OH. MY. GOODNESS. GRACIOUS.
I never thought I’d be spending the first morning of my Christmas vacation writing a blog about the Miss Universe pageant… LOL! But based on the responses I’m still seeing in social media, I realized I needed to give up a mimosa or 2 to make a few points…
To fully set the stage – Yes, I’m enjoying a bit of time off with my family right now – which means, I didn’t see Miss Universe live. I didn’t watch the whole thing. Until I do, I admit, I’m not going to have the same “context” that many of you have.
If you missed it too – Check out this link right here…
I’ve seen the final couple of minutes of video that’s floating around social media – but in many ways, I feel like judging the last 2 minutes of the Miss Universe pageant and making a proclamation is a lot like taking a Bible verse out of context and then quoting it all your life (without reading everything else around that verse). Context is important – and I don’t have enough ‘research’ to know how the production went all night…
Here’s what I do know…
It’s a terrible situation.
I’m not denying that AT ALL! To have two ladies trying to “hold it together” in that moment, is super impressive. Both of them maintained their composure pretty darn well (all things considered) and that’s a testament to being a strong/mature pageant contestant!
But that point aside – There is A LOT to talk about… Therefore, in random order – Here’s a few comments I’m hearing – and my thoughts regarding each.
– Steve Harvey Screwed it Up
Again – I didn’t see it, but apparently, Steve Harvey was seen as a few notches below Bert Parks or Chris Harrison when it comes to his ability to host a pageant (based on what I’ve heard). Nobody’s perfect – but if Steve was indeed having difficulty much of the night – it’s not unreasonable to believe he may have screwed something up at the end. He was likely out of his element and may not have understood how the Top 5 announcement works… Totally possible.
– Live TV is Scripted to the SECOND
Honestly, there’s A LOT of time left in the telecast from the time they bring the Top 2 ladies center stage… Over 5 minutes in fact. And as someone who’s worked in live media for 15 years, 5 minutes is an ETERNITY if you don’t know how you’re going to fill it!
That’s why you see the hosts talking to the ladies BEFORE the runner up announcements (“How are you feeling right now? What’s going through your mind? And this is when the ladies all say how proud they are to be standing there and any one of their fellow sisters would make a wonderful Miss fill-in-the-blank).
Live telecasts need to end with the crowning – not go on for 2 1/2 minutes after the crowning. That part alone leaves people skeptical.
– Miss Universe Has a Reputation…
Do you remember last year’s Miss Universe? People told me the winner was listed on Wikipedia for HOURS before the pageant had even taken place! At first, I wasn’t sure I believed it, but it was true (and I saw it with my own eyes). Was Wikipedia just “lucky” with their guess? Or had the final outcome been pre-determined? Given that situation, people with short memories can look at this year’s botched crowning and last year’s pre-determined winner, and easily become skeptical.
– Nobody is THAT Cruel…
One of the loudest responses from folks who think there’s no way this thing was staged – is, “WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THAT? NOBODY IS THAT CRUEL!!!” Well – I gotta say, I just don’t agree. Mainly because, I’ve seen production companies put ratings/publicity WAY ABOVE the well-being of “cast members” over and over again (think The Bachelor, or any other “reality” TV show you watch).
If you remember correctly, Miss USA was held on a sub-par network only a few months ago (due to NBC pulling the contract after Donald Trump’s comments). The production company could be the master-mind of such a thing – NOT the Miss Universe Org. Or, perhaps they purposefully confused Steve Harvey by giving him a card that said one thing and the teleprompter said another. And trust me – production company’s HAVE NO VESTED INTERESTED in the “cast members” – only in the final result = Publicity/Ratings for them.
– Camera Angles Tell a Story…
Camera Angles scream the loudest to me. To have a camera on Miss Philippines at the end (or the Top 5 finalists) – seems a little “out of sorts”. To not have Colombia “take a walk” seems strange. To not have the ladies rush the stage to congratulate the winner, is down-right odd.
It’s possible that the camera crew and the production booth were both outstanding “in the moment” and did everything right. They were able to hold the ladies on stage without rushing the winner. They were able to get Steve’s attention and tell him he read the wrong name. They were able to capture the right angles on stage and move from shot to shot fairly seamlessly. They’re professionals – and they could be THAT GOOD. However, if a production team truly is that good – it’s pretty easy to believe the possibility that they were in on it – and were completely capable of pulling one over on the audience too.
