Crowning Confidence: Building confidence through new experiences

I feel so blessed to have connected with the Shimmer Sparkle Shine Project and be part of this amazing organization. As the newest member to the board of directors, I want to share a few experiences that have strengthened my self-confidence.

I entered the world of pageantry in 2016 when I signed up to compete in a state pageant. I literally had no idea what I was doing. It was an experience I thought sounded fun and was something I had always wanted to try but didn’t feel I could measure up to what I thought was the definition of “pageant girl”. I decided to take a leap of faith and go for it. I placed 2nd runner-up in my first pageant. I felt I had won even if I didn’t take home the crown because I gained valuable skills through that new experience that shaped me to become a better and more confident version of myself. I learned to be confident in my skin and more importantly, that I was enough. A panel of judges could not define my worth.

I trained and worked hard the following year. I returned to compete again for the state title and I won! The moment that crown was placed on my head my life was forever changed. I had amazing opportunities to serve my community and work alongside nonprofit organizations. I was a champion of literacy as I shared my platform, Read, Lead, Succeed in schools and at community events. I encouraged students to ‘pledge with Mrs. Utah’ to read 20 minutes every day. I traveled around the state speaking to youth groups about their learning potential and self-worth. I also had the wonderful opportunity to represent Utah at a national pageant where I placed 4th runner-up.

These and many other opportunities would not have been possible had I not taken a risk and tried something new. I learned there is no such thing as a “pageant girl”. We all are blessed with amazing gifts and talents. You are uniquely YOU! Pageants taught me that there are wins and losses, when one door closes another one opens, and that my worth is not defined by anyone. I learned I am enough with or without a crown.

- Anne Forester

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