my abilities.
The director of the Miss Marin pageant, Michele Moser, described her favorite part of the pageant.
“Meeting and working with the young women of marin,” said Moser.
Moser was very helpful and taught participants everything they needed to know. She provided snacks during practice and loaned out evening-wear dresses for girls who didn't have them. Contestants don't have to worry about paying or buying anything for the pageant, as Moser has just about everything one might need.
Moser also mentioned why she thinks women should compete in the pageant.
“The reason to compete is simple; college scholarships, having the young women learn something new about themselves, becoming involved in community service and learn interview skills and how to prepare a resume,” said Moser.
All in all, competing for Miss Marin was something I never thought I could do and I'm happy I did it. I learned a lot not only about myself but about my community. I met girls that I still talk to today, and I gained a mentor for life and so much more.