– Donald Didn’t Do It.
After The Donald’s comments and NBC’s subsequent refusal to air the Miss USA Pageant, Donald went to the table where many people speculated that he would sell his portion of the pageant to someone else. But instead of selling, he bought the whole thing outright. Then, days later, he sold the whole darn thing to the current owner WME/IMG. So – Donald no longer has any stake in Miss Universe succeeding (or failing) – except that people still associate his name with the brand of Miss USA/Teen USA/Universe because he’s owned them since 1996 (that’s the power of branding).
HOWEVER – the new owners have a serious need to make the pageant relevant again! Like other pageants, the ratings of Miss Universe have been slipping and the “negative publicity” surrounding the pageant – thanks to Trump and his comments – needed a new conversation. If everything goes right at Miss Universe – nobody cares. But now that this massive gaffe has taken place, it’s a social media dream.
– But Steve Harvey Apologized!!!
Look – I’m not saying Steve was even in on it! He may have been a pawn and may have been confused between the card, the teleprompter, the people screaming in his ear, etc. I think it took an insane amount of courage to go back and do what he did – without stammering, without looking sheepish, without apologizing profusely. He recovered well! Which again, will lead some folks to believe that he knew all along what he was doing. For a guy who hosts a talk show and The Family Feud, his stock just went through the roof! He’s got recognition now – and as many people say, “There is no such thing as bad press…”.
– Why Stir Up Controversy in the First Place???
I can understand why some of you think I’m just trying to “stir the pot” to get my own few minutes here… But honestly, I’m not the only person who thinks this whole thing may have been staged.
The general public thinks it was staged (don’t believe me? Check out twitter!). And if the general public (who doesn’t normally care about pageants) thinks pageants are rigged – WE HAVE A PROBLEM! I’m not trying to scream “CONSPIRACY THEORY” just yet – but you need to know that if the general public isn’t buying it, then that’s a big, big deal!
Because it keeps ladies from going into pageants if they think they’re rigged.
It keeps parents skeptical about legitimate outcomes when their daughters are involved.
And trust me – there’s enough subjectivity within judging pageants to always cause people to wonder “if the right girl won” without a major mess-up like this one!
If the general public thinks pageants are a farce – that’s more than just thinking they’re irrelevant. Those of us who’ve been fighting for the relevancy of pageants typically do so by saying, “These girls are incredible! Have you seen their academic records? Have you seen how many hours they’ve dedicated to community service? Have you noticed their commitment to their platforms and CMN?”
But now – the conversation has shifted. It’s no longer about whether or not pageants are “relevant” in today’s culture… Now, it’s about whether or not there are people behind the scenes, pulling strings however they wish.
And while THAT CONVERSATION is NOT one I’m interested in having… It’s too late. It’s here. And instead of fighting the pageant battle on one front – we’re now fighting it on two fronts.
Legitimacy and Relevancy.
My advice? Offer your opinion as to what you think happened – and then support it in a way that’s not divisive and not mean-spirited. Here’s why…
First, you’ll be able to communicate with non-pageant-people about why you choose to be involved despite these mis-conceptions (never a bad thing).
Second, you’ll be practicing “graciousness” – as opposed to “your opinion doesn’t matter so I’m going to tell you mine” – LOL! Everyone knows the best titleholders find a way to communicate their own opinions graciously – and they give everyone else a chance to do the same. PS – if you’ve ever been in the interview room and felt like you were arguing with a judge, practicing graciousness is a GREAT tip for you. 🙂
Do I personally think the Miss Universe crowning was staged? I don’t know for sure… And until I watch the whole thing on YouTube, I won’t have an opinion worth sharing. However, I do know there’s always something to learn from every situation.
Mistakes happen – But, so do publicity stunts.
We may never know the truth behind Miss Universe 2015 — But we have two options…
- Use all this publicity to OUR advantage by changing the conversations around pageantry – and helping others recognize the amazing reasons why pageants are worthy and relevant… Or…
- Fight with each other about whether our opinion is right or wrong – thus reinforcing the previously conceived notions of “Miss Congeniality” that the general public has of us.
The choice is yours. As for me and my household – we’re about to choose the beach.
MERRY CHRISTMAS JUNKIES!!!
Part of the appeal of Pageant Junkies is that I tell the truth.
