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Thursday, October 8, 2020

10 Pageant Lessons from the President/VP Debates

In one debate, you could barely hear a solid point of view without interruption. In another, you heard a lot of "dodging the question". Regardless of your political views, there are many lessons that contestants can take away from the recent Presidential and Vice-President are our TOP 10:

  1. Avoiding the question is obvious and it is rude to the person asking the question (and to those hearing it). Answer the question to the best of your ability and tie it to something relevant that you can talk about. Do not be random. Do not go rogue and say whatever you want. Stick to what was asked. 
  2. Do not jump to answer the question right away. Rushing may cause you to fluster, use filler words, and sometimes even forget your words or train of thought. Take a moment, breathe, then respond.
  3. You are allowed to use your face, hands,  vocal expression, and body language. Do not sit or stand frozen. Oh and your "listening face" counts too - what does your face look like while a question is being asked OR while someone is speaking. Record yourself doing an interview and watch your listening face - it tells more than you think!
  4. Use facts, data, and history. Have facts about your platform? Important details about your state? Use the information so you sound informed, educated, and have support for your statements and claims. Be sure to research your facts BEFORE the interview to ensure that they are indeed correct. Do not just make things up. Someone on the panel may be an expert in this topic and may call you out on it. 
  5. Use your opening and closing statements wisely. For example, if your pageant allows for a closing statement, you could use it to convince the judges or the audience of why you are the best choice.
  6. PREPARE. If you do not know what you are talking about, it will be obvious. Do not be afraid to ask for clarifications, when necessary. 
  7. Respect the time limit. If a judge has to shut you down (ask you stop talking) several times after the time limit expires, not only are you being rude, but you can also kiss the crown goodbye. 
  8. Know why you are qualified and do not be afraid to talk about it. You should know your resume top to bottom, left to right, inside and out. When asked a question, you should be able to quickly recall items from your resume and insert them into your answer to demonstrate that you are experienced, qualified, and capable of handling the job. Doing so is not bragging, but instead, demonstrating that you are qualified for the job.
  9. Decorum counts. Do not insult another person. Hold your tongue. If you cannot think of something good to say about someone, something, an organization, etc, do not say anything at all. Instead, keep the interview positive and upbeat, always. Negativity has a nasty taste and trust that it will stay with a judge forever. 
  10. They are watching your family too (i.e. the media watched who hugged whom, whom was wearing a mask or not, etc). The people who come with you to the pageant are a reflection of you. Everyone should dress AND act the part. For example, your guests should not be walking around the hotel with you in rollers, booty shorts, and their favorite gorilla tee shirt. Look the part! Also, disrespect, from anyone, will not be tolerated. This includes rude behavior to the pageant staff. Remind your family: they do not just crown the girl, they also crown the family.
These are just a few, of the many, lessons that we can take away from the recent debates. Keep an eye on the upcoming debates and see what you can notice - send us a message about what you noticed in the next one!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

WIN the Virtual Pageant!

Many pageants are now turning to virtual events to find their winners, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So how can you stand out in a virtual pageant or competition? Here are 5 quick tips to help you WIN:

1. Plan and create the winning atmosphere.
This is your time to SHINE! Nothing should prevent you from giving your flawless performance, just as if you were on stage. Create the atmosphere for a winning by preparing ahead of time. For example, have a water bottle, kleenex, cough drop, chapstick, powder, paper, and pen nearby. You never know what you will need. Do not forget a copy of your pageant paperwork too!

Visualize being on-stage. The lights are on you. ALL eyes are on YOU - literally. Give your winning performance by preparing your winning atmosphere.

2. Plan your non-digital background. 
When you are at the pageant, there will (hopefully) be some sort of non-distracting background to help you stand out. Create the same environment by planning a solid, distraction-free background to compete against.

Never forget: Sometimes tech will fail us. A virtual, live competition would be one of the worst times to have your tech fail and have everyone see your toilet! Plan ahead: should you iron and hang a white sheet to cover your messy closet? Is there somewhere you could do your walks that is big enough without needing much adjusting? Could your interview be in a private, quiet space...perhaps with a locked door? Plan ahead to prevent visual mishaps - nothing behind or around you should be distracting to the judges. (I'm the first one to spot something shiny and get distracted!)

