Tuesday, May 28, 2013

More Magazine 2013 Beauty Search Finalist

This past April, I did something I've never done before: entered a beauty contest.

In my race bag for the More Magazine's / Fitness Magazine's Half-marathon in NYC, there was a postcard advertising the contest. Entry requirements included one photo and an essay answering the question: "What makes you beautiful, now more than ever?" Since I love writing, the challenge of the essay appealed to me, and the question was a softball. In my first weeks post leukemia diagnosis, I couldn't have been uglier. Two years later, I'm so much healthier!

So I wrote my essay, picked a photograph from the ones taken by Magique Studios, and applied. And then I perused all the other entries, and was awed and inspired by all the amazing women. This is how I met my new friend, Elizabeth Grant, whose writings about her faith in God while battling stage IV breast cancer are moving and comforting. Meeting other entrants via social media, and being inspired by them, was a prize in and of itself.

Since I felt so humbled by the other women's stories, it never occurred to me that I might be a finalist, and so was very surprised when I received the notice. Out of the approximately 1500 entries, I'm one of 20 finalists (5 in each category, for which there will be one winner: 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60+). The judging criteria is: "inspirational quality of story (50%) and appearance, photogenic quality and vitality depicted by the Contest Entry photo (50%)."

I had to submit five additional photographs and will find out by June 3rd if I've won. The grand prize is $5,000, a three-night stay in NYC for me and a guest, a hair and beauty session, photo shoot and opportunity to be featured in a future issue of More Magazine. A sweet package for sure. If in the off-chance I do win, I plan to donate a portion of the cash to my favorite nonprofits: the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, First Descents, Stupid Cancer, and the University of Minnesota Foundation.

I have only a 20% chance of winning my age group, so I'm assuming I won't. Why so pessimistic? Because I've been trying really hard to reduce my anxieties about relapsing and latent side-effects by convincing myself that if something has less than a 50% probability, it's unlikely to happen. I can't get excited about 20% odds in one scenario, only to write them off under different circumstances. (Oh the mind games a cancer survivor plays...)

If you'd like to see my entry in the contest: click here.

The pics I sent as follow-up for the final judging are below: