In this episode, we are talking with Jackie Blankenship, Mrs America 2022!
Jackie is holding nothing back in this raw and real interview with me today on all things pageant and real life!
Jackie Blankenship is Mrs America 2022. Jackie was born and raised in Michigan where she lives with her husband and their 6 year old daughter Greenleigh. Jackie is a morning radio show host, co hosting “The Gray & Green Show” on 105.3 HOT-FM- they are Michigan’s first 2 woman morning team! When Jackie isn’t working or with her family she is an accomplished distance runner and has used her talents at running to raise over 10 thousand dollars for various charitable causes.
Yes, yes, yes, my dear, today is the final day to join the Inner Circle! Consider this your fair warning! Jump in there if you have not already, because listen, every single time that I launch the Inner Circle, the day after the cart closes, I get at least one person, if not more… different people every time, it’s not the same girl every time missing it, but someone that directly messages me or emails me or and says, “Alycia, I missed it. I missed the Inner Circle. When are you going to do it again?” And sometimes, I don’t know when I’m going to do it again, like right now, I don’t know when I’m going to do this again. So, now is your opportunity, do not delay! You can go to the link in my bio or winapageant.com/innercircle to get all of the good details and how to join.
I’ve got to talk to you today about how opportunity passes. This is one of my favorite trainings to do during the free week, which we just wrapped up. If you missed that, I’m sorry, opportunity passes. Hopefully you didn’t miss it, because it’s a free week of training, and I do not do it that often, so maybe you can join us for the next one, but you’ve got to learn that opportunity passes. I remember literally like it was yesterday. I remember learning this specific lesson with my dad, who I love and adore, and who has taught me so many wise, wise things.
At that time, I was a senior in high school, but I was competing in a talent show at a nearby community college. And during that time, a dear friend of mine and I were teaching hip-hop classes. Can you imagine? Yes. We were teaching hip-hop classes at a local dance studio, the dance studio I trained at for years and years and years. And my dear friend and I were actually, if you can believe it, we were pretty good hip-hop dancers!
So we put together this routine, and because we taught classes together, we had several counts of eight. If you’ve ever been a dancer before, you kind of know a string of eight counts. As a dancer maybe you have four eight-counts put together, and that is like a certain routine. And so, she and I could name the routine, like, “Oh, let’s do the Britney Spears,” and then we would just know exactly the moves that went along with that specific song, and then you could put it to other songs. We had a ton of fun with this kind of stuff at school dances and things, because a song would come on and we’d be like, “Hey, hey, this fits perfectly, let’s do the, The Missy Elliott,” and then we’d go to town on that one eight count with the song.
So, she and I choreographed a routine specifically for this talent show. And while we were on stage, we had so much fun, but it was hilarious because we were the youngest people. We were seniors in high school, and everybody else was from the community college. But it was so great! The audience was wonderful, they were cheering us on, and we had so much fun, it was just a blast!
So, when we were done with our routine, we sat in the audience to watch the other performers. And shortly after us, this kid came on. I wish I could remember what, but he was playing an instrument or something; I don’t know what the instrument was that he was playing, if it was piano or saxophone or something, but it was just him and this instrument. And the poor kid, God bless his heart, he was probably really an awesome dude and all of that great stuff, but he was bombing on stage! Like, it was just not going well at all. And the whole audience was feeling it. You know how when someone’s struggling on stage, you’re like, “Ohh,” and your heart’s breaking for them? A lot of us in the audience were in the show, so we had just performed, and so we know what it felt like to be on the stage, and to be nervous and all of this, and then someone’s totally bombing.
As all of this is happening, and our hearts are breaking, like, “This poor kid,” we felt so bad for him. People weren’t booing him or laughing, or nothing nasty, but it was obvious he was not doing well. So, my dad is sitting next to me on one side, and my friend Kayli the other dancer, is on the other side of me where I’m sitting.
My dad leans over to me, and he’s like, “Alycia, you and Kayli need to get up on that stage and save this boy.” And I was like, “We what? What?” And I knew what he meant, which was, he knew that we could just pull a dance out of thin air and be like, “Hey, let’s do the, whatever,” and we could just say it, and we would be able to do it. And the audience liked us and stuff, and what he was saying was, “Get up on that stage and do something to dance to this kid’s poor little musical thing to save him, so that he doesn’t feel like…” Because he’s probably feeling it too, you know?
Okay, so he leans over to me, and I was like, “Dad, shh, no, no.” Because why? Well, because, as a little 17 or 18-year-old, I’m sitting in the audience thinking, “That poor guy over there. Oh, wouldn’t it suck to be him? Oh, that poor kid.” Right? I’m not hopping in the pit he’s in just to… You know? I’m thinking, “This could go sour for both of us, then, I don’t think I want to be a part of that.”
My dad leans over again, and he says to me, “You better hurry up. This is your last opportunity.” And I’m like, “He’s right. It would be pretty epic, because this audience is pretty… They kind of liked us, and it would be pretty cool if Kayli and I just… we still had our costumes on. Wouldn’t it be cool if we just hopped up on stage and helped a brother out?” And we could do it; it would’ve been awesome! It would’ve been so cool, and the whole audience probably would’ve roared. They would’ve loved it, they would’ve felt our hearts in wanting to help him, and wanting to raise his experience a little bit so that he didn’t feel like he was all alone up there, choking, you know?
And I didn’t do it. I didn’t do it. I kind of shushed my dad, like, “Stop, stop. Shh.” Because I was scared. I was so scared. I was scared that I would also look bad. I was scared that maybe we would start running up there, and then his piece would be over. I was scared that perhaps people wouldn’t maybe, for some reason, like that. I was scared that maybe he would be mad, that he would blame his bad performance on us. I was scared, scared, scared, fear, fear, fear!
All those fears made me lose that opportunity, and the opportunity passed, and people gave a pity clap to the poor boy, who just, we didn’t see again, actually. He just left; he didn’t stay for the rest of the show, or to see who won or anything, he was like, “I’m out of here.” And in that moment, I realized, “Hm, opportunity really does pass.” That was my moment, and I had all of the skill set for it, I had the courage for it. I actually did have the courage for it; I just let fear get in my way. I had the partner to do it with me. I had the perfect scenario, literally the perfect scenario to make that kid’s day, to just make him feel like, “Okay, yeah, that was good, it turned out to be a great performance,” or whatever. And I didn’t do it. And I learned in that moment that opportunity passes.
Years later, I learned again, because how many people know that if you don’t learn a lesson the first time, it keeps coming back to haunt you, right? Until you finally learn the lesson. This is what happened to me. So, I was competing in pageants, and I specifically remember that I only wanted to compete in one pageant system, because I was like, “I’m just going to get really good at this one system.” I didn’t know what I was talking about. So, I was like, ” I’m not going to do any of those systems.”
And I competed in that one system until I was first runner-up, and then I was first runner-up again, and then I aged out. And you know, when you age out in pageantry, you’re done with that system. You can’t go back and compete in that system again. You have aged out; you’re done. And I aged out. Then in another system, because I was still young enough to compete in another system, I only had one more year in that system. So I competed in that pageant, and I was in the top five, but I didn’t win, and then that opportunity passed. And so, I competed in another system, and it was my last year in that system. Do you see a trend here? I wasn’t learning; I wasn’t learning that opportunities pass, right? And so, I wasn’t really going all in and going for it; I was waiting until the opportunity almost passed me, like, “Well, maybe I’ll wait until the very last moment.” Right?
So, I competed in that pageant. Guess what I placed? First runner-up. Do you feel me at all? Has this ever happened to you, where you’re like, “First runner-up, first runner-up, why is this happening to me? Why do I keep placing first runner-up? What the heck is going on?” Right? I know now what I didn’t know then, which is that I had no strategy, and I also had no clue how people actually selected winners; I just thought that it was, like, the best hair, the best makeup, the best stance, great confidence, being able to talk well, which all of those things I was excellent at, which is probably why I was placing so high, I was first runner-up every time. But I didn’t actually know the strategy that I now teach to my contestants with a legacy project. It’s a whole game plan of exactly what you need to do to get up further and further in your ranking, not just local pageant, state pageant, but national and international. There’s a whole strategy to that that I now know, but at the time, I did not know. And the opportunities kept passing me by.
Finally, years later, I think it was maybe three years later or so, I get a phone call from the pageant that I was most recently first runner-up in, and they say to me, “Alycia, the pageant has extended the age-out,” so instead of it ending at whatever it was, 27 or something, it now was 30. And it was the director telling me, “You are still eligible to compete, this year only. Guess what? It’s your last year.” They had just extended it, it wasn’t like it was the year before, so they just, this year, they said, “Okay, now we’re going to extend it to age 30.” And I was like, “Wait, what? And I just happen to be 30? This is perfect.”
Okay, so I was like, “I’m coming out of retirement, because opportunity passes,” and I was like, “I will not let this opportunity pass me. I am doing it, and I am going all in.” I talked about in an earlier video about confidence, about how you got to know the truth. That’s the strategy. Do you really know the strategy? Do you understand what you’re doing here? And then, you’ve got to go all in! It’s not enough to just know the strategy. You got to actually do the stuff, right? You got to go all in.
