I had the pleasure of meeting Megan Meadors a few years ago when she was preparing to compete in the Miss Indiana Pageant. Megan and her mother engaged me for some one on one instruction in etiquette and protocol. Megan was already very savvy in this area and we merely tweaked some things that she was not sure of. It was a special treat to work with this engaged, focused and bright young woman. I had no doubt that she would be successful in any of her life endeavors. This young woman is certainly much more than a “pretty face”; a myth that is often perpetuated about pageant participants.
Megan has graciously agreed to respond to my questions and as you will see, this is a woman of substance. Thanks, Megan.
Tell us a little about yourself…
I’m a 24 year old Graduate of the University of Indianapolis with a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy. I practice occupational therapy at a senior community in a suburb of Indianapolis. I was Miss Indiana 2008 in the Miss America system. I love being around people, trying food from different cultures, and the Indianapolis Colts!
Megan, please tell us how you became interested in participating in pageants and at what age did you start participating?
I became interested in pageants the summer before my senior year of high school when I was 16. During this summer I competed in the Miss Auburn pageant for the chance to represent my hometown in our county fair pageant. I was very active in cheerleading and show choir in high school and most of my friends from these activities were competing in Miss Auburn so I thought it would be a fun thing to try.
What are the greatest misconceptions about pageants?
I think there are many misconceptions about pageants and the girls that compete in them. First off we do get along very well. I was in three of my fellow competitors weddings and they will be in mine one day. Second we are very intelligent. We have to be to be successful. The interview portion of the competition accounts for a large portion of your score and you have to show that you are articulate and voice your opinions in an educated manner. Third we are not conceded and self-centered. Every girl competing has a community service platform we believe in, volunteer for, and raise money for. That was my favorite part of being Miss Indiana…volunteering at events all over the state.
What have been the greatest benefits for you?
When you are Miss Indiana you are thrust in every kind of situation. Sometimes the organizers of event would throw you into situations you would not expect but you would have to “roll with it”. I feel now that I can handle myself in any situation and have the confidence in myself to step up and take risks in my life to benefit me in my career and personal life.
What skills do you think have been essential to succeed in pageants and in other aspects of your life?
Confidence, a good work ethic, interpersonal communication skills, public speaking skills, and a strong sense of self.
How have you transferred these skills into your personal and professional life?
I really don’t think these skills were ever “transferred.” They became a part of who I am and that is what is so great about competing in the Miss America system…you grow into your best self!
As an Occupational Therapist, what do you take from the world of being Miss Indiana into the health care world?
All of the skills listed above have helped me to be able to build strong relationships with my patients and their families. I believe having rapport with a patient is one of the most important aspects of the rehabilitation process. When patients trust you they will follow the steps you recommend to reach their maximal level of independence. These skills also benefit me when interacting with my co-workers, doctors, and patient’s families.
What advice would you give teens and young women interested in entering the world of pageant competition?
First I would say know who you are, what you believe in, and what you want to accomplish as a titleholder before competing. That self-confidence will help you to go far not only in pageantry but in life. Also if you truly want to be Miss ______ don’t ever give up on your dream. I competed at Miss Indiana 5 times before I reached my goal and if I would have given up I would never be who I am today.
What does the future look like for you?
For the first time in my life I really don’t know and it’s actually so exciting. For such a long time my goal and focus was becoming Miss Indiana and my life revolved around reaching that goal. After I gave up my crown I felt so free and that I had a whole world of opportunities in front of me. I plan to continue to be involved in the Miss America Organization as a consultant, director, or state board member. I am continuing to make appearances as a former Miss Indiana speaking about my platform of Alzheimer’s Awareness and to young children about reaching their goals. In the distant future I see myself happily married with a family.
Thanks, Megan…I welcome comments and remarks regarding the world of pageants. If you have been a part of this system, I’d love to hear from you too.