The word pageant can evoke many negative words such as fake, beauty contest, and cat-fights. However, Miss Mary Hardin-Baylor pageant, which is Nov. 6-7 this year, focuses on sincere friendships, genuine beauty and Christian fellowship.
“The ultimate goal of pageant is to highlight the inner beauty of the contestants and to bring glory to the Father. If pageant becomes a biting competition or a selfish endeavor, it will not be successful,” said Pageant
Director Audrey Chumchal, senior Biblical studies major.
Before 1967, the pageant was titled The Bluebonnet Beauty Pageant and featured a swimsuit competition. The contestants were judged on their “All American Girl” qualities of charm, poise, grooming, beauty and personality. The winner went on to represent the university at the Miss Texas Pageant. Today, Miss MHB showcases contestants who were nominated by different organizations and residence halls on campus to compete in talent, evening gown and interview on stage.
For many girls, pageant is a way for them to form friendships with people
they may never speak to otherwise. The idea of becoming friends within the competition is something that is rarely seen in standard beauty pageants.
Miss Junior Class Melody Haynes an elementary education major said, “The friendships I have made in pageant are ones that I know will continue outside of pageant. Every contestant is there for each other.”
Throughout the seven week practice schedule, daily devotions and spiritual encouragement are poured into the contestants’ lives. Unlike the worldly views of beauty pageants, Miss MHB is focused and centered on Christ and giving him the glory.
Miss Johnson Hall Rachel Jaster, a sophomore social work major has been reminded to step out of her comfort zone and to do her best.
“I live a new life in Christ—one that is not timid and afraid, but ‘of power, of love, and self-discipline’,” said Jaster.
Pageant can be a very stressful time for many girls with practices three times a week for three hours at a time. Balancing class schedules, studying for tests and being involved with other campus activities can present many challenges and force contestants to learn time management.
“When the girls are authentic with each other and themselves, true community is established and having that will get them through the hard work leading up to pageant as well as the pageant nights,” said Contestant Committee Head Allison Hankins, a junior elementary education major.
This year’s theme is “A Night in Morocco” chosen by Chumchal because she wanted to share her passion for missions with UMHB and the community. The event will take place at 7:00 p.m. each night in W.W. Walton Chapel.
Tickets for one night are $7 and for two nights are $10.
The 2009 Miss Mary Hardin- Baylor Brianna Edwards, a junior Christian ministry major, has plenty of advice to offer the contestants.
“Don’t let yourself stress out, otherwise you are going to focus on the stress,” she said. “And before you know it the experience has completely passed you by.”