Winning doesn’t always mean being No. 1.
Miss South Carolina contestant Jina Smith didn’t claim the coveted sash, but she feels she came away from the statewide pageant a winner in other ways.
Smith represented Cheraw last Saturday in the Miss South Carolina Pageant in Charleston. She was one of 39 contestants in the running. There were 32 competing for the Miss Teen tiara.
“It was truly an amazing experience,” she said. “Meeting girls from all across out beautiful state was an honor.”
Expecting to be among frantic girls, nervous about what they were facing, Smith said in that aspect, the pageant was a little less intense than she predicted.
The girls were the opposite, she said — quite calm.
“Unfortunately, I did not place,” Smith said. “But on the bright side, I definitely gained new friends.”
On Friday, all the contestants, teen and miss, participated in the opening number, swimwear and formalwear competition.
They repeated the opening number on Saturday morning. The top 15 were then announced and continued on to the swimwear part of the competition. All contestants participated in the parade of gowns.
Those who made it into the top five were asked a question on stage. All contestants were on stage when the winner was crowned.
Although she didn’t walk away with a crown, Smith said she did leave the stage with a few lessons.
“I definitely learned that pageants are made to be fun, but it is also still a competition at the end of the day,” she said. “It’s an amazing feeling being on that stage and having the lights hit you and knowing that the judges’ eyes are glued to you.. You have maybe 90 seconds on that stage to prove your worth. Within those seconds, they can change your life.”
Smith said the most important lesson for her was that in any competition, you have to have self-confidence.
“You may win, and that is great,” she said, “but if you don’t, you have to have confidence in yourself to move forward and not let the loss consume you. Take it as a learning experience and push for the next goal.”
Reach Maria D. Grandy at 843-537-5261.