I was invited to be a judge at the Miss International Grand Latina Pageant this past weekend. I never thought I'd judge a beauty pageant but there I was, on a Saturday night looking at these gorgeous girls walking with confidence down the runway. The crazy thing? I loved it.
Pageants have always had a negative connotation to me because they seem superficial. However I'd never been to a pageant. So wasn't I being superficial by judging pageants without giving them a chance? Maybe Miss International Grand Latina is the exception, but I felt inspired by the end of the night! It was started by Thalia Contreras and her amazing mother as an answer to the sometimes discriminatory views of the pageant world. It gives young latin women the opportunity to serve their communities, gain confidence, and win scholarships.
Being Colombian I know how difficult it can sometimes be for young latin women. Thalia and her mother understand that and guide all the contestants as if they were family. I was moved by how close all the contestants and past winners are, and how much they love Thalia and her mother.
It reminded me of how valuable mentors are, how young women need guidance. We're living in difficult and confusing times- use the wisdom that you've gained from past experiences and pass it on. Be a positive role model for the people around you. Famous or not, we're all role models to someone.