Turns out being a beauty queen isn’t all Vaseline smiles and evening gowns. Who knew? We got the real scoop on pageant life when we caught up with Miss USA, Alyssa Campanella, and Miss Teen USA, Danielle Doty at a meet and greet for Chinese Laundry shoes at Macy’s in NYC. The girls dished about Toddlers & Tiaras, body image and their most embarrassing pageant moments. (They couldn’t pick just one!)
What do you think of Toddlers & Tiaras?
Alyssa: I don’t watch it, and I don’t support it. If my kid comes up to me when she’s four and says she wants to do a pageant, I’m going to laugh and say, ‘Ha, you gotta wait 10 more years.’ When you’re in the single digits? I don’t think you should be competing in pageants.
Danielle: I just think those parents and kids take it to another extreme. There are several other pageants that are natural, fun and OK. I think you just definitely have to get involved to see which one works for you.
As a pageant girl, your body is under heavy scrutiny. What role has body image played in your life?
Alyssa: Maintaining a healthy body is very important to me. I’ve been bullied about my body since I was 14. My sister, my mother and I are naturally very thin. We have a very fast metabolism so of course people look at us and instantly think we’re unhealthy, but no, that’s not the case! We’re very healthy; we just have a different body type than most other people do.
What’s your most embarrassing pageant moment?
Alyssa: Well I tripped in my evening gown in prelims at Miss USA, I tripped in my opening number at Miss New Jersey Teen USA and I tripped in my evening gown at Miss Universe. It’s funny because every time I trip, the audience goes ‘Oooohh’ and then they start laughing. And then when I get back up, I’m like, ‘Nope, no one saw that, that didn’t happen.’
Danielle: When I was competing for Miss Teen USA, my shoe broke about 30 seconds before I went on stage. I was doing a little shuffle walk in the opening number, but I worked through it.
What were you like as a teen?
Alyssa: My nose was always in the books, but I was also very fond of drama club and loved to be on stage. I was a nerdy girly girl who really focused on her studies. I actually left high school early to go to into college!
So would the people from your past be surprised that you’re now Miss USA?
Alyssa: I mean, I’m surprised. When I won Miss California, people were like, ‘We see you going all the way to Miss Universe. We see it happening.’ And their faith really kept me going. I was shocked when I won. I never envisioned the Miss USA sash across my body. But you know what, it happened and I’m just taking it all in stride.
Who’s your role model and why?
Alyssa: It’s a toss-up between my mother and my sister. Both are very strong women. My mother basically raised us as a single parent because my dad was always away on business. When my parents got divorced my mom raised me and my sister all by herself while maintaining a full time job. And my sister, she’s younger than me, but the way she handles her school work, her work life and her personal life is incredible.
Danielle: I love my family, but this year I was Miss Texas Teen USA and I looked up to my Miss Texas USA like no one else. She has such a strong outlook on life, and I’ve learned a lot from her.
What’s your advice for teen girls?
Alyssa: Don’t let someone’s opinions of you change who you are. The only thing that should matter is what you think of yourself. Do what your heart tells you, and do what you want to do.
Danielle: I definitely have to agree with Alyssa. There’s always negative influence that people give you, but you can’t let that affect you. You have to put that beside and believe in yourself. Be who you are.
gURLs, WDYT? Can you relate to Alyssa getting bullied for her body? Do you think Alyssa and Danielle’s advice is right on or easier said than done? Let us know in the comments.