I would occasionally have random train of thoughts on the way to work since I commute via train and there’s nothing much to do besides surfing the net or reading a book. And considering how packed the train gets during peak hours, reading a book can be challenging when you have one hand holding onto the rail and the other, to guard your personal belongings. Just last week, I was reflecting on my current situation in life – how I took a leap and switched from advertising to corporate. And also how things are with the blog and married life.
A few years ago, I hadn’t quite figured out my purpose in life. I had dreams of hosting a food and travel show, and like many other girls, took the route of joining beauty pageants. I was driven to win because it was my ticket to achieving those goals – a fast track, or so I thought. Obviously, it wasn’t meant to be.
Like the rest of the finalists, I worked hard mentally, physically and emotionally. Because when you enter the finals, the competition can get to even the most confident of girls. You may think you have the whole package but so does the rest of the 19 girls you’re competing with. After all, they wouldn’t be in the finals if they didn’t have what it takes to win.
I remember how difficult some of the judges were towards me and how some of the comments affected me, even until today. “What place does a writer have in a pageant?” “You may be the master of the pen, but do you know how to master the crown?” I was rather offended by these two comments because it was as though I was being punished for doing something other than modelling. Some of the comments included how ‘petite’ I was for the competition (roll eyes), how I needed higher heels because my frame was smaller compared to many of the girls etc…you get the drift.
Took me some time to get over the disappointment of failing to achieve what I set out to do and recover the confidence I had after so much self-doubt and loathing from all the scrutiny from judges and media. I went back to normal life soon after – focusing on the blog and also building a career in corporate.
Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t win the pageant. Not winning forced me to work harder in life. I put in the hours in growing the blog and proved my worth at the office like the rest of the people. It wasn’t easy especially during those self-doubt moments where I questioned life and the obstacles it threw at me. But I like to think that going through this passage made me a better and stronger person.
I managed to build something for myself without relying on a pageant platform and while this took longer to see results, my accomplishments seem more sustainable than relying on a title. I would rather be Bangsar Babe with a budding career, than a former pageant title holder with no work experience or accomplishments, beyond sashaying on stage.
To those who want to try your luck in pageants, by all means, go for it! It’s a completely different experience altogether. But know that there’s more to life than winning the title. The pageant may be a platform for you to achieve your dreams, but it is definitely not the only way for you to get there.
As for me, I’m happy with how things worked out (more like, didn’t work out) for me. At least I know I’m capable of doing things without the backing of a tiara. And to those judges who ‘raised concerns’ about me being just a master of the pen, thank you for reminding me of my greatest gift yet. That pen has taken me quite far. ;)