Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody. ~Bill Cosby

“You can't please everyone, and you can't make everyone like you,” ~Katie Couric

One of the greatest lessons I learned over my years of pageantry was to deal with criticism and subjective judgment. As I competed I would joke, it's great practice for the rejection I'll receive as an actress! Behind the laugh though, not winning and being criticized in any way always hurts. Nonetheless, I am grateful for the thick skin I developed.

Of course most of you probably realize I am writing this in response to "bashers" on the anonymous Miss Ohio message board. I realize I don't have to respond, but I have a blog, so I can! This blog is often so informative that I think people sometimes forget what most blogs are - a place for personal commentary, opinions and whatever the hell the writer wants!

I'm always so confused when people say they're "sick of me." I'm not on a billboard that you have pass everyday on your way to work - this is a website that you choose to visit! The reality is that comments against me crop up every time I've signed my name to multiple message board posts in a short amount of time. News flash - it's all the same people over and over on the message boards; it's just highly noticeable when someone signs their name, since most don't.

I was amused to read, "I read it and laugh. Never saw anyone so full of herself." Again, you're complaining about something you choose to read and the funny thing is that I was just thinking about my blogger arrogance the other day... I will totally admit to a superiority complex, but it comes from a place of extreme frustration. I wish I weren't the best source of information, but the reality is that I am. I know I'm providing a service that most people appreciate; a friend recently pointed out the obvious, that if the official Miss Ohio website were at all what it should be, my blog would be irrelevant. If knowing that makes me full of myself, so be it; you'll be hard pressed to find defenders of the Miss Ohio website or another source that puts multiple information in one place.

I began blogging to gain better exposure when I was a contestant and it very organically grew into something more. I enjoy writing; blogging has become an outlet and a hobby. As time and distance separate me from the Miss Ohio program, I am clearly becoming more outspoken, but I will always be grateful for what I gained as a competitor and support the ideals of Miss America. Thus I am also confused by comments like "Turn a page Abby move on there's life outside of Ohio and the MOSP." Anytime a former contestant signs her name too much, or is opinionated on the message board, that is the feedback she gets. Then a month later there are complaints that the system has no new locals, no new blood and the question, "why don't more formers stay involved?" As I wrote in my message board response, we're damned if we do and damned if we don't! Why must continued interest in the system mean we don't have a life outside of it? That's such an ignorant assumption. I stay involved in part because I realize many of my post-pageant successes are thanks to skills I developed from pageants. Not to mention the fact that I still know and am good friends with some of the current competitors.

I realize that I don't need to justify any of this to those of you still reading at this point. lol! I'm sure my haters merely saw this posts title, laughed and are thinking they got under my skin, or fed my ego. Again, that just proves that they don't understand the nature of a blog. Thank you so much to those of you who stuck up for me, outnumbering the two negative commenters. I am humbled by all of my readers and your support keeps me going when I am frustrated with the system and most definitely in the face of anonymous criticism.

I'll end this with a narcissistic quotation from Billy Corgan, frontman for my favorite band, The Smashing Pumpkins:

"We've always done better with readers than with critics. Usually that means you've at least got people's hearts."


  1. You never see the bashers sign their names do you??? They're cowards!

  2. You are the most informative source of information, no one can deny that. Thanks for keeping everyone in the loop and providing a valuable service.
    Keep up the great work!

  3. Abby, have you ever considered looking into being the ACTUAL source of information for Miss Ohio, or Miss Ohio USA, or whatever it is, as in taking over the official website? You're certainly more than capable, I imagine the only drawback would be that it would become a requirement for you to update, not just a pastime or hobby. But given the lack of information in years past, anything you post would be an improvement.

    You do of course realize the VOY boards are run by the devil, and you must give over your soul to post there, right? Hopefully you haven't sealed that deal. Seriously, those boards are the cattiest, most bile-filled places I have ever been on the internet, and I've been a lot of places on the internet. I would think the first thing anyone serious about competing in a pageant would do is make a vow never to set a virtual foot in there, or even block access to them from their computer if they don't have the willpower to stay away. I have read them in disbelief, that wonderful people that I have met are absolutely ripped to shreds and dragged through the gutter, all for no real reason.

    I've never attended a pageant, much less been exposed to what goes on backstage. I'm sure as with any other competitive environment there are things that go on that are probably best left backstage, but what I DO know is that NO ONE, no matter how sweet, nice ,beautiful, upstanding, talented, or supportive escapes the wrath of the anonymous message boards.

