Miss Colombia (2019), © Lucia Saldarriaga Photo
Everyone keeps asking me about the pageant. What started as complete curiosity & a new goal when I learned about the competition (those goals included: challenging myself and my public speaking skills, performing again, meeting some interesting and like-minded women because… #YOLO), wellllll…it turned out to be all that and much more. Let’s continue with a little backstory. Way back (many moons ago) when I started acting at ASDS, a naive (-really shy & insecure-) 21 year old me listened to my acting coach Craig Bacon say, “Your smile hides a lot of pain. I can see it, it doesn’t fool me!” He was right. But, over the years I’ve come to realize that I think a lot of identifying women smile behind a lot more pain than we let on. Many of us are conditioned (subconsciously or consciously) to, “be nice/polite/sweet/play nice/just go along with it…etcetera.”
So, in honor of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, I won’t stay silent. This time, I will not hide behind the (pageant) smile. I won’t stay silent for the other strong women who I met and I won’t stay silent for my past pain and experiences (there’s too many to divulge in one post), so here’s the unfiltered and honest truth. It was bullshit of the highest degree. I quit the pageant before I could walk across the stage of the World Competition. That’s right. I did not walk across the stage of the World Competition that I had prepared and meticulously rehearsed and trained for after all of these months. But…why?
I made the choice because the whole week was a horrible scam. Over 100+ beautiful women from all over the world were promised a 5 star resort, a great “professional” international pageant, “professional” photos, proper training, pageant interviews, I’m sure you see where this is going. Quoting from one of the pageant women, “what followed once we all reached the destination was a stay in a shady 2 star hotel in a seedy area of Naples far from the center, no drinking water, crap food, no bathroom breaks, pretty inhumane treatment. Nothing that was promised was delivered.” The straw that broke the camels back (for me) was when I watched as one of the relatives of the owner pushed and hit one of the contestants. Once I saw that, my choice was easy…I was NOT walking across that stage and competing. Actually, a bunch of us quit and then more of us continued to quit. The mental, emotional and physical violence that escalated was straight out of a movie. This whole operation (Miss Europe Continental Pageant or Miss Europe Continental World -where I was representing Colombia) is an INTERNATIONAL SCAM that has been operating for years. It was really unsafe. If you’re looking to participate in a pageant, I strongly advise that you research and participate in a safer and more organized pageant.
I’m standing strong with my pageant sisters tonight. While I can only control my choices and my decisions -at my core, that is what my feminism looks like (equality in the world, equality and safety in the workplace -whatever the industry or work space looks like- and women who have each other’s backs, who stand together and are not afraid to speakkkkkkkkk uppppppppp). I will not be intimidated.
I hope to be able to participate in a proper pageant sometime in the future. In the meantime, stay tuned for more updates…
Most importantly, STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN. I will say it again, STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN!!!!! Love you all, thanks & goodnight. <3