Your Not-So-Normal Pageant


Savannah Garrison

All around the country, families and their daughters have been receiving this letter of nomination from National American Miss (Photo courtesy of Savannah Garrison).

All around the state there has been some interesting news arriving in people’s mailboxes: a letter from National American Miss. But what exactly is National American Miss? National American Miss is a pageant for girls ages 4 to 20, but it’s not your normal competition. The National American Miss focuses on the girl’s self-esteem, character, and overall personality. But what is this pageant and what’s the catch?

“I think [NAM] is probably just a scam to get money from girls,” said junior Emily Schwendemann. With the sending out all these letters to ones who have never even competed in a pageant, it definitely seems like something sketchy is going on. 

Most people get this letter and throw it away because they’ve had no interest in being in a pageant and then this one shows up in their mail. Others believe it is a scam so they ignore it completely, and that theory is most likely true. 

“[The pageants] claim to be ‘more about communication skills and less about beauty’ which to an extent defeats a key part of a pageant but  honestly think beauty is still very much a factor,” said sophomore at Southside Christian, Annabelle Chapman. National American Miss declares that their pageants are based upon the girls themselves, but the price to buy dresses, makeup, and pictures seems to say otherwise.

When you go to NAM’s web reviews, you only see the positive, but from the reviews from the Better Business Bureau, it doesn’t seem like NAM is quite fair to everyone. “I have allowed my daughter to try this pageant for 3 years. It cost an extreme amount of money not only for her dress, shoes… The entry fee was over 600 dollars and then there are those extra competitions which start out at $75.00 going all the way up to $150.00… These are extra and the more money you spend to enter the better chance you have to win in the main pageant…” said a parent of a pageant participant on Better Business Bureau. This parent was clearly unsatisfied with the pageant, and there are plenty more reviews like this one. They make it clear that the more money you put into the program, the more likely your daughter is to be crowned the winner. 

“I was really confused on what [the letter] was because it looked like something from a scammer,” added Schwendemann. Most of the time when we see unusual mail addressed to us, we throw it away, but this letter obviously catches some eyes.

On the other hand, those who do pay enough money do seem to see an improvement in their child. “They are encouraging girls to embrace their natural beauty and love their youthful state. Yes, you have to come up with [money], of course, nothing in this life is free. However, they help you every step of the way with all the necessary paperwork that help you go and get donations from local businesses and such. This has been exciting and has helped my daughter put herself out there and talk to business managers and ask for their support in this endeavor. NAM is helping her come out of her shell,” said the mother of an NAM pageant participant on Better Business Bureau. The company does try and boost girls’ self-esteem and help build the child as they grow, and many people do leave reviews about it, but they do look like a scam with all the outrageous fees they hide.

“If you didn’t ask for it then don’t bother with it. Did you have your child photographed recently? That might have put you on a list to be contacted by these people who prey on proud parents,” said one user on Quora. A user on Quora answered someone’s question about the credibility of NAM, and they suggested that having your child’s face out there in the open is a perfect way to let NAM target your child to take your money. 

In the end, you should heavily consider just throwing this letter out like the rest of your spam mail. But if it is something you really enjoy doing and are willing to pay the price to be the princess, compete to your wallet’s content.