Real Moments: Keeping It Real at … the Beauty Pageant?

When you think about your biggest role model for keeping it real, do you think … beauty pageant contestant?

Me neither. Words like “made up” and “dolled up” come to mind sooner than “authentic” and “genuine.”

Either my stereotypes are way off or times are a-changin’.

If the 2015 Miss America Pageant held this past September is any indication, gone are the platforms of old—and we’re not talking shoes. Many Miss America contestants addressed issues that affected them personally for their public service platforms. And they got much more specific than world peace.

Instead of spray-tanning their lives to appear unblemished, three contestants in particular took very raw and personal tragedies, such as a father’s suicide, a sister’s slaying, and a brother’s substance abuse and subsequent suicide, as catalysts for the issues they would address if they won.

On a more humorous note, supermodel and business mogul Kathy Ireland ditched her polished persona by taking the stage to burp on command. Yes, you read correctly: burp. As a judge, Kathy had been asked to reveal three interesting facts about herself, one of which is that she can burp the ABC’s. Pageant host and comedian Dena Blizzard later asked her to prove it.

Don’t believe me? Watch it here. Kathy’s initial reaction to the dare is priceless … and very real. And Dena’s response to Kathy’s bravery says it all: “You just made supermodels cool. I love you.”

Tragedy or comedy, getting real moves people.

Real Moments: Three Good Reasons to Let Them See You Sweat

Business people want speakers to motivate their staff with pep talks on innovation, creativity, and change. Thought leader Brené Brown upends that approach by making a case for being—gasp—vulnerable.

Brene’s years of study show vulnerability (the “V” word, which I wrote about on is the key to making progress in our business and personal lives.

Today’s Real Moment features Brene’s 24-minute TED lecture in which she acknowledges that it goes against modern society’s grain to show anyone weakness, ignorance or doubt. (If you don’t have 24 minutes, watch the first 2:30.) Then she asserts that admitting we’re not perfect, we don’t have all the answers, and we can’t do it ourselves are the very things that allow space for something new to be born.  And she channels Teddy Roosevelt whose “Man in the Arena” speech underscores that you can’t wait till you’re bulletproof before you step into the fray.

When you have those real moments—those “this is who I am and how it is” moments—you’re actually becoming more trustworthy. In the parlance of the trust equation, being vulnerable is a trust trifecta: you’re simultaneously improving your scores on credibility, intimacy, and self-orientation.

So there you have it: three good reasons to let them see you sweat.