That’s when I finally decided, “I’m going all in!” And I did, I went all in on all of the things that I knew exactly how to do. It was a ton of work. Can I just tell you? It was a lot of work. But if it were easy, everybody would be winning, right? You’ve heard that one before. And the truth is, it does require work, and it does require work not just to enter the pageant, not just to do well at the pageant, but to win the pageant. And then, the work continues throughout your entire year of service. That’s why it’s not easy to just win the thing, right? Or else, maybe it is for a pageant that has an easier service. I know for me, early on competing, it was easy to win local pageants because the year of service wasn’t that demanding, so it was… I didn’t have to do that much work, you know, so it was easier to win those kinds of pageants.
But if you are competing in a highly competitive pageant, especially at a state, national, or international level, which I know perhaps you are… Even if not now, you will in the future, right? Because that’s where your brain is, that’s where you’re headed, like, “Yeah, okay, maybe not today, but in the future I will.” Well, opportunity is going to pass you. It’s up to you to decide, “Am I jumping on this train and headed along with it, or am I going to let it just breeze right by?”
And I promise you, opportunity will pass. That’s why you’ve got to seize the moment immediately! I am so proud of the women who have already chosen to join the Inner Circle, because they know, “I am not letting this train pass me by and not hopping on.” That is what I want for you so deeply.
If you know that this opportunity is for you, do not let it pass. Now, you might be saying, “Alycia, the Inner Circle, it’s not for me, and I know for a fact that it’s not.” And that’s fine; then that’s not an opportunity for you. But if you are saying, “Alycia, I really feel like this could be an opportunity for me,” then my dear, do not let it pass, because that… When I was sitting in the audience after that moment had faded, and I thought, “Huh, that was my chance. That was my chance to just have some fun, to let loose, to help that other person, to step fully into what I love to do.” And then I felt it again when I’d aged out, and when I aged out again, and when I aged out again. I continually felt that. It wasn’t until I got that call, and I said, “Actually, yeah, I do know what to do now, and I will go all in,” that I finally won Miss California, because I did not want that opportunity to pass me again.
This is what I want for you. I do not want your opportunity to keep passing and passing and passing. There’s so much time wasted by competing in pageants when you don’t really know what the heck you’re doing. Now, if you’re just doing it for fun, and you’re like, “Ah, but Alycia, it’s just a hobby, I don’t really care if I win, it’s just for fun,” then fine. But it’s highly likely that somewhere inside of you, you’re like, “Mm-mm, no, I actually think that I’m called to win this thing.” Then you need the skill set, you need the strategy. You need the skills, you need the knowledge and education, you need the community of people, and we’ve got that in the Inner Circle, and I would love, love, love for you to be a part of it.
If you want to join us, or if you just want to learn more, go to winapageant.com/innercircle. We cannot wait to be a part of you, to be cheering you on, to be on your squad and your cheer team as you go to compete for your pageant. And that is truly what you need. You’ve got to have the strategy, you’ve got to have the willingness to go all in, and you need to have the people around you to support you, because that, my dear, is how you win a pageant.
Teresa Jackson is the Founder and CEO of Lean On Me Coaching. Prior to becoming a Nationally Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach, Teresa spent thirty-five years in corporate healthcare, working in various strategic growth positions. After a Parkinson’s diagnosis in Feb. of 2019, Teresa noticed that many people living with Parkinson’s had a similar experience as she did at the time of diagnosis: there was little to no education and they were left to figure Parkinson’s out on their own. This realization, paired with Teresa’s healthcare background, motivated her to create Parkinson’s Pathway Pals (PPP). In this episode, she discusses how she continues to thrive, despite chronic disease, and how you can too!
Dr. Diana Lawrence has a Doctorate in Higher Education adminstration, a Masters in Management, she is also a Senior Vice President at the University Provost and Founder of the Dr. World pageant and mentoring program. Diana has over 35 years in pageantry, national and international judge. A few of the national titles she won are Mrs. Galaxy International, Mrs. American Achievement and Mrs. United America. Currently, she is Ms. Senior World Kentucky 50s. She is an enthusiastic volunteer and has donated over 15,000 hours of community service to activities benefiting women, children, animals, and education-based endeavors in her lifetime. In this episode, she discusses how we can find mentors anywhere!
