Woke up this morning to see an article online, published to spotlight my incredible chaperone back in my pageant days - Miss Sandra Wallace! She's nurtured many contestants under her savvy eyes and wings, and there have been plenty crowns to match her expertise, including my own.
While the article was a great read, for me it didn't do justice to the full package of a chaperone she was to me, going beyond the glitter, gowns and grooming to a full-on lasting, impactful, positive and enjoyable set of experiences. I was only 18 (basically a baby) when I entered my first pageant - The National Carnival Queen Pageant (Miss St. Kitts) - and I 'naively' trusted Sandra with every single detail for each of my appearances both pre-competition and on stage. I simply did what she said to do and never objected. I went with he flow and trusted she knew what she was saying and doing. Disclaimer: I don't think an older me would have been so easygoing! (Ha!) But I never regretted trusting Sandra for one moment, as every decision she made while I was in her care, paid off.
She's a strategist and risk taker - two of my favorite qualities about her. Don't expect her to fall in line with what's trendy, common, straightforward or even easy. She's happy doing what's difficult or what requires some balls, if it means her vision can come to life.
Some of the ballsy moments for me included:
A solid black swimsuit (a rare color selected for the pageant stage).
A controversial 'suicide' ending to my dramatic talent segment performance.
A barely-there sheer evening gown with a split that couldn't go any higher, without me being arrested.
I won each of these segments, and inevitably the crown and title.
Sandra and I went on to do more pageants together, regionally and have so many great memories and wins to show for our work! She'll always have a special place in my history and heart! Here's the link to the article: