I felt punched in the stomach. Absolutely sick at what I was watching.
I was in church and service was ending. My sister, Julia (Miss NC USA ’15) had been texting me updates and I was just seeing them. There were a few cool things I noticed before I witnessed the madness on TV.
1. Olivia Jordan, Miss USA who my sister had competed with was in the top 3. Yay! We always support USA.
2. Julia had texted me days before the pageant about having a dream that Colombia had been crowned. We thought that was interesting considering that Colombia had won the year before.
3. Colombia was crowned!!! Whoa. My husband and I were elated by the sheer fact that our sister has ridiculously accurate dreams. (She has had some insane ones regarding planes crashes, terrorist attacks, 911 and other outcomes in the past that were accurate in every detail.)
4. Julia was texting me, “Oh my gosh, my dream actually happened on the Miss Universe stage, down to the colors and everything! I’m having an anxiety attack.”
5. Minutes later, Julia wrote, “Kristen, they just took the crown off of Colombia’s head and put it on Philippines.”
I read her text in disbelief. To my knowledge, this had never happened in Miss Universe Organization history. I hadn’t seen the footage yet, but my imagination of the moment was all shades of jaw dropping.
My friends had asked that none of us text or talk about the results as we are all on west coast time and couldn’t see the live stream. So my husband and I went to a friends’ house to sing Christmas carols. But even by then, the word had already spread to non-pageant fans and everyone wanted to show the big moment on the big screen. So I sat there with my friends who are unfamiliar with the pageant world and watched the atrocity with my hands over my mouth.
Until that point, I thought I had a dramatic imagination. But what I watched unfold made me nauseous. It made me nauseous for a few reasons:
1. Everyone was confused.
2. Steve Harvey seemed to have no direction or support. He has never hosted a pageant and needed some guidance on how to handle the debacle and make the transition as seamless and directed as possible…for everyone’s sake. He is talent, not a producer/director/tabulator or network exec and it seemed like this was a point where he needed some back up in this defining moment faster than it happened.
2. I feel terrible for Miss Colombia because she could have won just as well as any woman in the top five. This instance that would have been a life-defining moment of a beautiful, dream fulfilled had just dizzyingly transitioned into a traumatic life-defining moment for which she now needs to and/or should seek therapy and counseling. I truly hope she uses this horrible pain and dumfounding turn of events for victory in God’s Kingdom.
I also deeply hope that the Miss Universe Organization and the country of Colombia supports this woman and shows her that she still has a royal identity whether she wears the Miss Universe crown or not.
On the flip side, I pray that Miss Colombia uses her moments in the media to be gracious, honest, true to herself and humble.
3. Regarding Miss Philippines win. It’s about time!! Philippines always has strong competitors and has often been my winning pick. I still haven’t seen the entire telecast, but I did watch the closing of the pageant and what I did see in Miss Philippines was humility, sincerity, dignity and sparkle in her eyes and behavior. Although she didn’t get the traditional crowning moment, she was still shown redemption very quickly and her win was captured during the telecast. I thank God for showing us what quick redemption looks like.
4. As terrible as the mistake was, I really respect the Miss Universe Organization and Fox for correcting their mistake in record time. I have seen directors let mistakes go for the sake of saving face in front of sponsors and an audience. It would have been easier to let Miss Colombia walk with the crown and stay silent. At least hope is restored in the fact that they corrected their mistake immediately, despite knowing the backlash would be a mighty one.
5. For all the runner-ups out there. I have been a runner-up many times in my pageant career and at times thought to myself, “There must be some mistake.” The times my sister was a runner-up, I would sit there in silence imagining the tabulators speaking to the judges, the directors, and then the host causing a turn of events in her favor. Of course it never happened. I only thought the crowning of the runner-up happened in my imagination, out of my own hurt.
But it turns out that tonight justice was done. In my mind, the crowning of the first-runner up on the grand, international level of the Miss Universe stage was in some way a redeeming moment for all the contestants who get or feel robbed.
It is awful, just brutal that Colombia has to go through her own process of what happened and ask God how He will redeem her. Tragically, she was made an international spectacle of the heartache of dreams taken from us. But, God always redeems His daughters. Let’s pray that she finds healing and comfort in Him.
Beauty queens are people too and hurt like everyone. Let us learn from this moment on television and turn to what God calls us to do. He doesn’t seek lawsuits, selfish gains or envy. Instead we are to, “Count it all joy, when you meet trials or various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 ESV.
The Spirit of God is present in everything, even when it takes a while to notice. Everyone will have their perspective on what happened depending on how they relate, but I hope everyone can see the parallel of the message that our heavenly crown can never be taken away. When we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus amidst trials, His faithfulness will never return void.
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