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news & views ● editorial
By Erika Houvouras
T ime most certainly does ﬂy. It’s already been one
year since Carl Dunn asked me to join the
Pageantry team as editor. I’ve got to admit, I was
hesitant. Calling my teaching career full-time is an
understatement. I was skeptical about my ability to
balance this new responsibility with the massive amount I
already had on my plate. But more importantly, I was skep-
tical about the whole world of pageantry. I’ve never been
what one might call a “pageant person.” Admittedly, I had
some not-so-positive preconceptions. However, I urge my
students to be open-minded and willing to learn and expe-
rience new things, so I have to walk the walk and not just
talk the talk.
Here’s what I found out over the last year — pageantry is
positive. What do I mean by this? Let me explain. Teaching
in a large high school, I see the best and the worst of our
younger generation (I’m happy to report that there is
MUCH more good than bad). I truly believe that young
people are the lifeblood of a culture, and I’m honored to be
able to have some impact on that. However, I also notice
something troubling in our younger female generation.
There’s a competitiveness that is not always positive. I see
girls looking at their peers as rivals rather than comrades. In
an effort to build themselves up, there seems to be an un-
fortunate belief that girls must tear each other down. I have
a whole theory about the inﬂuence of reality TV in connec-
tion to this, but I won’t take you down that rabbit hole
today. So, I was concerned that in the world of pageants,
where competition is at the heart of its very nature, this ri-
valry would be exacerbated. I was wrong.
Now, I know that there is rivalry at pageants. By deﬁni-
tion, that’s the point. However, what I’ve been so pleased to
discover is the support, the comradery, and the genuine af-
fection in the pageantry community. I see young men and
women celebrating each other’s successes and accomplish-
ments. I see sincerity in the smiles of those hugging the
winners on stages. I see teamwork in the causes you pro-
mote. I see people striving to be their very best, but not
faulting or judging others for doing the very same thing.
There is a kinship in pageantry that I didn’t expect to ﬁnd,
and I’m so very pleased to witness it. So, thank you. Thank
you for teaching this teacher a lesson.
One of the most positive aspects about the articles in this
magazine is getting to know the people behind the crowns
and sashes. So often, we don’t look past the smiling face on
the screen or the page. Reading the interviews is illuminat-
ing. The authentic excitement of the former Miss France
Iris Mittenaere as she embarks on her journey as Miss Uni-
verse 2017 will make you smile. Her positivity obviously
comes from close family bonds and a passion to achieve her
goals. In her interview she mentions how surprised she was
by how supportive and helpful everyone in the Miss Uni-
verse organization has been. Like me, she too ﬁnds the pos-
itivity of those in her new world to be remarkable.
Another great thing about editing this magazine is that
the lessons just keep on coming. This edition’s ﬁtness article
provides some valuable information that I’m now using in
my own life. Staying ﬁt is deﬁnitely not as easy as it was 20
years ago, so I can appreciate Sharon Turrentine’s sensible
exercise and nutrition advice. Her personal experience is one
that I can relate to and learn from, and I’m grateful that she’s
eager to pass on her knowledge so the rest of us can beneﬁt.
Adam Hill’s article about curiosity is another great teach-
able resource. He is a teacher at heart, and his research and
expertise are impressive. It’s obvious that Adam sincerely
wants to help you grow, as a person as well as an actor. His
lessons are valuable to everyone; they are life lessons. When
he wrote, “Don’t assume you have all of the answers. Always
want to know more,” I nearly yelled, “Preach!!!” Fun fact: on
a lark I went to a psychic this year, and she told me that I
was supposed to be an actor — many times, being a teacher
is pretty dang close — so maybe I should give Adam a call!
From modeling to make up to hairstyle how-to’s, every
contributor to this magazine is trying to help you build a
better you. How much more positive can you get?
When I wrote my ﬁrst Pageantry editorial a year ago, I
ended with, “I can’t wait to see what might be!” A year later
I can say that “what might be” is pleasantly positive. Ⅺ