During my first year at Uni, I found myself. I found myself being confident and brave and flirty and it was so much fun. I was up for anything, joined committees and groups, auditioned for and participated in everything I could.
I was a cheerleader, the one dream I’d had for high school but which the Bad Boyfriend had shattered with crude remarks on “slutty girls who jump around in skimpy outfits”.
So when a friend suggested I enter an Intervarsity Carnival beauty pageant, I did it without thinking twice.
When I was chosen as a finalist, I was pleasantly surprised and keen to see where this would take me, or more succinctly, what free goodies I could score from this!
A drinks company sponsored the pageant and they took us on boat trips and cellar tours and organized lunches with wine tastings and nights out on the town: it was fabulous. After a month of wining and dining we had the crowning event at a 007 themed poker night where the contestants also took part in a fashion show.
A prestigious local boutique sponsored the show and allocated outfits to each girl. For the finale, they dressed me in a black velvet bustier with black mesh sleeves and a hip hugging slim black velvet skirt with slits up both legs... A much sexier yet still slightly gothic replica of my dress at the school pageant! I loved it, I felt so much sexier, more mature and comfortable in my own skin than ever before.
Being back on the catwalk was a breeze. Most of the girls had been in some sort of fashion show before, and we weren’t serious about the competitive aspect of the night at all. We were drinking champagne backstage, helping each other with hair and make-up and generally having a girly good time!
Soon the show was over and they were about to announce the winners, but most of us were just eager to get out there and join the party. The first award was for Miss Legs, and everyone looked to Lara as they began reading the list of prizes. All the girls were whispering “Lara, Lara, there you go Lara”, so when my name was called instead, it took a moment for me to realize that I actually had to go on stage now! I’m sure I blushed a scarlet red as I made my way to the front, especially as I now felt that I’d ‘stolen’ the prize from Lara? I honestly can’t remember much of Lara or her legs, but I know that I was all set for pantyhose for the next five years!
During the confusion of hugs and congratulations after the show, a very elegantly dressed lady, distinctive by being a bit older than all the students milling about, cornered Nicola and I, asking to have a word. She’d come to the show to scout for models and would love it if we’d have some pictures taken and bring them in to her agency. I took her card with pleasure, it’s always nice to be noticed, and made my way into the throng of partiers. It was only the next day, when I fished the card out of my handbag that I paid attention to the name. Sharon Mulligan, Mulligan’s Models. This wasn’t some unknown scout from a shabby little second-rate agency in the burbs, I’d read the name countless times in all the local fashion magazines I frequently devoured!
Hey baby, we’ve hit the big time.
For the record:
So I’m afraid ALL you voters fell for my double bluff. I was in fact ‘discovered’ at a beauty pageant and no one guessed correctly. So lame and predictable, I know, but sometimes life is like that.
Q: Where was MM ‘discovered’ the second time around?
35% said In a shopping mall. (May turn out to be true yet…)
33% said At a Metallica concert. (Metallica never performed live in South Africa until 2006(!))
30% said Outside a public toilet. (Nice.)