Now, I try to be honest in a kind way… Rather than an “in your face” kind of way. Trust me, there’s no need for brutal honesty if it’s going to turn away your audience – But I do my best to present the truth in a way that most people will accept it.
Here’s the truth.
Pageants are not won on stage.
You might think the girl who’s been dancing since the age of 3 and has the most incredible leaps and turns is the winner because of all of her years of training.
You might think the contestant with the amazing body and long hair is the winner because she’s naturally thin and has a metabolism that lets her eat cheeseburgers every other night (whereas you don’t).
You might think the girl with the brand-spanking new evening gown that’s rumored to cost her over $4000 is the winner because “her family has money.”
I’m here to tell you – NONE of it is true.
Instead – Pageants are won off-stage.
Here’s what I mean.
Every time I talk to someone who’s judged a pageant, they all tell me the same thing…
As a contestant, when you’ve impressed a judge in the interview room, THEY LOOK FOR YOU ON STAGE! It’s True! They’re pulling for you! They want you to do well in the other areas of competition! They already believe you have what it takes to win after your interview – They’re just trying to make sure you’re compelling in each of the other areas of competition as well!
So… The question is… What are you doing to improve yourself in your interview?
At Pageant Junkies University, we’ve developed a way for you to work on your interview – But more than that, we’ve developed a way for you to stand out in the interview room.
It’s called our “Build Your Pageant Brand” digital course. There are 6 different modules – and we talk about your interview – but more than that, we talk about how you can have the best interview of your life!
We launched this do-it-yourself course earlier this week and you can find out more by checking out this link right here… We list everything you receive with the course, along with our 30 day money-back guarantee.
Just know, enrollment for this course closes on Sunday at midnight (October 25th). We do plan to open up enrollment again for Pageant Junkies University in the future – but I’m afraid I just don’t know when… Therefore, if you need this information before the end of the year, now is the time to check it out.
And that’s the truth about pageants!
Have further questions (or don’t believe me)? Email me at ThePageantJunkies@gmail.com… I’d love to hear from you!
Once upon a time, Carrie Lakey was enjoying her nice, little quiet life in small-town middle America, simply being known as “Founding Junkie”. You see, only a tiny handful of people knew who Founding Junkie really was… which made for a very uncomplicated life of ease and anonymity.
Throughout the year, Carrie would post photos of Miss America happenings, doing her best to promote the organization in the most positive light possible, and occasionally writing a few semi-amusing/insightful blogs. She was also committed to sharing the stories of awesome titleholders within the MAO, and offered fans a little bit of fun and intrigue with her pageant predictions – all while hiding behind the safety of a computer screen.
Then, one day, she realized there might be more.
Instead of simply reporting on the happenings of titleholders within the Miss America program, perhaps she could actually contribute to the conversation. And even more than that… Perhaps beyond just contributing to the conversation, maybe… just maybe… she could actually help make a difference for those who were willing to listen.
So, she faced her fears, and decided to come out of the proverbial Pageant Junkies closet… Not because she was looking for fame or fortune, but because she knew, there must be more.
As it turns out, there certainly was more. More than she could’ve ever asked or imagined!
There were podcasts… and personal connections… and newsletters with leadership principles… There were additional predictions… and a jam-packed PageantJunkies.com website… And before she knew it – a crazy idea occurred to her…
What if she could teach what she knew…?
What if people weren’t just able to “enjoy” her musings from an entertainment standpoint… What if they were actually able to become better pageant contestants, based on what she could teach them?
It was kind of a long shot… After all, most people just thought of Carrie as someone who could spot potential, and perhaps had a slight sense of clairvoyance when it came to predicting pageant winners.
Could she really convince people that she knew what it took to win?
Carrie ran her idea across a few close friends, who encouraged her to give it a try. They told her it might take some time, but eventually, members of the Junkie Nation would surely see the value she was offering – And specifically, how much they could gain, simply by tapping into her years of research regarding what it takes to win a state title.
And so… Without further adieu… Carrie took yet another leap. She created Pageant Junkies University.
Fans across the Junkie Nation instantly began to appreciate the wealth of wisdom associated with PJU… There were articles, cheat-sheets, videos, trainings and more – all available for free – in hopes of helping young women compete for their next title.
But for a select few who were truly ready to win, Carrie created the Build Your Pageant Brand course.