3. Amp up the energy!
Don't be afraid to turn up the 5 to 10 notches. Normally, your energy is being shown across a stage and into a ballroom with focused viewers. When your event goes virtual, eyes can be all over your room! And people get distracted, let's be honest. Draw them in with your must be conveyed across the screen and into the judges' hearts - you can't really make direct eye contact, so share your enthusiasm like crazy! Truly happy smiles, bright eyes, and excellent posture will serve you well on camera.

4. Practice on video.
Record your walks from your computer/device. Go back and watch it. Did you walk out of the camera area? Did your smile fall when you got to a specific area? Could your posture be improved anywhere? Record yourself then "play judge". Assess yourself honestly and see where you could improve. Do this weeks in advance AND multiple times to ensure that you have your routines solid for each phase of competition.

This will also help you figure out camera placement. Ideally, for an interview, place the camera at eye level. Whether you are standing or sitting, you do not want to appear as if you are looking down on the judges. You may also need to scoot your camera back when you start doing your stage walks/presentation because you will want to show your entire body, head to toe, at every stop on the stage.

5. Expect the unexpected.
Turn off your cell phone. Have a backup light(s) ready to go. Try to create a wired internet connection to create a solid line. Have a backup microphone and camera prepared. Test your sound and lighting ahead of time. Make sure your computer is well-charged AND plugged in. These are just a few ideas!

If something does happen, like the cat jumps in, a sibling starts screaming, etc: do NOT get flustered. Breathe. Smile...laugh if its your natural human reaction. Do not get angry on camera; always present your best self. The judges understand that everyone is at home (they likely are too) and that things happen. Make the best of it and let your most positive light consistently show through.

Best wishes as you prepare to go virtual! I'm happy to help with all of your pageant preparations - just email me: <3

Thursday, May 24, 2018

4 MAJOR Interview Mistakes to Avoid

Here are four common interview mistakes that keep you from winning the crown! Take a peek at these points below then COMMENT below - what do you think? Would you add anything to this list?

1. Seeing the crown as the "fix".
There's nothing wrong with you now. There's nothing wrong with you volunteering as "you" vs. "Miss State". To say that you will do something "if this happens..." or "as soon as..." is not the way to think. Believing that everything will align and be perfect once you win is not realistic. Sure, you may get more attention in a room with a crown on your head, but a crown does not define you or make you worthy. Start acting like that titleholder now...stop thinking the crown will solve everything and get out their and make an impact as YOU first. The crown should compliment you, not make you.

2. Only thinking about yourself. 
Yes, you will gain attention and resources from winning the pageant...but what will the pageant gain from choosing you? So many contestants focus on how winning the pageant will help them, but few consider how they can help the pageant. Remember, you are interviewing for a job. The judges are choosing you to represent the pageant for a one-year term in this job position. What do YOU bring to the table? How will YOU benefit the organization? Stop thinking about "the pageant will help me do this and that" and instead, think about recruitment of contestants, attracting sponsors, building a social and traditional media presence, etc.

3. Negative talk.
Saying something is "obvious" or "like I just said" is rude. Making the judge feel like they missed something is rude. OR even worse...some contestants say "that's a great question"...were the other questions not great? Were they not up to your level? How about "this may sound silly" or "this may sound cliche"? Stop putting negative talk into your interview! Focus on being the positive person that they want to hire for the year. Also, please refrain from speaking negatively about other pageant systems. All you are doing is drawing attention to your negative mindset. 

4. Forgetting to think about the next step.
What is next for your platform? How will it grow? How will you take it from local to a state or national level? Where will you get the funds? How will you gain publicity? Etc etc. Some contestants focus on the here and now TOO much. Instead, give some thought! This also goes for "problems". If you are saying something is a problem, assume they are also asking you what the solution might be. For example, "Given the gun violence that is plaguing our nation, do you feel safe in school?" To just say yes or no is juvenile and boring. Instead, complete the thought with automatically telling the judge WHY you feel this way. Bonus points if you can continue the statement and make suggestions for how schools can increase safety...and yes, you want those bonus points. Stop being small minded and think about the next step...without being told to do so. 

If you are ready to improve your interview, download our FREE "5 Ways to Improve Your Interview" workbook here:

Thursday, March 1, 2018

If You Didn't Win This Year, Would You Come Back Next Year?

Has a judged ever asked you: "if you didn't win this year, would you come back next year?"

If so, you probably automatically thought: "Um, why not just crown me this year so we don't have to find out?" But hopefully you didn't say that! Lol!

