Chloe found pageantry when she was 8-years-old... after she lost her very first pageant she would spend hours on YouTube watching National American Miss videos trying to "learn how to be a pageant girl" 😍 On her very first vision board she glued a big photo of the NAM state crown right in the center and said "one day I'm going to have that crown and then I'm going to grow up and be Miss Universe!" 👑
Most of you know her journey - some only over the past few years, but it began in 2011 with Little Miss Jabberwock 2012 & 2013 (lost twice), Miss Pre-teen Phoenix 2012 (lost) Arizona's Little Miss 2013 (first "little" win, two losses) Miss Black Arizona 2013 & 2014 (lost first year, won 2nd year), America's Little Miss 2016 (2nd ru), MAOTeen National Princess program 2016, Miss Arizona's Outstanding Teen 2017, 2018, 2019 (Top 10, then 1st ru twice), Miss High School America 2020 (1st ru), Miss Arizona Teen USA 2021 (3rd ru) and now... NAM!
There was zero intention for Chloe to compete at NAM Arizona (CA/NV) this past weekend - we were helping out the Glam Squad pop up shop and supporting pageant sisters who were competing. There were no freshly waxed brows or spray tanned arms, her hair was pulled back and wild, no polish on her nails - she was steaming dresses and playing with her friends 😂 However, EVERY person who knows Clo took a moment to congratulate her on a job well done at AZ Teen USA two weekends ago and asked if she was competing at NAM that weekend. She would giggle graciously and say no, she was there for friends. Plus we are known to be ONE pageant per year girls - she takes her approach to the title very seriously, lol! (No, but seriously - she does!) Well, after a good five hours of the constant asking would she be competing for NAM AZ Teen, she started thinking perhaps she should consider it. Patti says "well, you have the dress and everything you'd need - I say go for it" (if you know Ms. Patti, you know how convincing she is 😝) Clo looks at me and asks what I think and I say "you're going to college in less than a month so you have to make the decision on your own, BabyLady. I will absolutely support whatever you want to do." She starts to seriously lean towards a ridiculously strong MAYBE (and at this point it is around 6:30pm on Friday) - then her hair and makeup friends walk past and say hey to Clo and congratulate her on the last pageant and ask if she's competing🤪 At this point Chloe is starting to freak out a bit... she's like "I have never done NAM! I don't have a personal introduction! My memorization skills are terrible (she ain't lying y'all!) I don't know, let me call my bestie!" She runs to a corner and calls her bestie in Ohio who is a former NAM state queen and nationals top finalist - and of course bestie says "MISS GIRL! DO IT! I'll send you my intro so you can hear how it goes and then we'll write one for you real quick." At this point I'm like lordy, what have I agreed to support?!
*insert a full hour of putting at least 10,000 steps on my smart watch running back and forth through the lobby and ballrooms to get paperwork, find the business center, talk to people, laugh with people, look at Clo's freaked out face, find the director to ask if this is even possible, asking Patti if she can sew the sexy Teen USA split on the gown (that we JUST had put into the gown🤪) down to her knee, figuring out hair and makeup, asking what is the NAM criteria, what do we need, what do we do, who are we, how are we... Okay let's freaking do it!*
I see my pageant mama bestie in the lobby and tell her what's happening and she thinks I'm saying Clo is going to compete at nationals (IJM) - I'm like "no girl, this child is talking about competing tomorrow!" 🤯 Her daughter is competing in Pre-teen, so bless up - she has the freaking Presidential Suite! Uh, yes please! So she says go get Clo's stuff and bring it back here. We confirm registration is still a-ok for late comers, secure a hair and makeup spot for the weekend, have folks working on the 'dreaded' personal introduction and Chloe and I hop into my car to head 25 minutes south to the Homefront. We're in the car cracking up like "what is happening?" We are total overachievers in the preparation game so this is way out of the comfort zone but I say "girlfriend, YOLO! We're in the business of making memories. You're a pro, you have what you need, just go have fun and do you - 100%" At this point, we're starving and it's almost 9pm - we roll through Chick-Fil-A make it home and we're eating and digging in the "I just retired twelve days ago" pageant closet to find NAM appropriate registration and interview attire (for those who don't know, appropriate attire can be VERY different in each pageant system.) We narrow it down to a red jumpsuit or a pink dress - pink dress a little tighter in the rump, so we kept it conservative. At this point I'm texting my pageant mama bestie asking about shorts for opening number. OF COURSE MY SEVENTEEN YEAR OLD HAS RIPS AND TEARS AND THINGS HANGING OUT OF EVERY PAIR OF SHORTS. Now it's 9:40pm. Target is four blocks away and closes in 20 minutes - we pray "Lord, please let there be a single pair of size 2 decent shorts in Target. Amen." 🙏🏽 We gather up all things we can think of: competition gear, toiletries, laptop, chargers - and jump in the car again. Clo's phone dings twice - hair/ makeup time is 5:30am 💋😵💫😴 and version one of the personal intro is ready. 😝 She's reading the intro, I'm speeding to Target. We run in, we buy all potentially decent shorts we can find in her size... target is turning out the lights at this point... we head back to the car to drive back to the hotel.
