Grace was selected as a 2013 National American Miss (NAM) state finalist in the pre-teen category. She will compete next month in the state finals and the 5 winners in her age group will then go on to compete in the national pageant this November in Hollywood California.
To be honest I never gave much credence to beauty contest although as a little girl I used to love to watch all of them on TV! My sister and I would jump in our PJs and sit in front of the television with our own little score cards. And despite our keeping score I was always amazed at how my dad would be able to pick one of the 5 finalist from just the introductions in the beginning of the show.
Since Grace has become involved with this pageant I have begun to see all the work that goes into it on the contestant's part. Grace has to write, memorize and recite a 30 second introduction speech. She has to practice walking and standing in her model pose. She needs to work on slowing down when she speaks and on the annunciation of her words. But most importantly Grace needs to learn how to interview. To be able to answer any question in a well thought out and clearly stated manner. Not that easy for our Gracie as she has always struggled with her ability to communication both verbally and in the written word. Even when we were adopting her in Kazakhstan, her Russian was what most people referred to as "baby" Russian. She tends to mumble her words and sentence structure is still not that strong even though she is almost 11 years old. But Grace does possess a quick wit, huge heart, and a special charm all of her own. And she is anything but ho hum!
The reason why we decided to let Grace be part of this process is because the National American Miss pageant really concentrates on helping girls and young women become confident in the person they are, and build a strong sense of self worth. There is a strict "No Makeup" rule for girls 12 and under, this is because the pageant focuses on natural and inner beauty. Grace also will not have to perform a talent, this part of the pageant is optional for girls in her age category.
We are hoping that the pageant experience will be something to truly help Gracie begin to unleash her potential, and give her some wonderful memories that she will be able to cherish forever!
For more information on The National American Miss (NAM) Pageant go to www.namiss.com