Tajma has not competed in pageants her entire life, but the experiences she’s gained will last a lifetime. Don’t limit that idea to glitter and mile-high tiaras. Tajma takes more from a title than the applause or a moment in the spotlight. Tajma has seen her success in pageants as a way to develop grace under pressure, to thicken her skin in the face of possible rejection, and in the creation of her foundation, a platform to give back to her community. This week 5 Questions picks the brain of the former teen queen as she applies her pageant lessons to the real world obstacles of life.
1)What do you think makes a competitor stand out?
Confidence is key! Confidence is the difference between a competitor and a queen. It cannot be taught or copied as it’s just something inside of you. And everyone can have it. The key is to find it and activate it. When you find out how to do that, it shows on the outside. There is nothing more powerful than a confident woman. That is what makes you stand out, in competition and in life.
2)What is your preparation routine for pageants and do you see more competitions in your future?
My pageant preparation routine is very simple. I make myself a checklist with due dates to keep track of everything I need. I also write positive affirmations to look at daily to keep myself motivated and focused on my goals for competition.
I definitely see more competitions for myself in the future. I love competing and will continue to do so as long as I can. I see myself competing in Mrs. pageants when I’m married. I will always be involved in the industry whether it is on the competition side or behind the scenes.
3)What sparked your interest in pageants and how did you break into the industry?
I was never really interested in pageants per se. It was literally advertisement in the mail that got me involved. After my first competition in 2005, I fell in love with the excitement and the adrenaline rush you get standing on stage waiting for your name to be called. I haven’t stopped competing since.
4)What was the best piece of advice someone ever gave you, and what advice do you have for any girls getting into pageantry?
Always be yourself. The best way to be naturally confident is to just be who you are.
My advice to girls getting into pageantry is to first make sure it is something that you want. Don’t do it for anyone else. Don’t do it to fit in. You will find it most rewarding when you are doing it for yourself.
My embarrassing pageant moment is probably about as real as they get. I don’t have any funny stories about trips and falls or heels breaking. Nothing like that has ever happened to me. Honestly the only time I have felt embarrassed at a pageant was when I invited most of my friends and family to my final competition and I didn’t make it into semi finals. I hadn’t thought to invite them to prelims, the day before which would have allowed them to see me compete in evening gown and swimsuit.
I invited everyone to the final pageant, and after semi finalists are called, non-finalists aren’t really on stage much after that. It was a bit embarrassing because I had hoped to make it into the Top 15. However, if I have learned anything from pageantry, it is that you must develop a tough skin because you can’t win everything. That tough skin has really helped me. You learn so much about yourself through rejection, and it really does make you stronger.
I have to have lip gloss for fresh, glossy lips at all times, and I also need my phone so that I can text and tweet updates to my friends and family!
I am currently a sophomore at Columbia College Chicago majoring in Broadcast Journalism with a Minor in Fashion Business.
National American Miss Illinois Junior Teen 2007
Miss T.E.E.N Illinois 2011
Big Star, Little Star Foundation is a foundation that I created geared towards educating young girls on the importance of self- confidence and helping them become stronger women.
Kids Fight Cancer
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Yes! Her headshot reminds me of Vanessa Williams circa the Miss America era.