Jennifer Garrison has raised over $1,000 in a short time by designing and strategically selling fashionable, positive t-shirts to fund her scholarship program “Empowerment through Education.” As a child, Jennifer received many generous scholarships that helped her achieve her dream of being a nurse. Jennifer is the co-chair of Cinderella Dress Day, a Board Member of Bring it Push it Own it, and Mrs. Fort Wayne (Indiana) America 2020. She’s a fitness and fashion enthusiast with a heart for education. In this episode, she discusses how she used t-shirts to raise scholarship money and how you can too!
I’m gushing at the seams from how proud I am of the women in the Pageant Interview Game Plan. They are so dedicated to their success and by their ‘success’ I don’t just mean them winning the pageant, but influencing their community in such a powerful way.
The Pageant Interview Game Plan is an online course that consists of 4 modules: Set Your Foundation, Plan Your Answers, Prepare to Dazzle, and Game Day: Showtime! These are the four steps that must be followed to nail your pageant interview. Each module is broken up into individual lessons that have homework for each one to get you further down the path to success. It’s designed to allow you to finish one module every week.
Some of the women are flying through it much faster and others are taking their time to allow it to soak in a little deeper. Either way is fine because when you join, you have on-going access to it, so there’s really no time limit except for when you have to compete, of course!
It comes with a Play Book that serves as a guide to get to know yourself, clarify your mission, research what the pageant is looking for, determine your stance on controversial issues, and tons of stuff that will transport you easily from confusion to clarity.
It also comes with access to a private group on Facebook that is only open to members of the course. This is where I get to see all the magic happening! Every week day, I jump into the Facebook Group and get to answer questions to help my students excel in the program. And, boy-oh-boy are they taking advantage of this personal coaching opportunity!
I wanted to share with you some of what is happening in there so you could see if this is a community that may help you with your pageant interview.
Samantha said, “I’m competing in Miss Arizona USA this weekend! Soooo thankful for this coaching. I feel so prepared and confident.” I love the emoji she used it’s the cha-cha gal in the red dress, you know which one I mean. That’s one of my favorite emoji’s! haha
Courtney competed just 3 weeks after she got into the program and she was sharing gratitude for her supporters and said:”To my coach, Alycia Darby, without her services I would have walked into that interview still and awkward. You let me be myself and I can’t wait to train even harder this year so we bring that crown home! Thank you for believing in me.” Courtney is a model and rockstar with her platform. She’s providing so much nourishment to the other women in the group. Everyone knows her by now!
Rita is a computer science major and recently interviewed with Microsoft. She said, “Who would’ve thought that pageant interview prep would have helped me with my first round of interview with Microsoft?!” It was all about personality and she knew herself well enough that she could confidently speak about herself even to a Microsoft rep!
Caitlen competed 2 weeks into the course and finished as first runner-up! Afterward, she posted a picture of her stunning interview outfit and willingly shared all the details of where she got it all. She wrote, “I placed 1st Runner up at the Miss Oregon USA pageant. Alycia’s interview game plan works! I felt so confident going into my interview. Thank you again.”
Angie and her daughter Emily are in the Game Plan. When Emily was competing this weekend, her mom was posting photos for us to be able to cheer her on! Her mom wrote, “Emily had an outstanding interview! She said the judges were sad that the time was up and she made them laugh. I think that’s a good sign!” You’re right, Angie that is a great sign!!
You’ve heard me say before that with me, you always get more than you pay for. I love presents, surprises, and treats so I promise to over-deliver every time. In the case of the Pageant Interview Game Plan, I have a ton of bonus trainings to help with other areas of competition as well.
Like the wardrobe style guide – This training breaks down how to define your personal style and what to wear in the interview room.
There’s also a training that shows you how to stand, pose, and move on stage to model your gown, active-wear, and swimsuit, and how to walk in general.
When you join the Pageant Interview Game Plan, you have the option to get a Mock Interview with me over Skype. I record the interviews so you can watch them back and give yourself feedback. At the end of the mock interview, I always give an assignment and Amanda literally finished her assignment within 30 minutes and posted it in the group for immediate feedback. With that speed of implementation, she’s gonna be a huge success!
She came to her interview completely prepared in hair and makeup and accessories! I wouldn’t have been surprised if she was wearing her heels, too! She’s an A-player, for sure.
I learned so much from speaking with Samantha. She is extremely well-read and experienced in a variety of areas of human behavior. She’s a true leader.
I’d like to invite you to join us in the Pageant Interview Game Plan. We are right in the middle of the enrollment period for the Game Plan, so you can join now (unless you’re listening to this podcast a month after it launched, then you may have to wait until sometime in the new year when enrollment opens again).
But as the time of this podcast airing, it’s open for you to join! Private Coaching like this would usually cost you $900 every time you wanted the support. This program is less than $300, and since our group is relatively small still, you’ll be able to get lots of personal attention.