The course taught young ladies how to succeed in areas they never even thought about before… Things like Fundraising, Social Media, and giving new life to their Platform Issue. It also gave them ideas of what to say on your Pageant Paperwork and in your Interview – And it offered numerous examples of successful Pageant Brands on the national level.
And when those select few ladies, who were ready to win, realized that the information inside this course was more valuable than anything they’d done or anything they’d purchased up until that point, something incredible happened…
These ladies began to believe.
Not the kind of belief that fools you into thinking you’re better than you are… I’m talking about the kind of belief that changes you.
The kind of belief that’s anchored deep inside your soul and refuses to let go. That kind of belief changes the way you see yourself, the way you see others, and the way you see pageants overall.
Well… For starters, the ladies who took the Build Your Pageant Brand course were no longer afraid of what other people thought. Instead, they were so busy and so excited about creating their own Pageant Brand, that they had little desire to waste valuable time thinking about the thoughts of others!
Further, they were no longer afraid of “not being enough” – mainly because they were so confident in the unique attributes they brought to the table! They began to realize that other little girls looked up to them – and that those little girls could tell whether or not they had really “accepted” the things about themselves they couldn’t change.
But mostly, they began to realize their own personal Pageant Brand – had amazing amounts of value and worth. Their brand wasn’t meant to be hidden… Rather, it was meant to shine! It wasn’t something to be ashamed of – it was meant to be out in the light – where it could help others who struggled with the same kinds of insecurities and doubts!
And guess what, my friends… when you have THAT KIND of belief…
ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!
In the end, Carrie realized an important lesson shortly after she released Pageant Junkies University…
Although many Junkies were fond of her writings and teachings, not everyone would come to join PJU. And that was ok. In time, if it was the right thing for them, they would remember the free resources she provided, and perhaps reconsider enrolling in PJU. Not every person was ready for that kind of revolutionary belief at this specific point in time… But, when they were ready, she would be there.
And in the meantime, she would keep offering her podcasts and newsletters, her blogs and her jam-packed website… All with the goal of one thing…
Supporting those who are truly Ready to Win their next pageant.
Oh! And there was never any obligation of “kissing frogs” or “locating glass slippers” to find happiness – because those things are just silly (Seriously… Kissing Frogs? Losing Shoes? Who wants that?)…
Instead… Those who enrolled in Pageant Junkies University found exactly what they were looking for… And they all lived happily ever after! 🙂
PS – To learn more about the Build Your Pageant Brand Course from Pageant Junkies University, just click here…
Here’s a quick post answering some frequently asked questions that I’ve been getting regarding Pageant Junkies University… Maybe you have some of the same questions – and maybe this post can help you out! 🙂
FAQ #1 – Can you explain this whole thing to me? I’m not sure I get it…
No Problem! “Pageant Junkies University” is my way of delivering free content to help pageant contestants.
We recently launched the “The Branding Course” through PJU, which teaches pageant contestants HOW to Build Your Pageant Brand. Think of this course as an online tool! It teaches you how to create your brand, how to grow your brand, and how to develop your brand. We’ve found a system – and when you follow the steps of the system, YOU WILL KNOW HOW to BUILD YOUR PAGEANT BRAND. Learn more at at this link…
FAQ #2 – I’m a Teen/I work in the OT program/My Daughter’s a Teen… Do I still need a Pageant Brand?
GREAT QUESTION! Here’s the deal… Anyone, competing in any pageant, already has a Pageant Brand. I define your brand as, “Whatever people think about, when they think about you.” So – the first point is to realize you already have a Pageant Brand, whether you’ve been working on it or not.
Next, if you are a dynamic Teen who competes in pageants because you LOVE to make a difference in other people’s lives – then YES! You NEED a solid Pageant Brand (if you’re just doing this for fun right now and aren’t really taking it that seriously – then there’s no need to pursue this).
The last 2 MAOTeen winners have had great Pageant Brands (Olivia McMillian and Allie Nault). These brands caused them to stand out from the crowd and eventually landed them the crown. And it’s not just the winners who have solid branding, several of the ladies in the top 5 over the past few years have had very focused Pageant Brands that led them to their strong finishes as well.
This year, we had several Teens inside PJU and they did just as well as the Miss contestants when it comes to Top 5/Top 10 finishes. Again – it’s all about following the system and discovering success. PJU can do great things for helping Teens discover their Pageant Brand – then grow it throughout their time in pageants (however long that may be).
FAQ #3 – I’m a Local Director/On a Pageant Board/Assist with Pageants on a Regular Basis… Can I purchase this Digital Course and then use it for my yearly pageant winner?
YES!!! When you purchase the Build Your Pageant Brand digital course, you get lifetime access (which means – as long as I’m still doing Pageant Junkies, you still get access!). In fact, we had a few local directors/board members/etc purchase the course for their titleholders this year (and they did VERY WELL I MIGHT ADD!).
If I were a contestant who just won a local, I know I’d be THRILLED to know you had invested in something to help me become a top competitor at my state pageant! What a smart way to use this service!
FAQ #4 – Why do you say there’s “limited availability”? I thought this was a digital course? Isn’t it unlimited???
Here’s the deal… The “limited availability” refers to the bonus opportunities available – not the course itself. When you purchase the course, it’s the BONUSES that are only available for a limited time. The biggest bonus at this point – is our free brand assessment for anyone who purchases the course (which is time consuming and pretty intensive on my part). I WISH I could offer all of the bonuses until the cows come home – but unfortunately, I just can’t. These special bonus offers are only available through July 31st, 2016… After that, the cows do come home, and I will need to close enrollment for a period of time until I can breathe again. 🙂
FAQ #5 – So, my sister and I both compete in pageants… Do we have to buy 2 courses?
GREAT QUESTION! And I totally get it (I have a sister myself!)!
Good News! The Build Your Pageant Brand course is intended to be “one course per household.” Therefore, if you have 4 women in your house participating in pageants (Teen, Miss, Little Miss, Mrs, Whatever!?!), I don’t expect you to purchase a course for each contestant. You’re fine to purchase one course and then have everyone who lives in your home glean the information inside. It’s all good…
FAQ #6 – Ummm…. I noticed a lot of what you do is focused on the Miss America system – and I’m competing in a different pageant system… Can this course still help me?
This is another GREAT QUESTION! The answer is YES! ESPECIALLY after seeing the new direction Miss USA seems to be headed (crowning someone like Deshauna Barber who has a KILLER brand!).
“The Branding Course” is for anyone involved in a pageant – regardless of your pageant system! Right now, the examples I offer are all of Miss America contestants, but everything inside this course is applicable to pageant systems of all shapes and sizes. And in the future, I know I’ll be updating the course and will DEFINITELY be including brands from other pageant systems.!
As a reminder, The Branding Course teaches you a system for HOW to build your Pageant Brand. The system teaches you specific tools to help with your Fundraising, your Social Media, your Platform, your Paperwork, your Interview, and how to Establish your Pageant Brand on stage. Those things can easily transfer to pageant stages beyond the Miss America program.
FAQ #7 – What’s the difference between “The Interview Course” and the “How to Build Your Pageant Brand” course?
The Branding Course is a full-scale, comprehensive, digital course with 6 modules. These modules cover every topic related to your pageant brand and teach you HOW to create, discover and grow your Pageant Brand. Topics include your Platform, Fundraising, Social Media, Paperwork and Interview. This course covers all of these 5 areas in great depth – and teaches you the system for building your pageant brand through each category. Inside the Pageant Branding Course, you get “The Interview Course” absolutely free.
The Interview Course teaches you how to communicate your Pageant Brand to the judges in a memorable way that stands out from the crowd. This course is ONLY about interview and does not offer any strategies for your platform, fundraising, social media or paperwork.
FAQ #8 – I love the Junkies… But I’m not sure I want anyone to know I’m enrolled at PJU. Is that a problem?
Nope! Not at all! At Pageant Junkies University, our enrollment list is kept 100% PRIVATE!
Nobody will ever know you’re taking this course, unless you tell someone (which of course, is totally up to you). I’m not in this for the glory… I truly believe young women can become stronger pageant contestants when they have a solid Pageant Brand – and that this training will also come in handy long after your pageant days are over (as evidenced by several PJU testimonials).
Although, to be honest – It’s going to be pretty tough to hide the results once you start applying everything you’ve learned… 🙂 Just know, your secret is safe with us!
And there you have it! If you’re ready to enroll, just visit this link right here to be connected to our enrollment page.
Do you have additional questions about Pageant Junkies University or the Build Your Brand course? If so, feel free to comment below – or email me at ThePageantJunkies@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you!