My 17 year old daughter has longed to showcase her talent, as she has the voice of an angel especially when she sings. She took voice lessons before, but her range is so high and ability so vast that the instructor did not feel the need to “teach” her anything further. Instead, the teacher suggested she would be perfect to teach the younger students at their studio.
It’s hard to get a “big break” in such a small town. Feeling this, we sought an agency in the Charleston area and signed her up for an audition. She hides her anxiety so well, no one on the outside would ever imagine she is struggling inwardly with this demon. It has plagued us, and if we are honest with ourselves, we will admit feeling anxious from time to time with various roles we are in. One of the hardest is to face that which provokes anxiety within you. I know what you’re thinking. There is no way you would want to willingly subject yourself to that which you KNOW will cause your heart to race, palms to sweat, and hands to wring as you wait. It is exactly what you must do for the anxiety to subside and release the hold it has over you.
We arrived at the host hotel for this event, and immediately my daughter started voicing her concerns. The line for registration was long, as was the line for those auditioning that evening. She asked if she could back out, but I encouraged her to just try … that is all I wanted was for her to put her best foot forward that evening and try!
She originally signed up for singing and modeling. As we made our way through the registration process, she received her contestant number and stood in line for the audition. She asked if she could keep her cell phone with her, and I agreed although my husband wasn’t too fond of the idea. I only allowed it because I knew she would need coaching leading up to her time to shine. Even if she didn’t reach out via text to me, she would be able to reach out to a friend for comfort and encouragement. As she inched forward and her time to perform grew nearer, she texted almost pleading as her words leaped off the text message, “Do I REALLY have to do this? Can we leave? I don’t want to do this. Please …” I knew she was struggling, but I texted back with reassuring words, letting her know how proud I was of her and how much I love her! The easiest thing in the world in that moment would have been to run as fast as you could toward the door to leave, to get rid of this uncomfortable feeling, to free yourself from all eyes being on you and all attention focusing on what you might say, do, or how you even walk forward as you present yourself to the judges. Instead, I encouraged her to just see what would happen. Press on … press through it … and just give it your best shot.
One last plea came before they called her number, “I don’t want to sing. There are too many people. Can we just leave?”
“No, darling … you can do this! If you don’t want to sing, just walk forward and model. That is all you have to do … just walk …”
A voice interrupted the plea bargaining. “Contestant 150, please step forward and state your name and age.”
My internal voice began, “Oh nooooo … she has to speak!!” Prayers followed in those few seconds as I asked God to help her through this. I felt reassured instantly, and my internal voice continued, “She’s GOT this!”
She stepped forward with those long legs and stood confidently in front of the judges. With perfect posture, her five feet seven inch petite frame did not give away the anxiety welling up inside of her. My mama’s heart prayed her through it, but she was a natural and appeared so at ease in this atmosphere. No one would have ever imagined the war going on inside of her at that moment in time.
Stating her name and age without so much as a tremble in her voice, she walked as if she was a model on the catwalk with one foot in front of the other. Pausing to profile to the left, then profile to the right, she turned on the ball of her foot and made her way to the awaiting chair to be seated with the rest of the contestants. This mama breathed a sigh of relief and a prayer of thanks, and I could finally stop wringing my hands together!
It didn’t take long for the judges to call out the numbers of those progressing to the next phase. “Contestant 150, you have made it to the next round.”
YEAH!! We wanted to jump from our seats and cheer, but we remained composed so as not to completely embarrass our daughter. I grabbed my cell phone and texted congratulations and words of praises to her. She pushed through her anxiety, and now she progressed to the next round.
That’s MY girl!
We went right away into a meeting where the judges stated how this all would work. There were only ten available slots. The judges assured us they would pour over all of the pictures submitted as well as review the audition tapes again before making their final selection. We would know in a few days if she was selected. We gathered our belongings, hugged our girl, and went to a celebratory dinner!
The next day the agent called her when she was in school, then rang my phone as well, and even followed up with an email. They wanted her!! She was one of the ten selected, and she was their favorite of the evening from what their message said!
MY GIRL!!! Oh, how my heart beamed with pride in that moment.
It isn’t at all what you’d think either. I’m not one of these mothers pushing her girls to do beauty pageants and putting all focus on looks and winning. It seems contrary to what I’ve written here, but hear me out. My daughter has struggled with her self esteem and self confidence. She was bullied at an early age, and the hurtful and hateful comments were not easy to shake. I’ve been there, along with every other person on the face of this earth if they are completely honest with themselves and others. We ALL struggle with one thing or another. We wonder if we are “enough.” We fear we aren’t “good enough” or “talented enough,” when that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Having my daughter recognized by judges in the modeling industry was a huge boost for her. No matter how many times I tell her how beautiful she is or how gorgeous everything about her truly is, she struggles to believe it because I’m her mom. She feels I “have” to say those things. I say them because they are TRUE!! She is, without a doubt, a true beauty. Her beauty comes from the inside and shines out through her deep blue eyes and her sparkling smile. But knowing that others in the field recognize that she has “the look” and having judges reach out to encourage her to pursue modeling has to help.
And so we move forward slowly to see what the future holds. She is still interested in singing and wants to pursue that for certain. In the meantime, we will bask in the moment and enjoy the pictures from this weekend’s professional modeling photo shoot!