Abby Hayman of Canton wants to make one thing clear: not all pageants are like what you see on TV’s “Toddlers and Tiaras.” The 13-yearold, who will be entering eighth grade next year at Mill Springs Academy in Alpharetta, recently participated in the Georgia pageant of National American Miss, a three-day event held at the Cobb Galleria.
Miss Hayman began participating in pageants within the last year, with this being her third time competing. All of the pageants she has entered have one thing in common – they are not the “GLITZ” pageants that we have all become familiar with recently on television. They are scholarship pageants in the style of the Miss America competition, which considers talent, personality, and general poise while downplaying dramatic hair and makeup. In fact, the National American Miss pageant allows NO makeup on contestants under the age of 12.
In this most recent pageant, Miss Hayman competed in the required categories of formal wear, interview, personal introduction, and community service. School grade averages are submitted as part of the selection consideration.
She also participated in the optional categories of talent, photogenic, and acting. All this required hours of practice and commitment working with teachers and coaches throughout the process. Probably the most fun for Miss Hayman were the acting competition, where she was asked to re-enact a current television commercial for Target, and the talent competition, where she performed “Part of Your World” from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”
Abby’s parents Scott and Linda were a little hesitant at first about the pageant scene. Even after they did their homework on what was involved, they had to endure the friendly taunts of their friends and family regarding the potential Toddlers and Tiaras angle. Abby’s mom Linda is thrilled with the poise and self-confidence her daughter gained, even though she admits the process may have been more grueling on her than her daughter.
The moral to this story?
Miss Hayman did not win in any of the top categories but she enjoyed and relished the experience, making new friends and learning skills that will benefit her throughout life. After hearing about all the preparation, one neighbor remarked “how neat, she will be so prepared in the future for job interviews and public speaking,” to which her mom replied, “I know, she is better than I was when I got out of college.”
Perhaps one of the best indications that this was a positive experience for Abby is her resolve to continue competing. She wants to enter next year’s National American Miss Pageant, as well as other competitions. The remark she made to her mom shortly after the pageant is the most telling: “I didn’t win, but I feel like I did.”