Redefining Talent

A few weeks ago there was a lot of discussion in the media regarding Miss Colorado’s unconventional performance in the talent portion of the Miss America pageant.  Kelley Johnson, who is a nurse, came on stage wearing scrubs and a stethoscope and presented an original monologue about her experience working with an elderly patient she called “Joe”. I hadn’t watched the pageant but after reading all the comments going around I looked up the video to watch online. Here is the link in case you want to check it out:
Personally,  I  like her style. In fact, I think we could take it even further.  The term “talent” in Miss America and other pageants has been pigeon-holed into meaning some kind of performing art: singing, dancing, baton twirling, whatever. Why? These are bright, interesting women who wish to represent our country. Why do they have to sing well to do that? I’ve heard young girls here in town say that they can’t compete in our local “Miss” pageant because they “have no talent”! I bet that there are just as many “Miss America” wanna-bes thinking the same thing. What!? Everyone has some kind of talent, they’re just thinking of it the wrong way.

Here’s an idea…Let’s change the “Talent” portion of the pageant into the “How do you make your mark in the world?” portion. Then each young woman could perform, tell a story or make a video showing what she is passionate about, something that means something to her and the world around her. Maybe it would be dancing or singing or playing the piano but it could also be volunteering for a cause, caring for the environment or saving and enriching lives the way Miss Colorado does. If we do that, perhaps our daughters would idolize teachers and nurses and chefs and engineers, and beauticians the way that they idolize Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande.

What do you think?

13 thoughts on “Redefining Talent

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I hadn’t heard about it here. Hooray for Miss Colorado. I do find it disappointing that after watching the video, so many of the offered other videos were about her defending what she did. Why would she need to defend it? That is her talent and why shouldn’t she share it? I love your suggestion. The whole Miss Whatever thing is a bit of an outdated idea in our society as it is, I think it needs to redefine itself to reflect more modern views.

    • She felt she had to defend it because the ladies (though I cringe at calling them that) on the show The View made fun of her for her “talent”. Funny thing is, other than The View, I’ve never heard anyone make fun of her.

  2. I love this idea! Talent is not limited to performing, in any area of life. While I never watch pageants, I do know people who think they have “no talent” because they can’t perform or aren’t artistic. But everyone has something to offer, and that means everyone has talent.

  3. This post reminded me of something I was told once by a counsellor who had just conducted a personality profile on me. I scored very high on creativity and I literally laughed out loud. I had always associated creativity with “artistic* ability. This c ounsellor (someone I’ve now decided was a wise person) challenged me to discover what creativity meant for me … because everyone manifests creativity differently.

    Your suggestion is exactly the same concept. We’ve come to think that *talent* means performance art. This needs an update and your suggestion is a great one!

  4. Well said. I’m not a big pageanterson but the talent portion seems a bit outdated. I think what Miss Colorado did was much more meaningful and current.

  5. Thanks for sharing this video, Nancy! I found this to be very heartfelt and touching. I agree that sharing their passion would be much more interesting to me. 🙂

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