Blake Shelton’s Secret Past Includes Taking Part in Embarrassing Pageants

Blake Shelton is one of the most famous country artists of today. He rose to fame in the early 2000s with hit songs like “Austin” and “The Baby.” Since then, he has toured all over the world and won countless awards for his work.

Shelton’s successful career is well-known to many fans, but not a lot of people are aware of what his childhood was like. In fact, Shelton’s past actually includes something rather surprising: beauty pageants.

Read on below to learn how Shelton ended up becoming involved in pageants and how he felt about the experience growing up.

Blake Shelton grew up in a small town in Oklahoma

Blake Shelton attends NBC's "The Voice" Season 14 premiere.
Blake Shelton | Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images for NBC

Shelton was born on June 18, 1976, in Ada, Oklahoma. His parents are Dorothy, a beauty salon owner, and Richard Shelton, a car salesman.

Although his parents were not involved in the entertainment industry, Shelton had a love for music at a young age. He learned how to play the guitar when he was 12 years old. By the time Shelton was a teenager, he was already writing his own songs.

Blake Shelton’s mom used to enter him into pageants

Shelton’s mom, Dorothy, often supported his music ambitions growing up. When Shelton was in elementary school, his mom entered him into child pageants in order for him to show off his performing skills during the talent portion.

Since there were no pageants for boys, Shelton had to compete with the girls. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Shelton joked that he only did pageants to “pick up chicks,” but he eventually admitted that he definitely did do everything that the girls had to do.

“In order for me to sing in the pageant, like my mom wanted me to, I had to do the evening wear and all that crap,” Shelton said.

Blake Shelton said that the experience almost made him give up singing

While some children really enjoy being in pageants, Shelton was not one of them.

On an episode of Live With Kelly and Ryan, Shelton revealed that he “hated” the experience, and it nearly made him change his mind about music.

“I hated it so much, that I almost didn’t want to like, be a singer anymore,” Shelton shared. “I was like, ‘Mom I changed my mind, I don’t like singing. I don’t want to do this.'”

A part of Shelton’s negative experience also came from how his peers treated him. Shelton recalled that things were not always pleasant in school because of the pageants.

“It’s embarrassing,” Shelton said. “You get beat up when you go to school. ‘Man, you were in a pageant? Ha ha!’ And I would hit him, and then I would get beat up.”

When asked about how the other kids knew about his pageant competitions, Shelton shared: “There’s only, like, five kids in my school. We all knew what each other did.”

Blake Shelton’s performing career picked up after high school

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While beauty pageants did not turn Shelton into a star, he continued to practice and play music growing up.

After graduating from high school in the mid-1990s, Shelton moved to Nashville with the hopes of working in country music. He worked odd jobs and networked with various people for a few years before eventually landing a record contract with Giant Records in 2001.

That same year, Shelton released his first single, “Austin,” which went straight to number one and was certified platinum. The song also stayed at the top spot for five weeks.

Over the next couple of decades, Shelton would continue to sell countless records and produce numerous number one hits.

Today, he is a judge on the popular TV show The Voice and is mentoring the next generation of artists. Clearly, it is a good thing Shelton did not let his pageant experience make him give up his dream of becoming a singer.