I used to be terrified to wear a swimsuit in public. Honestly, I used to be terrified to just try one on in the privacy of a Target dressing room. I didn’t like my body. Correction: I HATED my body. I was never “in shape” in my life. I’ve been a small person, but I had plenty of places where things bulged and rolled. I still do.
I wasn’t blessed with a “bounce back” body after either pregnancy. The baby weight stuck to me like glue, and even though my youngest is 3 years old, I still have some baby weight hanging on. I have to work, HARD, at health and nutrition. I love all things bad for you and would rather take a nap then workout. I have to push myself and keep my goals in mind each and every day. Once I get into a routine, my body craves the gym. Getting into that routine? HARD my friends, hard.
So, competing in a pageant system that has a swimsuit portion terrified me. I’m still not at my ideal shape, my legs jiggle, I don’t have a thigh gap. I have cellulite. I have stretch marks. I’m HUMAN.
Even so, I panicked at that thought of wearing a swimsuit on a stage in front of an audience, with judges JUDGING me. All eyes on me. Looking at all my “imperfections”.
I used to have the misunderstanding that the swimsuit portion was judged solely on who was the most fit. It’s a common misconception. The more I learned about pageantry, the more I learned the truth behind the swimsuit portion. Let me drop the truth on you…it’s about YOU! It’s about getting on that stage and OWNING it! It’s about showing your confidence regardless of what you’re wearing. It’s about having fun and embracing your body. It's about showing your energy and personality. And I LOVED it!
If the system you’re in allows you to choose your own swimsuit style, start early and shop around. For the Miss Pennsylvania for America pageant, we had to wear a royal blue one-piece. I bought FIVE swimsuits. Yep, 5. I practiced walking around in each to see which would make me feel the most confident. I LOVED my swimsuit. I felt AMAZING in it. I felt CONFIDENT. What’s important to keep in mind is that the clothes don’t make the girl, the girl makes the clothes. I felt confident in my swimsuit because I felt confident in myself. Despite my legs jiggling, not having a thigh gap, having cellulite and stretch marks, I felt beautiful. I felt confident. I felt PROUD of my accomplishments. There is no “perfect body”.
Truth be told, I feel more confident now in my 30's after having two kids than I ever did in my pre-baby 20's. Walking the stage in a swimsuit doesn’t terrify me anymore. I'm still working on my health and fitness journey, but I am LOVING the skin I'm in.
Miss Pennsylvania for America 2019
Photo credit: Eireann Photogoraphy
Hair and MUA: Makeup Artistry by Rachael
Tan: Bella Sorrel