"That's So You"
My family members started telling people about my “beauty queen adventures” when I was chosen to be on the 2015 Miss La Cañada Royal Court, but if you told me those stories wouldn’t slow down, even after two years, I wouldn’t have believed you.
Growing up, I was never the “Princess Type”, I wore dinosaur t-shirts, played baseball with my brothers, and hated the color pink. Going from Pokemon to princess, there was an obvious contrast from my childhood to my highschool career, finally, my family had something interesting to tell people about.
Being on the court was a lot of fun. I got my hair and makeup done for coronation, rode in fancy cars during parades, and had a gorgeous crown designed specifically for me. I enjoyed every moment, but I never thought of it as my defining quality. I spent much more of my time in student government, writing for my blog, and with my club for Children’s Hospital, being a princess didn’t mean as much to me.
However, that’s not how I was perceived.
Whenever I was introduced to anyone, it was suddenly “This is Elizabeth, she’s on the La Cañada Royal Court, our princess”.
Stories of a small town Royal Court was all I was, but when compared to what I went through when I tried out for the Tournament of Roses, that seems like nothing.
How I attempted to demonstrate the perfect combination of educational success, poise, personality, and eloquent speaking ability to the Tournament judges was all anyone cared about. How I answered questions, if I thought I would actually make it, or how I truly felt about the Tournament’s controversial reputation. It was rewarding to be praised for my hard work and success, but even after my dreams slipped through my fingers live on KTLA, before that deep wound was healed, the only stories ever told about me were how even though I ultimately failed, on national television, in what felt like in front of everyone I knew, I made it from the initial group of 1,200 girls to the final 25.
To this day, when I’m introduced to people, it’s not uncommon for the Rose Court to be mentioned. When I think about it, I still feel sad that my family didn’t understand my feelings towards being known as “the princess”. It was hard to constantly be reminded that I wasn’t one of the lucky seven girls and frustrating that I was defined by something I saw as a failure, despite my success in my other more meaningful extracurriculars. I can see how people could be proud of me for making it so far, but I only nearly got to the top of Mt. Whitney, I didn’t actually get there.
For these last two years, I’ve been perceived in a light that doesn’t feel like me at all, whenever my friends and family see a crown, they say “that’s so you!”, but that’s never truly been “so me”.