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news & views ● editorial By Erika Houvouras Positive Pageantry 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. 10 PAGEANTRY 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