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That Time I Was a Pageant Queen

How a former Miss Georgia is changing the way we think about beauty competitions

Paulette Schier entered her first pageant at age 12 on a whim. She had no idea that the Miss Congeniality title in the Miss Freshman pageant would be the catalyst for life-changing experiences. She didn't know the shy tomboy growing up in the Atlanta suburbs would compete in the iconic Miss USA pageant. The girl who had a hard time making friends learned that people liked her, that she had talent and poise, and that she could compete with (and beat) some of the most talented young women in the country. 

The misconception about pageant winners is that they are superficial and only focused on external measures of beauty. Schier strongly disagrees.

"People don't realize that pageants are actually all about giving back," Schier told Roswell City Lifestyle. "It's not just about beauty. Pageants force you to ask yourself how you can use your position for good. The majority of girls in pageants are all about helping their community, giving back, sharing an experience and making friends. And," she added, "these girls are really smart too."

Pageants can also be a fantastic stepping stone to many other opportunities. After winning Miss Teen All-American Georgia and the national pageant, Miss Teen All-American, Schier received a full college scholarship, which she eschewed to spend a year working as a model throughout Europe, having experiences she never could have imagined.

In 1994, Schier competed in the Miss Georgia USA pageant and she won! She went on to compete in the Miss USA pageant in 1995. "As Miss Georgia, I was asked to travel to places around the world to promote the 1996 Atlanta Olympics," Schier recalls. "We even went to Switzerland. We stayed in castles and were wined and dined. It was fabulous!" Pageants created some of the most memorable and meaningful times in her life.

Schier received a lot from competing in pageants, but she has given back too. Along with running her real estate company, Paulette Schier Properties, she works with the Salvation Army and volunteers with her church and Sunshine Kids, a non-profit dedicated to helping families dealing with pediatric cancer. She has continued the community-minded work she learned as a pageant queen all those years ago. "My mother was a big proponent of community service. She taught us that there are always people who don't have it as good as you and you have a responsibility to give back." 

Paulette Schier has advice for young women of today who have both the advantages and disadvantages of living in a technologically-advanced, social media-crazy world.

"Be you. Be authentic. Be true to yourself and be the person you were created to be. I want young people to stand for something. Whatever you are passionate about or empowered by...stand for it. Life can be hard, but it is what you make of it." Schier added, "It's not about your obstacles, but how you overcome them."

Paulette Schier is now a licensed realtor working with broker Berkshire Hathaway. She loves helping clients find their dream house, especially first-time home buyers. Learn more about Paulette Schier at, or come to Live After Five in downtown Roswell on the third Thursday of the month and stop by her booth alongside Roswell City Lifestyle on Canton Road to say hello!