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Wendy Araujo's Pageant Journey

Recently, I had the honor of interviewing my sweet friend, Wendy, who just competed in her first local Miss Texas Pageant. Check out our awesome conversation below.

1) What made you interested in competing in pageants?

I grew up always watching beauty pageants like the Miss Universe and other international pageants! I became so mesmerized by all the glitz and glamor, but more importantly I was drawn to their platforms and causes. Catriona Gray, Miss Universe 2018, had a major impact on me when she competed for the title at that time. I wanted to see where I could develop my influence and help the causes that I'm passionate about on a national level.

2) What is your Social Impact and the reason you picked it?

My Social Impact is Mental Health and the slogan I chose is "It's Okay To Not Be Okay." Mental health is a touchy topic for many Americans, and this is something I wanted to address. Think about those living a physically healthy lifestyle, constantly maintaining a healthy mental state is just as important! I resonate so much with my social impact as I currently battle anxiety and depression. I was bullied in school all the way up until I graduated from high school. I was constantly in a state of mind that I would never be good enough and it became much worse when my father died unexpectedly in January of 2020. I was so lost and devastated that I refused to leave bed, feed myself, bath, etc. Then, 2 months later, the U.S. went into lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and my grief turned into severe depression.

I believe that there should be more mental health resources available for those who want help. I also believe that we should be taught in school how to recognize the signs of a mental struggle and how to help each other so that no one feels they have to resort to violence or self-harm. I genuinely believe that America has let down our citizens who struggle with mental health and those who are socially marginalized. I want to share my first-hand experience and use my influence to do something about this. I want to change how America perceives mental health because it's okay to not be okay.

3) What was your first competition like?

Surreal! My very first pageant was actually on August 7th, 2022 with the wonderful Miss Plano-Richardson Scholarship Organization under the direction of Miss Tammy Moss, Miss Courtney Jackson, and Mr. Ricardo Tomas. I think I was also a bit delirious from my lack of sleep on account of how nervous and excited I was! I had always assumed (shamefully) that most pageant girls were snotty and rude and I'm so happy to say I was 100% mistaken. I have never felt so welcomed or been given so much support and advice as I did from the other competitors, some of whom were even competing for the same title as me! I learned so much about myself as the day went on and I am very proud of my performance. Even though I left without winning a title, I grew so much, and I walked away with more knowledge and the support of many new friends. I'm truly amazed by these organizations within the MAO and how they are done. They truly do care about their candidates and their titleholders!

4) What life events have shaped you into the person you are today?

I believe that all of the trauma I have lived through really forced me to become strong which led to me becoming the positive, optimistic person I am today. I've lived through several traumatic experiences that challenged me from sexual assault/harassment to losing more than one family member unexpectedly, including my father who I was very close to. Life has never come with instructions, but I've learned from what I've been through, and I'll continue to learn as I go through life's ups and downs. Then, I'll proudly use my knowledge and my experience to help others.

5) To conclude, is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you?

The pageantry world is still so new to me, but I am so humbled and grateful for my new friends and the opportunities coming to me now and in the future! I hope that I can serve my community and one day America by addressing the stigma surrounding mental health. If anyone would like to follow my social media and follow my journey through life and all of the in-betweens, I have all of my social media listed below!

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