My daughter competed in NAM 2 years in a row. Back in 2013 and 2014 I believe.
The first year she had fun. We did all the extra stuff. Like in other post I will say it was a bit misleading as far as what to be prepared for. Although I bought my daighter some super cute attire it wasnt the "exact" look that I could tell everyone else had.
Let me rephrase that that everyone that clearly had been there plenty of times had. So she enjoyed herself and we came home. Fast forward she wanted to do it again the following year. This time we knew what to expect.
I had professional pics taken. She had the proper suit for the quetioning portion, she had an adorable outfit for modeling, and knocked it all the way out the park in every aspect. Im not a Mom to say oh she did amazing if she didnt. She placed in every single contest.
1st runner up in most photogenic, 4th runner up un modeling, and placed in something else as well but cant remember what it was. Sooo come to the top 20 selection she was picked. That was her goal not to win but to be in the top 20 of course we were super excited and proud of her. She really did an amazing job.
My husband and I were convinced that there was no way she wouldn't be in the top 5 because we watched the evening gown portion, we watched the introductions and she just did so well. Wellllll of course she wasnt in the top 5. She was so happy none the less and so were we. Until I walked backstage to grab her when she was done and noticed every single girl in the top 5 were girls that all knew each other, the parents knew each other and were all friends and chummy chummy with the judges and director.
I asked the director if she qaulified to go to nationals as she was just so proud and excited and she brushed me off as if I wasnt even there. I would say it is about money. Its about cookie cutter girls that fit their "type". I noticed that all the girls that won were the same that won the year before.
And again it felt very clicky almost like high school and it was clear if the parent and child wasnt part of the "inner circle" they weren't going to win. Again this is years later im not one of those parents that if their kids doesnt win goes off in a tangent. The first year we realized we were way off from what they wanted and knew why we did not win. However the second year my daughter did amazing and should have been top 5 if not even the winner.
She was articulate, graceful, friendly, outgoing.....And you know whats sad ? The only girls she talked to were a few girls who you could tell was their first time. Not one of the girls with yearstof experience there were friendly unless again you were in the circle. I think its a scam and my daughter has asked to compete and i said absolutely not.
I dont mind paying thousands of dollars if my child is going to have a fair shot. But ill be damn if im going to go through that again waste tons of money and put my daughter though all of that so they can pick the same cookie cutter girls they always do because they know them and their families.
It's really a shame because my daughter just loved it. But made me feel even worse knowing she was totally jipped out of something that she practiced and worked hard for.