Me while looking at new contestant pictures last year for Mrs. US Universal: "Wait, What!!! She's competing?! She is zoo o pretty!!! OMG….OMG… I don't stand a chance….Oh WOW!! Look at how amazing get hair is!!! Awwww man….I'm not so sure about this…SOme of them have been doing this ALL their LIFE!!!

My reaction while looking at new contestant pictures last year for Mrs. US Universal: “Wait, What!!! She’s competing?! She is sooooo pretty!!! OMG….OMG…….Oh WOW!! Look at how amazing her hair is!!! Geez she looks AMAZING!!! Awwww man….I’m not so sure about this…Some of them have been doing this ALL their LIFE!!!

18SEP2015 New Orleans

OK, first let me admit that I did in fact do this last year. When I was looking for pageant systems to try to researched ALL the past winners and studied their pictures and public profiles. Not because I’m a creep, but because I wanted to see if I fit in with who they have already chosen as winners. Was I pretty enough? Was I tall enough? Did I have enough experience? Were my pictures just as good as theirs? More often then not I walked away feeling nervous and scared. Why? Well because I let myself get all worked up by focusing on the wrong thing. THE OTHER CONTESTANTS.

You are only competing with your own best self. You are your competition; no one else. You must be inner focused to realize your own weaknesses so that you can make them your new strengths and you can’t do that if you are focused on how many titles another contestant has won in the past, how amazing someone else looks in a bikini or how perfect her hair is or how fabulous her headshot is…. All it does is create doubt and can lower your own self-esteem.

Remember that there is a person behind all these perfect pictures. The person behind the picture is who is competing. NOT the picture. They also have goals, they have overcome struggles and they have a story. They also have insecurities and fears. Behind every picture is a unique person, who may or may not show themselves to be more beautiful in person than they could ever be in a photo.

We are all gorgeous and at times insecure, but we are also all successful women. As such, none of us got to where we are now by doubting our abilities and ourselves. We are ALL strong and beautiful. Someone else’s beauty does not take away from yours. You will always shine and stand out because you are YOU and there is only ONE OF YOU. Focus on being the BEST YOU.

So stop worrying if all the other ladies are in better shape, and stop obsessing over how many crowns and titles all the other contestants have and stop believing that you are not what we are looking for. Bottom line: If you are an inspired, sincere, honorable woman that takes her career, family, and community seriously; then you ARE what we are looking for. We are not looking for a specific size, shape or color. We are looking for the complete package wrapped in whatever makes her feel her absolute best.