NAM!!! National American Miss is a pageant for young girls up to age 18. This pageant inspires confidence, kindness, and poise to every girl that participates. Now, I know that I can’t say the same for every pageant, but NAM isn’t about what you look like or what you’re wearing; it’s about who you are and what you represent.
You need to be invited to be a NAM girl, but once you take part in the pageant, you’re one forever. I remember the day my invitation came in the mail. At first my mom and I were a little skeptical, but when we went to the first open call, I knew I wanted to have the experience. So when I got the e-mail saying they wanted me in their pageant, I started saving the money and working really hard to be a part of it. I babysat, did a ton of chores, and used all my birthday money. I didn’t mind, though, because i got a lot of pizza babysitting the boys down the street.
Finally, after waiting 5 long months, the pageant weekend arrived. We drove out a day in advance to the Wisconsin Dells where the pageant was taking place so we could check in early and get ready. I was so excited I was bouncing off the walls, plus I couldn’t stop talking; I can get pretty annoying, so you can only imagine how my mom, grandma, and two little sisters felt driving 2 and a half hours with me!
When we arrived at the hotel, a water park resort, we checked in and organized everything. Then we went into an informational meeting where they explained the weekend events — things like where to go, who to talk to, and, most importantly where all the events were taking place. After that there was a party for only the girls, and I was put into a group with the 2013 Miss Wisconsin Junior Queen who made all the girls feel welcome and even more excited to be there. You could tell how much she loves and enjoys being a part of the pageant, even though she has been doing it a long time. We played some get to know you games, and we just talked. That night I was definitely in my happy place; all the glam, excited energy, and attention really put me in my element.
The next night was the formal wear competition where me and my dad went up on stage and showed off my dress. The bright lights made the sequins on my dress sparkle; I wouldn’t be surprised if it blinded anybody. There were probably about 500 people in the audience. All of them were staring right at me, and all I was thinking was, “Please, please, please don’t fall…” Thankfully, I didn’t! I was really only up there for about 30 seconds, maybe 40, but it really got my adrenaline running and my heart beating; I could literally hear it pounding in my chest. When we got off the stage, my dad had to help me walk down because my dress was so long, and falling would totally be the end of me.
All in all, I think I did pretty well. The next morning at 9:30 a.m., I had to be dressed and ready to give my introduction speech in front of all the other girls and their families, so I was a nervous wreck. I just had to remember not to show it. My last name starts with a “W,” so I was one of the last girls to go up. There were 118 girls in my age division, so I waited about an hour and a half to give a 30 second speech about myself. All of the girls were pretty impressive, and that’s why they were there.
When I walked out on that stage, my nerves were going crazy. I could feel myself shaking. As I started, my nerves slowly went down so I could work it. When I finished my introduction, I was so grateful that I had made it through without a big mistake. When I stepped off the stage, there was a man there to help us off, and I needed his assistance because I had started shaking again. But this time I was shaking so violently that I swear I would have fallen if he wasn’t there.
After that I waited about another hour to be interviewed about who I was and about my opinions on various things — like what qualities do I look for in a leader and what makes me happy. I have to say that the interviews were not as stressful as the introduction, but only one person was listening to me at a time. So, of course, I answered the questions as best I could and hoped for the best.
Later that day I was taught a dance to perform during the crowning ceremony. Me and a group of girls danced to “Applause” by Lady Gaga. It was a very fun and happy dance, and I was surprised that we all remembered the dance as well as we did. After the dance, we had about one minute to change backstage into our formal wear and get back onto the stage for crowning. My dress was a lace up style in the back, so it was really hard to lace it up and make it look good in 1 minute. When the names were announced, I didn’t win anything. At first I was super disappointed, but now I’m really happy I did it. I’m proud of myself, and I can’t wait until next year!
Lucy Wolf-Brown is an honors student in the 8th grade at Longfellow Middle School in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, where she also serves on the Wauwatosa Youth Commission, collaborating with others to make decisions about her community. In her free time, she loves to play volleyball, act in plays, babysit, and hang out with friends and family. She was recently a state finalist for the Wisconsin National American Miss pageant.