In January of this year, my sister announced that she was going to participate in Junior Miss, the scholarship program, or, as I like to call it, "St. Anthony's beauty pageant."
Needless to say, I was not too excited for her. Actually, I'll be straight up. I was completely shocked. My mom never let us wear makeup and told us we didn't need to, because that's what her mom told her. So I went through my entire high school career without makeup — and I probably would have done the same thing at college if I didn't have roommates who wouldn't stand for it.
My sister has taken my mom's advice to heart: she's a tomboy that wouldn't be caught dead wearing eye shadow if Mary Kay (may she rest in peace) herself dropped it off at the door. Don't get me wrong — she's gorgeous and she doesn't need "paint by numbers," as my dad calls it. But I wasn't exactly thrilled that she was going to be in a program where girls buy prom dresses and focus on smiling until their cheeks hurt. According to Drop Dead Gorgeous, that's what Vaseline is really for.
But tonight, after only four hours of girls playing the piano, singing show tunes, reciting poetry, clogging, strutting in prom dresses and answering questions about the attributes they had received from their parents, I realized how proud I was of my sister. She was graceful. She was still as shy as ever, but she sang her heart out despite a sore throat and her fear of musical choreography.
Lauren is a beautiful girl, but tonight she was radiant. She looked so happy and bubbly (and competent, unlike me) during the fitness portion, and she walked around in a sparkly white dress like Audrey Hepburn — with absolute poise and classic style.
And you know what? Even if she hadn't won scholarship, fitness and "be your best self" awards, I still would have been fiercely proud of her — because she is a strong, independent girl, and she's more beautiful on the inside than on the outside.
I didn't do Junior Miss, because I felt like it was a beauty pageant and a mold that I would never fit into. And I feel like that was the right decision for me. But for the second runner up that's glowing at home right now, Junior Miss was the right decision. I'm just happy I was able to see a shy, unassuming girl become a princess for a night.