There Was Nothing I Could Do

Alex Craigie

People don’t understand.

It’s stupid to judge someone on their looks.

Just because I’m pretty and have blonde hair doesn’t mean I’m dumb. I make no apology for taking care of myself. I use creams to keep my skin in good condition and choose my make-up to give as flattering a result as possible. Most people do the same, if they’re completely honest. I mean, who chooses to go around looking their worst when, with a little care and attention, they can look years younger and more attractive?

I know these beauty pageants get a bad press. My mother got me into them years ago and she got a lot of stick off other mums at the school. I was bullied by some of the kids who said some pretty nasty things, but my Mum told me that it was just because they were jealous and once she’d said it, I could see she was right. Then there was that quiet Linda Rawlins who had nothing going for her in the looks department at all. I actually felt sorry for her and I took her to one side and told her that she should put her books down sometimes and just take a good look at herself in the mirror. I’m compassionate like that; happy to give my time to a good cause. I even gave her some make-up tips but it didn’t make any difference; as soon as I walked away, she had her big nose in her book again.

Beauty doesn’t come cheap, either. Natural beauty like mine costs a fortune.

There’s the skin and hair care products, the make-up, the eyebrow shaping, the eyelash tinting, the tanning salon, the electrolysis, the tooth veneers, the waxing, the laser treatments, the dermal fillers, the botox, the vampire facials. It all adds up.

Another thing that winds me up is the assumption that all you need to do for these pageants is to swan up and down the stage and smile. If only they knew! You have to be able to let your personality shine through and that’s not easy, I can tell you. You have to be prepared for all sorts of difficult questions. Last week, someone in front of me was asked what was the capital of Paris. I’m glad I didn’t get that one, but she knew her capitals all right and when she said P everyone cheered and stamped and was delighted for her.

You also get marked on good citizenship, of course. Some people go and help out for a day at a school, or somewhere like that, but I don’t. I know I’m a good citizen. I’m always polite and say please and thank you and I ask the old folk how they are – though I often have to lie about having to rush off because they do drone on so. Anyway, I have this bit I say about how we’re all God’s people and we should treat everyone with love and respect, the way that we’d like to be treated ourselves. It always goes down a treat. Well, it’s how I live my life and my mother says I’m a shining example to others. My brother says I always make him feel more intelligent and better about himself. That’s nice, isn’t it?

It’s such a shame, really. People have jumped to conclusions and criticised me without being fully aware of the situation. I mean, there I was on the eighteenth floor of The Madison Hotel Complex. My heat was due to start in twenty minutes, when there was this terrible crashing sound at the window and I ran across to have a look. One of those thingummies for washing the outside of the windows had broken. The left side had completely snapped off and this poor man had managed to grab the sill. He was screaming at me to open the window, poor thing. I gave him my brightest, kindest smile and held it there for him - even as he lost his grip.

I mean, my nails weren’t quite dry yet.

There was nothing I could do.