Erin O’Flaherty can tell you a thing or two about this subject. What do you think made her stand out?
A Miss America contestant who is Irish was recently crowned Miss Missouri. And she is openly gay.
Yes, it takes courage to be open about your sexuality and this is especially true when one is competing in a race or an event. My thoughts go to the fact that there have probably been many contestants before O’Flaherty who were gay, but were not open about it. Does this recent announcement change much?
Maybe it will allow people to be a bit more vulnerable and I hope that there are no dire consequences for this. Although, it seems that Ms. O’Flaherty isn’t experiencing any apparent hardships since she won the pageant.
I congratulate her. As a person who has followed and always loved beauty pageants, I can remember that the things that made the greatest impact for me were the personal stories and the lives of those involved.
I can remember contestants who were disabled, grew up poor, were adopted from another country or had extraordinary talents. The fact that they were also pretty, poised and articulate was tantamount to inspiration. It’s hard to be attractive and to carry it off with finesse. Some of these women have overcome rather difficult odds or made very courageous choices that add very much to their characters. And character should be a big incentive when picking a victor.
I’d like to be able to say that there is more to winning a beauty pageant outside of how a female looks in an evening gown or swimsuit. Coincidentally, one of my very favorite parts when watching a pageant was seeing a finalist came down the stairs in an evening gown. I noticed their hairdos, their jewelry and their dresses. To me, their style and dresses told me a lot about who they were without saying a thing and it was always such an exciting moment. Sometimes, I found myself unimpressed and other times people surprised me. Some who had been quieter now stood out as creative, bold, striking or sparkly and vice versa.
In many instances, I suppose that it is good to be different and to not be afraid to stand out. That is what this recent winner has done. As long as she is being authentic to who she is and what her experiences have been, I think that progress is always a positive thing.
Maybe we can learn from her stories and struggles. Maybe she can be a catalyst for others who are different and never thought they’d have a chance. Miss O’Flaherty seems to be an elegant underdog and sometimes those are the best tales to be heard.