Ugly Duckling To Beauty Queen


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“Every little girl should be told that she’s pretty.” – Marilyn Monroe


I could probably count on one hand the amount of times in my life when someone has told me I was attractive, bar the ex-boyfriend who would tell me I was pretty everytime I said something ridiculous.  I’ve always managed to hide behind humor or intelligence to distract attention from my looks.  No one could ever tell me I was stupid or not funny and have me believe them.  To be called ugly, however, couldn’t rock me any further than if I’d been stabbed in the heart with a red hot poker.


I was an awkward, shy kid with thick glasses and bad teeth who chewed her hair and could name any dog breed upon sight (still can!).  I won a first place in Science Olympiad for Forensics and started taking the ACT/SATs in sixth grade.  When I was about thirteen, a woman at church told me that I should be a model.  My mom turned to me, however, and just said, “it’s because you’re tall.”  Being beautiful was not my role.



But I wanted to be beautiful and like everything else in my life, I thought that all I needed was some sort of accomplishment, a certificate, a grade, so I signed up for Miss Preteen Iowa.  I felt that this could prove that I was pretty.  If someone tried to say differently, I could show them my crown and say, “but, look!  I’m a beauty queen.”


I wore a peach ballgown dress that my mom made, I practiced my walking and posing for weeks.  When it came to the day, my mom did my hair in a tight French braid.  I placed in acting, but, of course, I did.  I placed in speech, but, of course, I did.  I placed in talent by singing a classical Italian aria, but, of course, I did.  When it came to the titles, however, my name was never called.  I was devastated.  The first thing I said to my mom when she met me crying in the dressing room, however, was “I want to do this again next year.”  Somone had to believe I was beautiful, right?


Last week, a boy asked me to be his girlfriend…..I haven’t heard from him since.  He’s been doing some social media updating about not having anywhere to take his many dating options, so….at least he didn’t die, I guess.  In fairness, we decided to “talk about it after the holidays,” but I guess I thought we’d still speak between now and St. Patrick’s Day.  You can match up on every intellectual and emotional level, but I can’t stop telling myself that this wouldn’t happen if I was beautiful.  The greatest part is that this is someone that was supposed to be a friend of mine…previous to this.


I’ve broken up with boys who then list in exacting detail the physical things about me that are imperfect.  I’ve had kids on the playground tease me for any variety of things.  I’ve had the maturity to think that the ex is hurting and he’s trying to make me hurt too or the kids at recess are jealous that I get to travel with my family, have good grades and am the lead in the school play.  But, still…when I meet someone, I just assume that they’re not going to be attracted to me.  I know I’ll win them over, but I feel like there’s something I need to win over.  I don’t think I’m a monster, but I’m always waiting for someone to shove me down a few pegs.


I’ve been told that is one of the most refreshing things about me: that I just don’t believe I’m pretty.  But I’m not down with that.  I want a guy who wants me to believe that I’m beautiful and does what he can to make me feel that way every day.  That’s the type of man every woman deserves.


Real beauty definitely comes from the inside, but it doesn’t hurt to be told you’re pretty now and then.


“Beauty is how you feel inside and it reflects in your eyes.  It is not something physical.” – Sophia Loren

**Love this quote…but, disclaimer, I’m not sure people were always looking at your eyes, Sophia….


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  • Well, I think you're hawt. ;)

    You know what my pet peeve is? When I ask someone of the opposite sex what they like most about me I get "you're funny." Not that I mind the compliment, but for once I'd like to hear "you're cute" or "dead sexy." (Okay, that last one was pushing it, I'll admit.)

    I guess the point is that guys like to hear it too. Just so you gals know.

  • In reply to GeekToMe:

    Amen to that! Though perhaps that's a geeky guy thing?

  • In reply to GeekToMe:

    Okay-I've got a few minutes before lunch to comment and I had to re-read this a few times because I may not be understanding a few things. I know that you've said that you really do love yourself, but why are you always waiting for someone to shove you down a few pegs, and why do you feel that you need to win over anyone, relationship-wise specifically? Those are my main questions that I'm a bit confused about.

    Here's my personal mantra that I've tried to live by this past year, and it's vastly improved my overall self-esteem, how I relate to others, and just my view of life in general, and it may be things that you're already doing here or there but it's worth mentioning. If you expect the worst, or expect someone to knock you down a few pegs, and you're putting that vibe out into the universe then that's what's going to gravitate towards you. Ask and you shall receive. If you expect only the best, expect people to see you as the awesome person that you truly are, and manifest that you will meet someone who's perfect for you then it will happen. People pick up on your vibe, maybe subconsciously I don't know, but if you've got this preconceived notion that you're not that cute then it's going to come out in on way or another.

    Okay, so I know that may come off as some new-age hippie bs, but positive manifestation works. This coming from a huge skeptic.

    "I want a guy who wants me to believe that I'm beautiful and does what he can to make me feel that way every day." I agree that we want to be loved, everyone does, and I may be misunderstanding this, but if you're expecting a significant other to assist you with believing that you're beautiful it's ultimately doomed. I think that it boils down to the fact that we need to really and truly love ourselves, realize what badasses we really are, in order to find someone that it's equally as badass that we can share a balanced relationship with. If you expect someone to be your savior and build you up then when they're gone where are you? Back to square one, right?

    I only say this because I feel that you ARE a badass, you are beautiful, but in order to find that super awesome guy out there you need to realize all of these things, not just the smart/funny part, but the whole overall package of awesomeness. We all have days where we feel not-so-cute, but if you believe that you really are attractive then others will gravitate towards that. I hope that helped, and wasn't harsh, but I don't want to sugarcoat something because you're smart and I know you know what's up. As for that gentleman (well I won't use the word I called him yesterday) who dissed you, what goes around comes around. He probably won't get any play or will catch something gross. The universe tends to work all things out.

  • In reply to GeekToMe:

    I agree! Everyone has their insecurities. Sorry about any confusion, of if my comments came off sort of me; that wasn't my intent. You really do seem like a badass, awesome person, and you'll find someone perfect for you; we all run into bumps on the way :)

  • In reply to GeekToMe:

    I think my keyboard here at work has a mind of it's own. I swear I can spell, kind of.

  • In reply to GeekToMe:

    "I've been told that is one of the most refreshing things about me: that I just don't believe I'm pretty." This could be true. Maybe you're beautiful because you don't, yes don't, think you're beautiful. It gives you a down-to-earth sense, shows you don't have your head up in the skies.
    Nevertheless Ana, you're a hottie (just don't believe me, cause then you'd lose your down-to-earthness). I mean, if Tom Brady saw you in that green dress, he'd dump Giselle in a sec!

  • In reply to GeekToMe:

    I think being down to earth is great, and there is a refreshing quality in a pretty girl who doesn't know she's pretty.

    But you're right, women deserve a man who wants them to believe they are beautiful, and treats them that way. I grew up believing that. I think it helps if the girl has her own sense of self-worth and confidence, though. She shouldn't be co-dependent.

    I went on a few dates with a best friend turned temporary sorta kinda not really girlfriend for a while. She didn't think she was very pretty and truth be told she doesn't take the best pictures. But I thought she was beautiful(inside and out) and I told her all the time, the best I could. It never worked out, though. I never fully understood why. That is just the way life goes.

    Anyway, sorry to blow up your blog today but I've never read it before and I'm kinda into it. It's helped me to let some stuff out too.

  • In reply to GeekToMe:

    I've never bought into the "treat her like crap" mentality, but I have to admit those guys have a lot more luck.

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