    The people I've met are better than that, and as far as I know they don't post there. It is unfortunate that otherwise well-adjusted people will let an anonymous message board get them down. It is also unfortunate that such a place is probably one of the best means of communication for people who want to know about the competition.

    Abby, you've proven that you can run a well thought out and informative website/blog about the Ohio pageants, maybe it's time you looked into some sort of moderated message board for the Ohio pageants as well. There may even be sponsorship available out there given your track record with this site. You would think the organizations would be more than willing to turn attention away from something as demoralizing as the anonymous forums. It doesn't have to be 100% you behind it, but I can't think of anyone better to at least get the ball rolling. I'll bet there's more than a few people that would be willing to volunteer to take the overall means of communication a step in the right direction.

  4. Keep blogging, informing and updating us, please! I appreciate hearing about and seeing pics of all the girls...

  5. Thank you, everyone, for your kind words! You keep me going!


    I think your lack of pageant experience allows you to see what so many of us forget along the way: "I would think the first thing anyone serious about competing in a pageant would do is make a vow never to set a virtual foot in there, or even block access to them from their computer if they don't have the willpower to stay away."

    It is difficult to do, but I always encourage people to stay away. Contestants at the very least should not go onto voy in the weeks before and after a pageant. I like to think of myself as a liaison between the good people and the devils that come out of all of us on the boards! LOL! I know a lot of people read both, but for those who either have the willpower to stay away or don't have the knowledge of the boards, I read them and bring the information here so they don't have to!

    My roommate recently "won" an online hosting position for a popular website and I was intrigued to find the bashing that went on there among the supporters of the finalists. I've decided it's not so much a pageant thing, but an internet thing. Therefore, most people are surprised to find that in person, most pageant women get a long really well and have a great time. The nastiness comes out online and my personal belief is that parents and E.D.s are guiltier than the contestants. I have no grounds for that, it’s just a hunch. I was lucky that my parents to this day don't have the internet...

    As for me taking my hobby to the next level... a couple years ago I started checking into the possibility of becoming a paid correspondent or author for TFTJ.com or Pageantry Magazine, but nothing ever came of it. I honestly don't recall if I flaked out on my research or if it just led no where. I should look back into that. Due to her new online job my roommate started a blog and linked this one. After seeing the post with engagement pictures she was like "wow... do you get paid to do that?" It baffles pageant outsiders that I don't; but since pageant insiders know that the pageant system is full of volunteers, I think my mention of it is what makes some people think I'm full of myself.

    Anyway, I am actually not capable or running a real website; I'm sure I could learn but I don't have any training. The beauty of a blog and reason it's so much quicker is because it's so damn simple. There have been other wonderful volunteers with the skills who have tried to improve the Miss Ohio website, but they are met with resistance. I have been told that current state-level volunteers who should have access to adding things to the website do not. I can't begin to understand or explain why it is that way, but it is.

    I never used to make these public assertions, but as I wrote in my post, time and distance make it easier to be more vocal. The pageant world is a funny thing – you see state officials, local E.D.s and parents at various local pageants across the state smiling and chatting with each other… then we go home and rip each other to shreds on the message boards! I didn’t know how to joke with someone “official” at pageant, then publicly say their administration of the website, or lack there of, was laughable. As a contestant you develop a do-good, brown-nosing attitude, and I didn’t want to burn any bridges. But, now I’m far away and doubt I’ll be attending a Miss Ohio local and seeing any of those people for a very long time! I want to stay involved with the program, but now I can’t help to be more vocal!

    We all see the problems and hide behind one thing or another. Some hide behind message board anonymity; I’m hiding behind distance. We hide because time and time again we see people who speak up and try to do great things get shot down…

    Anyway, sorry about that… didn’t mean to go off on a little tangent. I’m obviously still trying to figure out my new found pageant blogger freedom! As I continue to make sense of it, I’m sure it’ll become another post at another time.

    For now, thank you all again!


  6. Have I mentioned how much I love your "voice"? It's refreshing to see that there are others out there (other than "The Others", that is) that care so much about the program that they'll speak up and say so.

    Keep going Abby - I realize that I can get my MOSP news from you and it's unbiased and true.

    Have you ever thought about being an investigative reporter? After you're done winning Oscars and such, that is. :)

  7. Kristin (aka Bulldog)July 1, 2008 at 10:46:00 PM EDT

    Abby, please keep up the wonderful work! I love being able to keep up with the pageant system by just visiting one site instead of trying to dig for information all over the net! I can't get over how nasty some people can be. I've had an interest in volunteering for years, but after the things I see on the 'net I'm not so sure I want to get involved. Anyway, ignore the haters & keep up the awesome work! :)


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