20 Years with American Pageants

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

2019 National Titleholders - photo by My Heart's Desire

20 years.


Besides a few friendships, 20 years is the longest I’ve ever committed to anything in my life. 2 weeks ago I was at the 35th Anniversary of American Pageants, formerly known as Miss Teen of America.


My affiliation with the program was in 1998 when my Mom convinced me to be in this scholarship program called Little Miss of SD. From contestant to honor court member in the Teen division, I went on to choreograph, emcee, judge, direct at the state level, and then at some point recruited judges for our state, regional, and national pageant.


This program has been my consistent and familiar long after leaving my parents home, it’s the 1 thing I’ve taken with me on the journey of a dozen zip codes from South Dakota (minus my car, but even she was put to rest in November).


The program took a break with the transition of leadership and I won’t forget in April of 2016, getting a call from our President that she wanted me on the team. I had just quit a job I hated and moved to my dream city San Francisco while I shared a home with 4 other people. I was hustling as much as I could on the side and in my work as a Fashion Design Advisor to live in the most expensive city in America (We had just surpassed New York City - Manhattan). This offer was a piece of home that to me in a space I was just easing into.


It is easy to list off the reasons why I love this program. From recognizing all girls and women for their achievements, the lifelong friendships, teaching girls/women that we are not each other’s competition - that we are our biggest competition,  the life skills - interviewing, resumes, and personal development...all fundamentals that are evident everywhere in our pageant’s history and present. That’s just the shortlist.


But I think it’s more than what’s on our social media, it goes beyond how it prepared me for a college essay or a job interview, it's prepared me for womanhood:


I text our President a week after the pageant that if it weren’t for some of the advice I had gotten from her and the friends I’ve made in this program, I would have settled in my life - in every aspect. I think I would have taken the first good life that presented itself. But that first path was not meant for me at 18 when I graduated high school, at 22 when I moved to Los Angeles, or at 24 when I finished graduate school, or now at 29 - where I am just feeling like life is just getting started!


This pageant has kept my character accountable. It’s really easy to cut corners and to copy/paste what’s out there. It’s easy to not be original and to replicate what’s been done. I would have made very different life choices in college, in relationships, and in situations that I could have taken an easier path, and no one would have known. But that wouldn’t have been nearly as satisfying. On this same note, it also taught me to take RISKS. To explore, discover, to find what works for me. There are so many paths out there, that this pageant family no matter what decision I've made (even if they disagreed) has supported my journey of becoming.


Finally, this pageant taught me to CELEBRATE. We get so caught up in achievement, that achievement becomes the benchmark in all that we do. It’s why I’ve felt devastated after break ups, dissolving friendships, etc. Because I’ve been trained my entire life that achievement is what matters, and everything including things related to the human heart has a formula for winning…and obviously finding out that couldn’t be further from the truth. And by all means, achievement matters, it’s just not the only thing that matters. This pageant is a reminder to pause, and to recognize how far we’ve come...and that we can achieve, list out everything on a resume, and so forth, but what value is that if we can’t appreciate ourselves?

My trophies, plaques, tiaras, and sashes sit with dust at my parents house. But everything I’ve mentioned here are the most valued things someone can say about me - that I don't settle, my character matters, & that I celebrate the achievements of others and myself.


American Pageants & our AP fam, thank you for a decorated 20 years. I love the way you’ve shaped my womanhood in every possible way.

American Pageants, 2 years in a row has been named Top 10 Teen Pageant & Top 10 Best National Pageant by the Pageant Planet.

2017 Highlight Reel

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

You can read what I claimed 2017 to be back in January, and here is what it actually was...More or less I stuck with my 2017 theme. I used my year to invest in relationships, projects, and things I already had.

It was a year of reunions, sacred traditions, and internally focused. 2017 was about staying, rooted, rituals, and the adventure of consistency and steadiness. It was the year I needed; stay with me for my 2017 highlight reel...

Jayme Alexis LLC:
After working for a talent agency for 10 years, my mentors encouraged me to do my own thing. To not work based off commission and to go referral only. It's been a bumpy road, but I have made fewer, but stronger connections in my side hustle that I hope one day could be a full-time hustle.
Former client's Spring 2017 collection that was headed for NY Fashion Week
Miss Covina: 5 years with this program as a committee member, coming back to volunteer as Judges Chair felt like coming back to see family! Miss Covina is a preliminary pageant for Miss California.
Miss Covina 2017 court
28th B-day: Smorgus board of people. It felt like a Monterey Bay and Bay area reunion for all the parts of my life - work, church, pageantry, and the random people I dated (ha).
Canvas Small Group Crew
When your first set of students become your real friends...scary I know...
Family visits: My mom and 2 cousins came to visit San Francisco. I LOVE when my family can experience this city I call home!
Lands end with my forced best friends (cousins)
My wonderful Momma who has now been 1.5 years cancer free!
10 year High School reunion: Most people wouldn't be excited. But I genuinely liked most of the people I went to school with. The 4th of July is when everyone comes home to celebrate America's birthday and that is exactly what we did. We rode in our town parade, watched fireworks, and went to many rodeos. Two of my home team members (One from college, one from pageantry) also came to visit me during the 4th and it was the first time in years where half my home team was in one spot!
Class of 2007
Half my home team at the 4th of July Rodeo! Katie (College), Becky (Pageants), Caitlin (High School)
1 year at SFSU: I made it past 1 year at SFSU. I have been VERY fortunate to call my colleagues my friends as well and people I rely on and adore. I also am bias, but I have enjoyed working with SFSU students - they are fierce, much smarter than I ever was in college, and super extra and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Fall Training 2017!
Night out on the town. PC: J. Gomez
2017-2018 Tower Patch Kids

2016-2017 Area Coordinator Squad!

2016-2017 Tower Rangers
1 concert per year tradition w. Hive: I met Alex & Sondra (We missed Alli!) in my first professional job at Cal State Monterey Bay. They were like my big siblings and each year we go to 1 concert - Ingrid Michaelson (3 times), Jason Aldean, & Luke Bryan. I was so happy we carried on our tradition and kept it classy with wine in a canteen.

American Pageant Nationals: I have been affiliated with Miss Teen of America and its sister programs since 1998, but it was a full circle to become keynote and Judges Chair for this year's national program in Orlando. I also got to see my friend Cara Mund, current Miss America!
Miss America - Cara Mund
Judging Panel for American Pageants
2018 American Pageant National Titleholders

San Francisco night life:...I'd be lying if I didn't mention this year was wild...and one day when I'm 50 and can actually publicly speak about all the things that went down...I'll post it. It will make my future children very uncomfortable and I cannot wait. But to put it tamely, I enjoyed all the nights out partying in San Francisco this year that led to some....laugh until I cry stories...and also stories I cringe when I hear them being told by my friends.
Hip Hop Party August 2017
Village/Towers Reunion
Love life: Shout out to all the guys who loved me this year...and who spent time with me...and who they let me into their lives too...their families homes and let me make real connections with their closest friends. It takes courage to date in this day and age and share your life. To the ones I am genuinely friends with - cheers to finding what we want and need. 2017 brought some good humans into my world...and some not so good ones...and that's okay, I didn't know my heart could bounce back and be such a bad @$$.
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