I’m no Miss America, no Miss Minnesota- not even Miss Congeniality, but I have gained an enormous amount of experience from my ambassador roles as Miss Waconia, a Minneapolis Aquatennial Ambassador Princess and Princess Kay of the Milky Way. I served nearly three consecutive years advocating for communities, groups and programs in which I firmly believe beginning my senior year of high school. From these opportunities, I have gained what I believe to be invaluable insight for any hopeful young woman competing in the future, especially the dedicated dairy advocates of Minnesota that are preparing for the Leadership and Promotion Weekend (May Event). More likely than not, this will not be the first time you have heard some of these messages, however, I have chosen to share the ones that have lingered in my mind for countless hours and, ultimately, propelled me to where I am today.
You are not and will not be perfect.
Congratulations! You’re a human. In regards to interviews, welcome to the What-Did-I-Just-Say-In-There? and I-Can’t-Believe-I-Just-Said-That club. I’ve failed, forgotten and flopped on numerous occasions. Who hasn’t? It’s obvious that no one is perfect, but too often we let our minds erase this important detail when we assess our answers, give ourselves constructive criticism, or even when we look up to role models and inspirational figures. What’s the remedy? When you leave the interview room, leave your answers there, too. At that point, you will have already done the constructive criticism part and experienced the frustration of practicing tough questions. Give yourself a pat on the back (literally) and know you did your best. You don’t want your interview answers weighing down on your awesome experience.
Want the crown, envision the crown, be the crown.
This delightful piece of advice was given to me by my sister, and it’s one of my favorites. It applies to every aspect of life- if you want it, be it and act accordingly. Think interview: Walk into the room as the titleholder; hold yourself with the poise and elegance you imagine fits the part. Answer questions as if you’ve already been selected for the position. Think casual setting: You must remember to be your best and show your best at ALL times. Would you want your role model to talk poorly of other contestants, make snide remarks or isolate themselves from the group? No- act accordingly. This is a powerful tip, but can come off really bad. For that reason, NEVER articulate this advice- Keep this one to yourself. Mental high-fives.
If it’s meant to be, it will be.
Every ounce of me believes in this priceless piece of advice. I believe that God has divinely created a plan for each and everyone of us, and said plan includes successes and try agains, tears of joy and tears of sadness, dreams fulfilled and dreams redirected. There are no failures, just moments to learn, grow and find our next steps in His intended direction. If you don’t get the job or crown, I truly believe there is something more, something better out there for you. Keep your chin high and know that you’ve got great things yet to come.
You are applying for a job, not a crown.
Everyone wants the crown, not everyone wants the job. It’s funny how you fill out paperwork to compete… almost like a real job- Possibly the most obvious of my tips, but also the most overlooked. Do you know, understand and want the position you are applying for? Forget family tradition, friends competing and societal pressure. What do YOU want? While you never truly know what you are getting yourself into when applying for a job, you should have a pretty good idea. Can you handle it? Does it work with your life? Are you willing to rearrange your schedule and forego some social outings? Do you want it? A life with rhinestones unquestionably looks glamorous and fun from an outsider’s perspective, and while it is glamorous and fun, it is also challenging, time-consuming and exhausting. Yes, you will probably have to give up some personal time. Yes, you have to be “on” a LOT. And, yes, you will not love every part of it right away (for me, it was all the driving). If you think you can handle that and still want to be an ambassador, you will find that the sweat, sleepiness and struggles are some of the most rewarding moments you will ever experience. So, don’t think of your crown as a tiara; think of it as a sparkly name badge you wear on your head.
You did not WIN, you were SELECTED.
One of my biggest pet peeves that journalist and reporters seem to always get wrong: ambassadors did not win, they were selected. The minor word change makes a world of a difference. Have you heard Tim McGraw’s Humble and Kind yet? If not, take a listen. Never take for granted the opportunities you have been given, especially when it comes to competitions. On any given day or any switch of a judge, that crown could have landed on someone else’s head. Period. Remain kind, give thanks, be humble.
You don’t need a crown and sash.
It may seem contradictory to a previous tip, but I assure you that they all work well together. It doesn’t matter what you are competing for or what group you are representing. What does matter is why you are doing it. I’m going to take the high road and say that every ambassador competes because they love what the program stands for and represents (or at least wants to discover more). If this is what is in your heart, you already know this advice. The fact of the matter is nothing in life can stop us from advocating for what we believe in- not even a crown and sash. Yes, there are perks to being selected, but if you believe in what your doing, those perks are smaller than pebbles in the ocean. Focus and question what you truly stand for and love about what you are representing because that alone will take your further than any silky sash or rhinestoned tiara.