**I don't even have to tell you the amount fussing that went on for the next 25 minutes trying to tweak the personal intro. She's seventeen.**
We make it to bestie's hotel mansion (sheesh!🥴) and the three of us get to work on finalizing the intro verbiage. A good 75 minutes later we're satisfied with the intro and I realize we have to drive back almost 30 minutes plus get to sleep to wake up at 4:30am. Ugh.
Next morning the kiddo drives herself to the hotel and gets to hair / makeup. It is raining cats, dogs, horses... you name it! And the humidity - WHEW! I thought we woke up in Florida! So by the time I get there (and might I add I'm still helping at Glam Squad all day, lol) she is ready to make it official. We get her squared away and she is now officially a contestant. Since I knew she still had an out until she actually had a contestant number (bwahaha) I finally text her Dad and tell him we're doing a thing and he's like 🙄 "have fun". He's working all day and most of the evening anywho... and bless up that my Pageant Mama Bestie's hubby is there with suit and tie to escort his own daughter, so he agrees to escort BabyLady too! Woo hoo! Everybody wins. What was NOT winning was that humidity - but #TeamMasKara had my girl right. Her edges were screaming a tad, but it is what it is🤷🏽♀️ she's gorgeous to me anyway!
*tender moment break*
So after Chloe received the coveted NAM t-shirt and socks (and btw we found the perfect NAM appropriate shorts, yay Target!) she went down to the Kick Off & Group Photo. I can only imagine how that went knowing that many of the girls she had talked to the day before she told she wasn't competing and she'd be cheering them on. So when she came up I pulled her to the side and asked her how it went and was everything okay because if it was weird I didn't want her to not have a good time. She said "nooo, it was fun and I'm excited and so are my friends!" Awww😍 So she enjoyed rehearsals and fun time with her girls and somewhere in between (living off of 4 hours of sleep) worked on memorizing the personal introduction! At one point we went back to bestie's room and I looked over and Clo was asleep on the table😂 - so I left and went back to steaming dresses.
Fast forward to evening gown competition - she looked beautiful once again in "Shelah" (pronounced Sheila) and we were grateful for her to have had the most amazing and supportive escort. Afterwards we hopped in our cars and I sent her on home to hopefully get more than 4 hours of sleep - and I organized everything she would need for the next day at the bestie's mansion, lol. Made it home and she was unpacked and reorganizing - then she finally went to bed. I contemplated sending out my famous #TeamChloe email update to the family to let them know she was competing, but I let it rest (my Mom did at least get a quick phone call earlier that morning😉)
Sunday morning arrived and we headed back to the hotel at 6am, this time in one car. I was making her late, she was getting annoyed with me, but I know a lot of it was nerves because the personal introduction competition was at 9am. The hair and make up pros got her together (especially those edges, whew, thank you!) and she was off. I had to SWEAR I would not make ANY type of eye contact with her during her intro or else she would mess up... and it would be MY fault... because just looking at her would be the worst thing that could happen in those 30 seconds 😒 I obeyed the wishes and sat waaaaay in the back - of course she did a fabulous job and I was so proud. More importantly, she was proud of herself. From there she went to interview and a little while later and I went to the parent meeting and may I share, especially for those who do not know NAM or have not had daughters compete in NAM, I would hands down recommend this system for every girl. It was such a positive and touching meeting and it just felt GOOD. The director Breanne was great, the parents were great, all the people running things were great and the titleholders were the absolute sweetest and humblest girls too!
We had a little down time to eat and chat with pageant friends and for the most part (lol🤨) everyone was excited and supportive of Chloe competing and she received lots of well wishes. What was funny was that I soon realized that I was expected to assist her with getting into her gown after the opening number and I haven't been backstage with her during a pageant since she was 12-years-old. It was actually really cool to get to see her, hug her and say a little prayer with the BabyLady before she went on stage for her final time. The energy in the forum was definitely LIT and there were SO many of our favorite pageant peeps there. I had talked with quite a few of Clo's MAO sisters who were really excited to see her on stage again so soon - they definitely brought so much love into the room every time she hit the stage and I could not appreciate it more. I was the only one there as far as my family - and anyone who knows us knows that we roll DEEP - giant Chloe heads, buttons and we recently added the light up name to the repertoire, haha! But it was just mama 😍 and my amazing pageant family. Then she won. And that room erupted. I blacked out for a good 10 seconds or so but Chloe was on that stage finally having her shining moment and I could not believe it. She apparently couldn't either because her mouth was open the entire time (I can't wait to see the official photos and video 😲) and my mouth was open the whole time too. What a memory this will always be.
So that's how it all happened. The whole story from start to finish and then some 😂 I'm so happy for my favorite girl and honored to be mama NAM AZ Teen 2021! We can't wait for her year serving the community with this amazing title; which may look a little different while navigating college! And she is beyond excited to actually complete at nationals in Orlando this year - and this time my family will know about it too🤪 Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk. #TeamChloé