Beauty pageants have been looked up to as benchmarks of beauty, intelligence, and grace for decades. Kids and adults across America would have sat in front of the television and watched a pageant with complete delight and admiration.
Elle Smith was raised in Kentucky and has prepared for this moment her entire life. She was already a star in her town, working as a full-time reporter for WHAS, the ABC affiliate in Louisville, where she built her media and public speaking skills. Her passion for bringing attention to the issues that would improve the community drove Elle to build the path she is on.
Her parents are artists and musicians who molded her passions. Elle’s interests range from photography and playing classical tunes on the piano. Later on, she expanded her career into the world of modeling. Inspired by her grandmother, she later utilized her platform to raise awareness for cervical cancer and women’s health issues.
Robyn Newmark: Elle, you are an inspiration to women all over the world. My first question is, how do you stay encouraged and keep a positive mindset when competing against women in almost every life category?
Elle: That’s a golden question many people want to know about. I always say that just because your light shines don’t mean that mine can’t either. But it’s a competition at the end of the day, yet you get to be surrounded by strong, resilient, independent, intelligent women, and it helps to acknowledge that. So, I always say you can learn something from the people you’re competing with.
Robyn Newmark: What would you say to those who are critics of pageants who lack understanding about the opportunities available for young women like yourself?
Elle: I can understand that because I used to be a critic of pageants. I just started this past year. There are a lot of misconceptions about pageantry. But I would also implore anyone who has a little bit of criticism for them to speak to a woman who’s competed in pageants and tell them.
If you were speaking to me, I would tell you about the opportunities it has given me, and I wouldn’t be here today. If it weren’t for pageants, I wouldn’t have been able to have this amazing conversation and be in the spaces I am now in. Instead, it provides opportunities for women while teaching lifelong skills that will transcend far past pageantry into desired career fields, and it’s a lot of fun. You get some good girlfriends along the way too.
Robyn Newmark: I can imagine that in pageant life, it can get fierce amongst your other competitors. I’m sure even between some friends. So how do you get through those intense moments of competition and stay friends at the end?
Elle: Well, it’s tough! We’re all trying to have our Beyonce moment on stage. We would practice our walks and routines when we were getting ready for Miss USA behind the scenes. There is a massive amount of pressure to get things right. But we can also all relate, which taught us camaraderie. It’s a competition, but you gain much from it even if you lose. There can only be one winner each year. Just because you didn’t win the crown doesn’t mean you’re not valuable or didn’t deserve it. And I think that’s a lesson that we can relate to.
Robyn Newmark: What are some of your favorite beauty tips that you’ve learned from pageant life?
Elle: I’ve learned so many tips! Like the importance of butt glue!
Robyn Newmark: Well, We must know about the butt glue!?
Elle: Well, swimsuits, I didn’t know this before competing, but you glue down your swimsuit, so they don’t ride up. It’s a good little trick. Also, it is important to take your makeup off every night because, with pageants, you always have your full makeup on.
Robyn Newmark: I love that answer.
Elle: Living a healthy lifestyle and competing in a pageant is a rigorous process. Also, being a titleholder is a process. That being said, it is important to live a healthy and happy lifestyle to balance everything.
Robyn Newmark: What is your self-care ritual? How do you give back to yourself at the end of the day?
Elle: I always say Sundays are my days. I watch Netflix, sit on the couch, eat pizza and chocolate, drink milkshakes, and do whatever I want on Sunday. I think taking care of your mental and physical health is important. Prioritizing those two things has become incredibly important when it comes to functioning every day on a routine.
Robyn Newmark: What are some of your mental health practices?
Elle: Sundays are the time that I genuinely enjoy time for myself. I also just moved to LA, so taking time to speak with my family back home helps keep me grounded.
Robyn Newmark: For a woman who represents the epitome of beauty, what is the definition of beauty to you?
Elle: Beauty standards are constantly changing, and it is such a subjective thing. Beauty, to me, has always been defined on the inside. I appreciate a woman who embraces her natural beauty, and that’s something that I think will never change for me in the future.
Article written by “The Hollywood Beauty Guru”, Beauty Educator and Speaker Robyn Newmark
Robyn Newmark Official Website: https://www.newmarkbeauty.com/ Instagram: @getnewmarkbeauty
Photography by Filbert Kung @filbert_kung https://www.filbertkung.com/
Creative directing by Derek Warburton @derekwarburton / http://derekwarburton.com/
Style Asst by Robin Leiva Videography by Miguel Felix
Hair & Makeup by Joel Sebastian @joelstylst
Art directing by Alexander Silkin @alexander.silkin
Special thank you to Nancy Schuster and Crystle Stewart from the Miss USA Organization https://missusa.com/
Miss Circle https://misscircle.com/
Afle’ Bijoux https://www.aflebijoux.com/
Ndigo studio https://ndigo-studio.com/
Moschino couture https://www.moschino.com/
Ivan Young https://ivanyoung.com/