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Don’t let someone who doesn’t share your vision for your future have the final say.   When you are pursuing a dream and a goal, you will be presented with so many different opinions about how to get there, your head will swim.

A special report in Fourpoints Magazine aimed at contestants in the upcoming 2010 Miss America Pageant  stresses the importance of understanding who you are and of always being true to yourself, regardless of the advice and opinions of others. 

Sometimes we make assumptions about the expectations of others and try  to mold ourself to those expectations.  Then we discover that our assumtions were wrong.  When you follow your heart and trust your instincts you will usually come out ahead.  At the very least your sense of self will be strengthened.  When you are true to yourself, you feel validated and whole, not torn apart by the conflicting advice of others.

Though many misconstrue the intent of the Miss America Pageant, believing that if focuses predominantly on physical attractiveness, in truth, the judges are looking for that young woman who exemplifies a broad range of skills and personality traits.  As the FourPoints article explains, the job description for Miss America describes a woman charged with the responsibility of representing the best of contemporary womanhood – one who is comfortable in all kinds of settings with all kinds of people, who is someone worth looking up to and that has the ability to make a difference in people’s lives.  That’s a daunting task for anyone, let alone a young woman between the ages of seventeen and twenty-four.

A lot of beautiful women vie for the crown each year.  So why not crown them all?  So the judges look for those inner qualities of poise, confidence, intelligence and heart-based charm, all of which override mere physical attractiveness.  When they spot a contestant who shines with integrity and honors who she is, she could be wearing a flour sack and they will add her to their list of finalists.

Authenticity is the most effective cosmetic you can wear.  When you are true to yourself you honor everyone who you make contact with.  Remember that there is more than one right answer about how to achieve your dreams and you are the most important opinion maker when deciding which one is the best one for you.

When I launched my book, Pretty Smart: Lessons from our Miss Americas at the Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas, I sat behind a display table and watched as a parade of people walked by.  So many stopped and talked with me and bought a copy of Pretty Smart, or even several copies.  I was happy to autograph each one and hear a bit about everyone’s stories – from executive directors of local and state pageants, to young women involved in a variety of competitions and the proud parents and family members of  current contestants as well as people who are just passionate about the Miss America pageant and what it can do for young women.

Dozens asked to take a picture with me – that’s when I felt like a minor celebrity.  And my ever supportive husband Bob whipped out his camera and took pictures too.  Though I don’t remember everyone’s name, I do remember the warm conversations and friendly interchanges. Here are some of the photos.  I’ll be posting more over the next couple of weeks. So stay tuned!

Dewana Little, ED of Miss Louisiana

Dewana Little, ED of Miss Louisiana

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