1. You will make friends for life.
You will make a lot of friendships, from all around the world, competing against you or producing the show, but it will always have that one or two who you really bond with. It’s natural, everyone is out of their comfort zones, under a lot of pressure and stress, having someone there to chill, have a laugh and talk, forget for a moment about competition and stuff, make things more fun and pleasant. There are always good people, you just need to find them, they will be in your life for a long, long time.
2. Not everyone is your friend
It is a competition, but for some people, everything is valid to get their competition out of the way, by any means. You need to be careful with your drinks, what do people know about you and what you say, because there will always be that jealous/insecure -bitch- who will try to throw you under the bus, steal your swimwear before the show, even poison you in some cases. You can literally see the worst in people, so keep your eyes open!
3. Your name becomes your country’s name.
As mentioned before, when you meet so many people from all around the world, it’s very hard to memorize (and pronounce) their names, so that’s why we just call each other as our countries, a regular conversation during the competition:
How are you today, Ireland?
All good, Japan! Have you seen Hungary today?
Last time I saw he was chatting to Brazil and Australia.
You just have to get used to it…
4. Prepare your mind, body and soul.
During the competitions, you do not have power over anything, the organisers will decide where you will go, how you will get there, what time you have to wake up, what you are going to eat, drink, and when! It isn’t personal, the schedule is tight and between a triathlon, social work and a glamorous event (on the same day) you will have to keep smiling, positive, energetic and confident, even if the night before you slept only 3 hours. Your feet are sore, you are exhausted and recovering from food poisoning. See the positive side, diarrhoea might help those abs to pop out.
5. Forget your diet
Before the competitions we do diets, workout 6 days a weeks, intermittent fasting, anything possible to be looking your best, but once you get there they will feed you with anything. First of all, you are probably in a foreign country so the food will probably be very different for most, but the international food are: pizzas and burgers, yes! Junk food will be part of your life on a daily basis so all that effort that you put before will be on the line and there is nothing that you can do about it. You cannot cook or refuse, remember, you are visiting their homelands and you don’t want to be that person who complains, right? So you just have to make the “effort” enjoy the burger, and pray for the best.
6. You might be good, but there is always someone more prepared.
I know, that’s kinda obvious, but it is in fact, during the competition that you realize that things that you believed you were amazing at, might not be your best strengths. The competition is highly demanding and you are judged at all the times. You start questioning yourself about a lot of things and by observing your competitors it might get in your head. I always said to myself that my biggest competitor is me, and once you realize that, things start becoming less stressful and more genuine. Some countries have major producers and they are well known for producing pageant delegates. It is like a recipe that they use to get closer to the crown, but at the same time, this control over the delegate put them under a lot of pressure and away from the most important thing: be authentic.
7. Your past is coming to haunt you
Remember that nude you sent on that lonely Thursday in 2015? Or that hot video you recorded and sent to your ex? After this kind of competition, everything – I mean – everything is coming to haunt you. No shame there, what is done is done, but the damage is irreversible and in some cases, your worst nightmare. On the good side, it might lead to a new career from it.
8 – Winning is not important
You probably heard this a few times during your lifetime, once, twice or many times, but it is very true! Once you are there, competing with so many people from all around the world, you realise that people have different strengths and weaknesses, what makes them (and ourselves) unique. It’s hard to guess who’s gonna win, in competitions, there are many factors that impact on the final decision, some transparent and some not so much. Some countries have a lot of funds to invest in their delegates, with preparation, expensive clothing. Others are just there on their own, there is no equity between the delegates, and it’s okay?
The most important thing is to show what you came for, give your sweat, blood and tears, and enjoy this lifetime experience. At the end of the day, the winners don’t always win, everyone wins just by the fact that they are out of their comfort zones and representing their nations with everything they have!
9 – Live your fantasy
It is your time, your chance to shine and show what you are made of. You fought so hard to be in the position you’re in right now, to be unapologetically yourself should be the only way to go. People will talk bad things anyway, but what people think about you is none of your business, just let it be and make a show out of it.
One of the best parts of all of it is to know that you gave your best and you did what you wanted, no regrets for not being yourself. Some delegates are prisoners of their producer’s formula a “winner” but, even having the best intentions, it doesn’t work like that and it shouldn’t be like that. Shine bright like a diamond, my dear! Do your reveals and tricks in your best –Drag Race Fantasy– we only live once!
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