Whew, so it took me five days to unpack, wash and put all of our clothes away and reorganize the BabyLady's pageant closet🤣 NAM nationals was truly a blast and I really enjoyed how it was busy enough but not overly exhausting (even though I did get my 10k+ steps in everyday, lol!) In the NAM State Teen group we learned that Chloe was one of two or three Queens who had never been to nationals before AND won a title her first time competing at state. This pageant system is very different than the ones she's competed in previously, so I understand that is quite an accomplishment as the majority of these amazing girls start in NAM pretty young and compete year after year moving up through the age divisions and bouncing between the NAM and All American titles. (Confused yet? It took a LOT of reading and questions to fully grasp the magnitude of nationals - especially with IJM and the new iam Pageant Powerhouse stuff added in🤪) Side note: the nationals contestant handbook was 85 pages!! Mind blown 🤯
Clo was able to tailor her week as far as optional competitions and the wonderful MK Makeup Artistry was on deck for hair and makeup everyday, sometimes multiple times per day. The kiddo looked and felt fabulous the whole week between getting pampered and having lots of laughs in the makeup room and looking stylish in her fits 😍 Check out this adorable TikTok!
One of the coolest parts of the week was during the kick off on day one when the first ever iam Brand Ambassador was announced and it was my Chloe! As most of the folks who have followed her pageant career for some time know, she has spent a considerable amount of years in the community volunteering, working on her platform and representing her pageant titles to the fullest - so it really was a wonderful surprise and an honor! Later that evening and over the next couple of days she participated in fun events for the contestants (Neon Dance Party, Masquerade Ball, themed rehearsals) and she also elected to compete in the Talent, Runway and Fitness optional contests. She had also submitted a Photogenic entry and an Essay entry as part of the non-stage premium optional contests. I think there were about 10 different optional contests (maybe more) and probably about 10-12 iam contests (ex. Young Author, Academic Achievement, etc.) but she didn't want to be overwhelmed especially since she was getting her footing with being away at college, so she only did a few. It was wonderful seeing her get so excited for every event and being satisfied with her choices for the optionals too. Her amazing coach Kari Volen, owner of Pageant Coaching and Designs, was also really supportive and did a great job helping her prepare for nationals remotely and keeping Clo pumped up all week - she da best!!😍
Clo was 110% herself all week and that meant more to me than anything. She had the opportunity to hang with some of her favorite pageant friends from AZ and also a few pageant friends she knows from other states. Of course she also made a few new friends and the rehearsal staff loved her to pieces - she even earned one of the coveted "spirit sticks" that apparently only a few girls receive at nationals each year. For the most part her class of Queens were cool and fun, though she did feel a bit left out at times because most of them knew each other (and you also get the few who are in the zone and not super friendly) but of course she didn't let those girls or the moments being on the outside of the circle bring her spirit down. 😊
When it came time for the required competitions (Evening gown, Interview and Personal Introduction) she did her absolute best and felt really great after her performances. I LOVED her in the crisp white AshleyLauren jumpsuit and her beautiful blue custom couture Johnathan Kayne gown - both great choices that matched her style and personality beautifully. We are always grateful for the sponsorship and support of Patti and Glam Squad Prom and Pageant! There was a super tight timeline to get her gown (especially with her being in Tucson!) but it was a perfect fit and a stunner on stage💙💙 When we worked with JK to design it we told him he had to outdo that gorgeous orange gown and I definitely say he made it happen! We LOVE Johnathan and his team and it has been nothing short of a blessing to work with them on several occasions 🥰
Oh and we also totally forgot about the Spirit of America award, which was given out during the evening gown competition to all of the girls who competed in at least five of the premium optionals!
There were more awards given out during the week and Chloe was so surprised and blessed to be recognized 🙌🏽
To be recognized for her efforts on and *especially* off the pageant stage was definitely uplifting to her spirit😍 By the time finale night arrived we felt like the week had gone by so fast. Chloe was totally at peace with whatever the outcome would be, it was so awesome to have so many peeps in the audience and watching from home on the live stream. She was hopeful to be a finalist and one of her many goals for the week was to place in the Top 5. Although she didn't make it into the five she was excited to have done her best and be called as a Top 12 finalist - the group of contestants was truly top notch! We all had mini panic attacks since Arizona was the LAST to be called into the top 12... 😵 I think our little group was praying out loud for hers to be that final name called 🙏🏽 Shout out to her director Breanne for capturing the girls backstage as they called the finalists so we got to see Clo's reaction to being called as a finalist❤❤
Overall I would give nationals week and the entire experience leading up to it a 9 out of 10! There were a few things that prevented it from being absolute perfection, but after a decade of pageantry and competing in four major systems in the past five years that "9" is well deserved in my book! As a super organized, slightly OCD, timely Momager who loves to be involved and NEEDS to be informed about what we are getting ourselves into I have to say NAM was the bomb.com. I can clearly see why these young ladies who start in this system as littles and pre-teens stay here and come back year over year. I'm not oblivious to the politics of pageantry and I have to honestly say it wasn't as in your face as we've seen elsewhere. (I'm saving those stories for the memoirs!) I am glad to say Chloe is now forever a part of the #namily - #iamily and in the NAM Arizona Teen legacy behind some amazing girls that we truly adore. Since she turned 18 last week she is now on her own to finish out her year as The NAM AZ Teen and also to decide what's next for her should she decide to compete again. She is still in the teen age range for most systems for the 2022 pageant year and I can't imagine she will close out her teen pageant career just yet 😢 She did say she wants to get into the groove of her next semester of college before she makes any decisions and I am surely here for that!! Until then, I will continue to be the proudest mama in the universe😍 #TeamChloé