I had the privilege of being a judge in a local pageant a few weeks ago. It was an honour to be part of an event where the sole purpose of the pageant was to help young females make friends, build confidence, and have fun with an amazing prize awarded to every contestant. On my way to the pageant, I was reminiscing about all of the fun I had when I was crowned Miss Greater Vancouver and about the wonderful women I met over that weekend. When I arrived at the theater, I was greeted warmly and shown to the judging table where I had a seat waiting for me alongside the other two wonderful judges. I quickly read through the judging package to remind myself of the categories and what I was supposed to do. The different categories for judging included casual wear, costume (they had to be creative and show their personality), evening wear, talent, and the interview portion. At the time, I thought it was great that I got to judge these young females on their personality and their natural beauty instead of how well they could apply makeup and strut around in heels. Within each judging category, I had to give two scores to each girl out of 10. The first number was for the girl’s beauty (I was suppose to take points away for unnatural makeup and trying to hard) and the second number was for their personality. For the older girls, I had to give three numbers for their score, one for beauty, one for personality, and one for my overall impression.
When the first girl came out, I gave her 10 out of 10 for beauty and personality. I continued to do the same for every single girl in the pageant. I was thinking to myself, who was I to judge these young girls and say that their beauty or personality was not 10 out of 10. I thought they were ALL beautiful and I could only assume they each had wonderful personalities. It was not my place or that of any other person to judge these young women or give them the idea that they needed to compete with one another. It became obvious to me that a lot of the girls did not even want to be there and it was their parents who were standing at the sidelines pushing them through this pageant. Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely a few girls who wanted to be there, were trying extremely hard to get the judge’s attention, and wanted to prove to someone that they were more amazing than the next girl. I wanted to tell every single girl that came on stage that they were amazing exactly the way they were and did not need to impress the other judges or myself in any way to seek approval.
During the first half of the pageant, I gave 100% to all the contestants. I did not feel right giving a score less than perfect to anyone. At the intermission, the person who was in charge of tallying the scores came to the judging table asking who the judge was giving 100% to everyone and I proudly said me. This person then went on to say that I could not do that, all the girls could not get 10 out of 10 for beauty, and it was difficult for them to tally the scores and weed out the winner. I was appalled for many reasons. One, why was I asked to judge a pageant if someone was going to tell me how to judge. Two, who was this person to tell me the way I was judging, was wrong? Three, I thought this pageant was for fun and everyone came out a winner; it seemed I was wrong! Four, I was disgusted with myself for accepting to be a judge when I realized that some contestants were going to go home feeling like they lost or were inadequate because I didn’t make them the winner of this pageant. After the person finished talking about how I could not give 100% to everyone, I was extremely shocked and had no words to respond.
For the second half of the pageant, I continued scoring the way I did before the show. I refused to let someone else influence the way I felt and change the way I was judging. I was asked to be a judge, not the person tallying the scores.
This whole experience has made me think about my personal definition of beauty. I truly believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and every individual on this earth is beautiful. We are all beautiful because we are all different; we all have “flaws” and “imperfections”, we live our lives differently and face different lessons and challenges that have been given to us in this journey of life. All these little things separate us from one another and these differences are what makes us human and that is why we are ALL beautiful.
❤ Dionne Ng
Miss Greater Vancouver