By Mickie McLeod

CBS 62/CW50 Intern

READ MORE: Former MDHHS Director, Robert Gordon To Receive $155,000 Payout After Resignation

Pageants to me are usually defined as a mixture of beauty, confidence, and women empowerment.  Although I find myself confident with who I am, I never thought about participating, yet alone attending a beauty pageant. I’m the girl who you’ll find wearing mismatching socks because I think its good luck, finishing everything on my dinner plate because I feel like I’ll insult the food I don’t eat, and the girl who has brushed her teeth in a gas station bathroom numerous times because it was more convenient than simply driving back home.  I guess I thought I’m just too quirky and awkward to even consider myself as “pageant type.”

One unusual part about my life is that my friends are all from a ton of different genres and I truly love it.  One of my best friends, Teresa, is a former pageant queen (Miss Earth Michigan 2015), a former Detroit Tigers Cheerleader, and is a current actress and model.  My latest accomplishment on the other hand is discovering that turtle neck sweaters can turn into instant face socks.  I am so proud.

Teresa and I are opposites in numerous ways, but we love and accept each other for who we are.  This weekend, she invited me to come volunteer and help out with her family’s non-profit pageant organization, “The Amazing Girl and Miss Pageant.” At first my initial thought was, will I stand out? Do I need to get my hair done? Do I need to wear high heels?  I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I like the unexpected, so I was game to try anything – once.

READ MORE: Blue Cross of Michigan CEO Earned $11.5M in 2020

At the pageant, my task was to assist with production from the control of the microphones, music and sound to lighting and even the staging set and design.  I also did social media for the pageant as I took pictures and videos of the competitors.  Between the two days of the pageant, I met all types of girls, all with confidence and poise.  They ranged from ages 7 to my age around 22 years young.

2016 TAGM Teen Contestants strike a pose on the pageant staircase in between shoots. (Photo courtesy Mickie McLeod)

2016 TAGM Teen Contestants strike a pose on the pageant staircase in between shoots. (Photo courtesy Mickie McLeod)

Attending the pageant, I not only gained technical experience, but I gained an even better sense of who I am.  The contestants, mothers, and judges all welcomed me greatly.  Being the one who had no affiliation with the pageant or knowledge of them, I can truly say that I felt welcomed, confident and secure being there.  I felt positivity at all times and the experience was very rewarding.

Although my awkward self wasn’t sure what to expect at first, I was reminded of the most valuable thing in life: always be yourself.  Staying true to who you are is as important in the pageant world as it is in the real world.  I’m pretty good at being true to myself, so who knows…maybe you’ll see me in a pageant someday rocking out mismatching socks down the runway.

If you think you have what it takes to be a pageant girl or want to know more information about The Amazing Girl and Miss Pageant, visit HERE!

MORE NEWS: 17 Puppies Turned Into Detroit's Michigan Humane Society

Mickie McLeod is a Livonia, MI native.  She’s currently majoring in Communication Studies at Wayne State University and is a CBS 62/CW50 Intern.