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From Crown to Courtroom: How Pageants Molded Me Into A Future Powerhouse Attorney

The other day I decided to sell a bunch of my pageant clothes because I have finally decided that chapter of my life has come to a close. While going through my camera roll to find pictures of the dresses I was selling, I was shocked. Every single photo in my camera roll was of me at an event or recording some sort of programming for our local contestants. I started to wonder how on earth I handled all of that and law school and maintained sanity. The truth is, even thinking back to what my day to day schedule was like, I’m not sure how. But one thing I do know is that it was worth every second. 


The typical talking points of pageantry are that it helps grow women's confidence, interview and public speaking skills, and you make a lot of friends. Maybe 20 years ago these were the most important skills a young woman could gain through the program. I am here to tell you that pageants have evolved and it’s so much more than that. Pageants are creating leading scientists, CEOs, broadway stars, and more. 


My first pageant was Miss Kansas’ Outstanding Teen in 2015 as a sophomore in high school. Looking back, the thing I remember most about prep was sitting down with the directors and drafting a resume. A resume - the most basic, essential, word document that every person has saved on their computer. I didn’t have a resume at that time because well, I was 16 years old and  the only jobs I’d had up to that point were fun summer jobs. Fast forward to my last pageant competing at Miss Volunteer America and I was essentially running a national campaign for myself. 


My experience with pageantry has directly correlated with my experience in becoming an attorney. It has taught me preparedness, marketing and branding, networking, and community involvement that goes far beyond simply volunteering. 


Preparedness

Gone are the days of pageants where you simply walk around in different outfits and look pretty. (As if those days ever actually existed!) When competing for a pageant you must have a business plan for what you are going to do the second that crown is placed on your head. There is no turnover period. As soon as your name is called, it’s go-time, so you better have a plan in place and you better be able to implement that plan. 


Pro tip: Have an event/appearance planned right after the pageant is over. If you win, you get to attend with a new title! If you lose, you still have something fun to do! (But no one really loses in pageantry.)

This preparedness extends beyond pageantry and can fit into many different facets of life. For the past year, I have been working hard in preparation to be an attorney beyond law school. I have been attending networking events, conferences, researching tricks of the trade, compiling helpful secondary sources, and even this blog! I created a binder with a to-do list, supplements, and materials to help me kickstart my career from day one. As soon as I am able to practice, I feel prepared and ready to take on the job. 


Campaigning, Marketing, & Branding 

Branding and marketing are huge these days! The market is saturated with many products and services so making yourself stand out is key. Like I mentioned above, preparing for a pageant is basically running a campaign for yourself. Any good campaign includes consistent marketing, a cohesive brand, and the ability to advocate for yourself. 


Back to my first pageant in 2015, I didn’t even utilize social media except to post after it was all over and say “I had so much fun! Look at all my new friends!” During my time as Miss Kansas Volunteer, I posted on social media every single day. However, marketing isn’t only about social media - you have to find a way to reach diverse audiences. Whether this is through press releases to local newspapers or getting on a morning radio talk show, you must get your name out there.  


Most importantly, you have to find what makes you marketable. What sets you apart from all the other

contestants? This is the same with attorneys. There are so many attorneys out there. Why should someone choose to come to me? Find your unique skill set, background, or experience and capitalize on that. 


Pro tip: Every single contestant is going to say, “I post consistently on social media! I’ve grown my following! I’ll use social media to help grow this brand!” Find something that sets you apart. During my time as Miss Kansas Volunteer, I sent out a newsletter for contestants and a separate one for sponsors, and supporters. Not everyone is on social media and it’s important to show sponsors how you are supporting their business!


Networking

Sixteen year old “Pageant Paige” did not realize that those friends she made during Miss Kansas week in

Pratt, Kansas would not only still be her good friends, but would be leaders in their respective industries. A big talking point for pageants is that you make a lot of friends and this is absolutely true. I have made many amazing friends through pageants that I still talk to on a daily basis, but it is much more than that. Competing in a pageant is a catapult into a whole new networking bubble, not just with other contestants, but with the board, directors, producers, volunteers, community members, fans that follow the pageant, etc. I’m still in touch with some of the backstage guys from the Miss Kansas Organization. They are the best!


Pro tip: Use Josh Roesener for your headshots and other fun pageant pics!

The women you come across in pageantry are teachers, women on Governor appointed boards, business owners, nationally recognized speed painters, world ranked equestrians, candidates for public office, department heads at some of the biggest companies in Kansas, doctors, and the list goes on and on. The people I’ve met will help me to shape my career as an attorney. These people have helped open doors for me and unlock new opportunities post-pageant life. 


Community Involvement Extending Beyond Volunteering

The community service aspect is an important pillar of pageantry, but these women aren’t simply volunteering, they are starting non-profits and filling needs in communities in innovative ways. These women are changemakers and leaders shaping the fabric of our communities on a local and even national scale.


Pageant girls are making a tangible difference in the lives of others in their communities. Their passion, dedication, and innovative approaches to community involvement have inspired me to think creatively about how I can contribute to the betterment of society as an attorney. In my opinion, attorneys should be leaders in their communities, using their talents to help others. I have been an advocate in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease for 11 years now and have operated my non-profit, Purple Pals, for the past 5 years. As a law student, I have been brainstorming more ways I can use my legal talents to help others.


Community service is about actively engaging with the issues that matter most and leveraging our skills and resources to effect real change. As I embark on my journey in the legal profession, I carry with me the lessons learned from pageantry - that true impact comes not only from volunteering, but from leading, innovating, and striving to make a lasting difference in the world.



 

So, whenever people tell me I was crazy for holding a state title while in law school, which I do hear often, I tell them it was worth it. The overlap between law school and pageantry, two seemingly disparate worlds, is seamless and my time as a “pageant girl” has acted as a springboard for my legal career. From crown to courtroom, I’m just one of the many pageant girls who are bridging the gap between pageantry and industry, proving that diverse experiences enrich every profession in unexpected ways. 


To all the aspiring attorneys out there - don’t underestimate the power of unconventional experiences like pageantry. Embrace the journey, seize every opportunity for growth, and trust that every moment, no matter how seemingly unrelated, contributes to your professional evolution. 


To all the pageant girls out there - never underestimate the power of your journey both on and off the stage. Your experiences, skills, and passions are not confined to the pageant world; they are assets that can propel you forward in any career path you choose. Embrace the power cultivated through pageantry and recognize that you are capable of achieving greatness beyond the crown.


To find out how you can get involved with pageants, explore the links below!


Pro tip: Invest where it matters. After many years of figuring out the pageant thing on my own, I finally invested in pageant coaching with Crown the Nation! They took from crown to courtroom seriously and everything we worked on was implemented in my everyday life! I highly recommend them for preparation help in any pageant system!


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