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  • Writer's pictureTori Leto

What I Learned from Pageantry

Tori Leto, Miss Tampa 2022, Miss City Beautiful 2024, Miss America Opportunity

Life is Subjective

One of the most important lessons I've learned in pageantry is that life is subjective. This realization hit me when I understood that my worth and identity are not defined by others' perceptions. It's not my job to mold myself into a version I think others will like, nor is it my responsibility to convince anyone to like me. True happiness and fulfillment come from within, from genuinely liking and accepting oneself. Pageantry has taught me to embrace my unique qualities and to stand firm in my authenticity, regardless of external opinions.

Prioritize Your Opinion of Yourself

In the world of pageantry, you are constantly bombarded with opinions and advice from countless people. While feedback can be valuable, it's crucial to prioritize your own opinion of yourself above all else. Making yourself happy and proud should be your primary goal. This means recognizing whose opinions truly matter and whose can be disregarded. Ultimately, self-satisfaction and pride in one's achievements are what drive personal fulfillment and success.

Be Certain About Your Identity

Confidence in one's identity, beliefs, and values is essential in pageantry and life. Entering any room or conversation with unwavering certainty in who you are ensures that you remain grounded and authentic. This confidence is not about arrogance but about a deep understanding and acceptance of oneself. Knowing who you are and standing by your values, regardless of external pressures, cultivates a sense of inner strength and stability.

There is Room for the Beauty and Success of Others

Pageantry has also taught me that there is ample room for everyone to succeed. Another person's beauty and achievements do not diminish my own. Comparison, often called the thief of joy, can lead to unnecessary feelings of inadequacy. Instead, I've learned to appreciate and celebrate others' successes while recognizing and valuing my own unique journey. By doing so, I maintain a positive mindset and a supportive community spirit.

Winning is More Than a Crown

Winning in pageantry goes beyond the physical symbols of a crown, sash, or title. True victory lies in the personal growth, learning, and new perspectives gained throughout the experience. Often, these come in greater abundance through failure rather than success. Embracing failure as a part of the journey has allowed me to grow stronger and wiser, appreciating the process rather than just the outcome.

Embrace Failure

Finally, pageantry has taught me to be comfortable with failure. The reality is that you will fail, over and over again. But each failure is a stepping stone toward success. Being proud of the effort you put in, regardless of the outcome, is more than many can say. Trying, learning, and growing from these experiences are what truly matter. Embracing failure with grace and resilience has been one of the most valuable lessons from my pageantry journey.

Yes, I learned these lessons through pageantry, but these themes apply far beyond that world—they are relevant to all women, everywhere. Embracing these principles is essential for cultivating joy and self-acceptance in a world that is constantly comparing, criticizing, and complaining. I hope you have already learned some of these lessons or are prepared to do so. For me, it took a lot of painful growth to understand these truths, but the journey has been worth it. By embracing your true self and valuing your own opinions and growth, you can find genuine happiness and fulfillment.

Congratulations to Miss Florida 2024, Casana Fink, and Miss Florida Teen 2024, Ireland Harkins!

Congratulations to all of the Miss Florida Class of 2024

Reilly Cardella - Miss Apopka

Emily Scapecchi - Miss Broward County

Heather Sterchele - Miss Central Florida

Tori Leto - Miss City Beautiful (Top 16)

Jecelyn Torres - Miss First Coast

Alana Scheuerer - Miss Florida Citrus (Top 5)

Takiyah Belfort - Miss Florida Everglades

Taylor Leidel - Miss Florida Sunshine

Kylie Beck - Miss Freedom

Victoria Hummel - Miss Ft. Lauderdale

Halle Burton - Miss Gainesville (Top 5)

Caroline Schapansky - Miss Georgefest

Kaysha Florvil - Miss Golden Glades (Top 16)

Ainsleigh Mahan - Miss Heart of Florida

Monise Marie Harris - Miss Homestead

Jayda Galmore - Miss Jacksonville

Megan Price - Miss Lakeland (Top 16)

Juliana Fray - Miss Manatee County (Top 16)

Annie McGrath - Miss Miami

Ellee Kennedy - Miss Miami Beach

Autumn Williams - Miss Miami Gardens

Bailee Perdue - Miss North Florida (Top 10)

Paris Richardson - Miss Northeast Florida (Top 5)

Tia Unsell - Miss Ocala (Top 16)

Ryleigh Taylor - Miss Orange Blossom

Amber Boykin - Miss Orlando

Sophia Coffey - Miss Palm Beach County

Payton Barrington - Miss Polk County (Top 10)

Maci Miotto - Miss River City

Dominga Murray - Miss South Florida (Top 5)

Hannah Micheals - Miss South Florida Fair

Emma Manthos - Miss St. Augustine (Top 10)

Ashley Klement - Miss Swan City (Top 16)

Casana Fink - Miss Tampa, (Miss Florida 2024)

Angelina Eidson - Miss University of Florida

Alexandra de Roos - Miss Winter Haven (Top 10)

Lindsey Franxman - Miss Winter Park (Top 10)

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1 Comment

Jul 05

Well put Tori. You are growing leaps and bounds

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