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?