Character building

What Michael Caine taught me in Miss Congeniality

By Brittany Hayward

Miss Congeniality is a police comedy with Michael Caine and Sandra Bullock. The focus of the story is shaping police Agent Gracie Hart played by Sandra Bullock, into a pageant lady. Rough around the edges Hart isn’t the ideal woman fit for a beauty pageant. The great thing about this is watching Sandra Bullock work with her beauty coach Michael Caine, on the process of her hair, makeup, eyebrows and the fixing her temper. He even goes as far as improving her demeanour and the way she eats.

Finally, as the movie comes to a close, Agent Hart makes it to the top 2 contestants of the beauty pageant. At the end of the movie see can see the crown in sight!  Michael Caine quotes “Be the crown, see the crown you are the crown.”


Even those of us who don’t express belief about much, still have unconscious belief systems. If you don’t believe in marriage- you are categorized in the single, the cougar, or the common law sector. If you don’t believe in God you get labelled an atheist, or scientist.

Regardless if you feel you don’t have much to believe, you are sending off signals whether you realize it our not. Signals that shape you into to perceived labels.

Essentially your belief system ends up showing up in your actions- how you live your life. If you don’t value cleaning your house, you won’t do it. If you don’t value dancing on Saturday nights, you won’t do it. If you don’t like beer you won’t drink it.  What you believe in, most likely will shape your thoughts and pour out into your actions.

Your belief system will also show up when things get bad. How do you handle a strategy? Some people turn to friends, to family, to church, to eating, to over drinking, to over shopping. Your coping belief system is there when your emotions are tested.

Inside each of us is the option to choose. What we are made up of inside, what we believe about ourselves, about society, about family, relationships, religion, dating, all these things show up consciously or unconsciously.

Every situation in life will either make you bitter or better. It’s your choice how you choose to respond to it. – Rick Warren

Why I use the Miss Congeniality reference is because throughout the entirety of the movie, the main character was changing. Changing into someone perhaps she really didn’t want to be. Her macho belief system was working for her. But she was welcomed into the new world of pageantry and her belief system changed.

Being exposed to new circles and ways of life, even with force, can change your outlook and acceptance of people.

This new world shifted who she became, but who she continued to become. Even after the pageant you see Agent Hart continuing do her makeup and hair as she works at the police force.

That fabulous quote at the very end of the movie by Michael Cain reads:

Yes, yes. You wear the crown, be the crown, you are the crown!

What you put on in life, surround yourself with, “wear” essentially is who you become, and continues to who you are, what people see in you.

 “ … compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. …… And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. “ – Colossians 3:12

Once again, your inside thoughts reflect your outside actions.

If you don’t like your view on something, you don’t like who you’ve become, you’ve got to do something opposite.

He teaches you love by putting you around unlovely people. He teaches you joy in the middle of grief. God teaches you peace in the middle of chaos. – Rick Warren

 I can learn best to obtain peace if I’ve been faced with an unpeaceful situation.

What I’ve learned is, I want to make sure the things I take out of life, is who I want to become. What I receive from the world around me can make me bitter or make me better. I can be hopeful or hopeless. I know that everyday my mind has to be prepared for what the unknown that will come at me. I have to think about what I’m going to “wear” not just materially, but what do I plan on ingesting, and investing in today?

I can filter the events, and circumstances around me by choosing what I believe.

My response, my action to these surroundings will reflect back into the depths/ the core of what I believe.

Jon Foreman asks the question:

Is this the world you want? You’re making it, every day you’re alive.

Whether you think you’re choosing, or not. You’ve chose something. To believe complacency, to become complacent, leads to defining you as complacent.

You start to look like what you believe

What you say is your religion

How you say it’s your religion

Who you love is your religion

How you love is your religion

All your science, your religion

All your hatred, your religion

All your wars are your religion

Every breath is your religion

I don’t lead with these thought to push or provoke a certain way of thinking or push an ideal. I feel a great way to think about who you are and who you are becoming in life is asking yourself what you believe. What you believe is usually based on an experience you’ve had in life, or seen someone else go through- like a broken marriage- which leads to your disbelief in marriage.

Whatever is it. Whatever belief system is broken in you, don’t give up.

There is so much more becoming that we have to look forward to. This isn’t the end. Be open to belief,  don’t let the world shape you by its harshness. Believe anyway. Believe on.

Britt is a twenty-something adventurer, writer, advocate and learner. She roams the world with intention; meeting people and curiously learning along the way. She writes about complacency and finding and pursuing the life you are capable of living at She has a degree in Communications + Visual Arts from University of Windsor plus a Master of Arts in Global Studies from Liberty University in Virginia. She resides in Ontario, Canada.

Instagram: @brithayward