Jennifer Beatty is proud to be a pageant girl.
The sophomore juggles her school work with preparations for the Miss D.C. pageant next summer, but said she is excited to compete for the coveted title.
“I guess I can’t say I’m not a pageant girl,” Beatty said. “I used to say that all of last year, but I guess I am a pageant girl now.”
Beatty said she found her passion for beauty pageants last year at GW’s Miss Freshman pageant, an annual competition sponsored by the Mu Delta chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
At the pageant, Beatty met Chelsea Rodgers, Miss D.C. 2009. Rodgers got Beatty involved in the Miss D.C. America pageant, inviting her to an interest meeting last April. After that, Beatty was hooked.
“I fell in love with the program [at the meeting]. It was everything I stood for and more,” Beatty said.
After her first attempt at the Miss D.C. crown at last year’s pageant, Beatty looks forward to next summer’s competition.
“I was more cocky than confident going in, so I didn’t prepare as I should have,” Beatty said. “This time around I’m remembering humility.”
From improving interviewing skills at weekly pageant meetings to learning better ways to dress for the stage, she said pageant success “really comes down to hard work, and I did not understand that the first time.”
Daily trips to the gym and practicing her talent for the pageant – singing and dancing – mix with schoolwork as she studies psychology and theater. She said the TV show, “Glee,” inspired her choice of performance for the talent competition.
“I feel like I [am] able to reach a lot of different audiences with just my voice,” she said.
Another aspect of getting ready for the pageant was preparing mentally.
“It forced me to take a deeper look at things and figure out what I really believe, so that when people ask me something, I’m not contradicting myself,” she said.
Beatty sounds confident in the final outcome of the pageant, but said she knows the competition is strong.
“The thing is, all the girls competing in the pageant are talented,” she said. “If you want to win, you have to be humble. You have to put in the work.”
What sets Beatty apart from her competitors, she said, is the fact that she hopes to become a published author next year.
Her first book, “Point of Difference,” tries “to give every individual tangible and understandable ways to live your best life now,” Beatty said. She started writing it the summer before her freshman year at GW, writing well over 100 hundred pages in one year’s time.
“I don’t even know how I did it, to be completely honest,” she said.
Beatty gives credit to her mentor, Dr. Frederick Price – founder of the Crenshaw Christian Center in her native Los Angeles – for helping her understand the book publishing process. His words also inspired some of the book’s chapters.
“I’m just so overwhelmed, because so many people hear about it and they get excited and they support [my book],” she said.
Beatty was also inspired by first lady Michelle Obama, whose “Let’s Move” program helped Beatty decide to make her pageant platform combating childhood obesity. She became interested in the subject after taking a Dean’s Seminar last spring at GW that focused on food issues in Washington, D.C.
“I think the most important thing I’ve learned and that I’m still learning is that stability and preparation will really define how far you go,” she said.