Here are something to consider if a judge has asked you this...they may want to know about your:

  • Work ethic
  • Attitude
  • Long term goals
  • Short term goals
Work ethic: are you the type of person who gives up when knocked down? Or do you get back up when you fall down and come back even stronger?

Attitude: Are you the type of person who is a sore loser? Or would you revise your strategy/prep and come back to win it next time?

Long Term Goals: Do you have other goals for yourself next year? Is competing just a one-time thing for you? Where do you see yourself next year?

Short Term Goals: Why now? Why you? Why must you win this year? What makes you the best candidate for the title right now?

POSSIBLE ways to tackle this question:
  • Most definitely! I have loved my experience with this program thus far and I would have the year to work on becoming an even stronger me...
  • Yes, I believe in working hard and setting goals...and I don't give up easily! But I also feel very confident that I am very qualified to win this year because...
  • Yes, but I ready to represent this amazing program, its values, and its mission as a titleholder. I'm also eager to continue empowering young women, as the state titleholder...

So before you get frustrated with your judge, take a moment to think about WHY they are really asking the question (ANY question). They could be digging a little deeper to see what you're really about ;)


Thursday, February 1, 2018

How to Handle When You Don't Win

Let's be real: sometimes you compete in a pageant and do not win. But "rejection" is something you will handle often in life and things like pageants, sports, and competition prepare you to handle such difficult situations.

Instead of storming off after a non-win, causing a scene, or having family members trash the pageant online or elsewhere, here's a few suggestions on how to handle life when you don't win:

1. Acknowledge your emotions
You are upset. I know. I've been there myself. Allow yourself some time to be upset and then allow yourself to regroup. Do not do anything you may end up regretting like going on Facebook Live or making an Instagram/Snapchat story about it.

Convince yourself that it was no big deal and remind yourself that the world is still turning. You have to keep moving forward or you will be left behind.

2. Be nice to yourself
Don't run off saying that you are horrible OR you are not the right size for this pageant OR you are not pretty enough. Do NOT say those things to yourself. Do not hurt yourself; be nice to yourself.

Instead, make a list of things that make you great/awesome/cool. Make a list of things you are thankful for. Go out and do some fun stuff with your family. Be nice to yourself by taking care of yourself. Do not mentally or physically harm yourself - you deserve better than that.

3. Do not let the crown define you
Yes, it would have been awesome if you won. Yes, it would have been a super cool year. But, do not allow the lose to define you, make you feel a certain way, or make you feel like you are not amazing without the crown on your head.

Remember that whatever you said you wanted to do WITH the crown is still possible. For example, you can still volunteer, you can still meet with government officials about things that are important to you, and you can still be a role model to others.

The crown does not define you, your opportunities, or your future. You define those things.

4. Seek feedback
Always. Always seek feedback. Your director/pageant may have a formal process for this (like National American Miss automatically sends scores and comments, but some pageants require that you call them to request the information).

Sometimes the feedback can provide you valuable insight into what the judges saw that you may not have realized. For example, maybe they thought you spoke too quickly in interview or walked too slow on stage. Seek the feedback and use it to help you prepare for your next event.

Make sure you are polite and positive when seeking feedback. Do not be demanding, rude, or offensive in any way. Be professional - do not burn your bridges.

Note: some pageants do not provide feedback. In this case, take your pageant dvd to a REAL pageant coach and get some feedback. Do not rely on family or friends for feedback, as they might be biased towards you OR may not be professional pageant people.

5. Be sure to remain positive (and express this need to your family/friends too)
Too often, I see non-winning contestants and their families storm out of the theatre/ballroom and cause a scene. Yelling, screaming, NOT do this.

Be a professional. Yes, you may be upset, but the world goes on. There is always next time (or another pageant).

Handle yourself like the "professional" you told the judges you are. Collect your belongings, take a few photos to remember/note the learning experience, go home, and relax. Breathe. Learn.

Think about what could have been done differently, make some goals to focus on, see your coach, and try again.

Things happen - we get knocked down. But dust yourself off, don't get offended, just try again.

REMEMBER: not winning is okay! You will survive and you can always try another pageant or try again. Use each competition as a learning experience - next time you may be more confident, stand taller, or even be able to handle those interview questions with greater ease. Use every competition to grow and build yourself because hey, isn't that what pageantry is about anyway?

Flip the Script: - use a coach/professional to figure out where/what you can improve and start working on it so you can be your personal best in your next adventure. Also, think about making a list of what you gained from competing in the first place - maybe you didn't win the crown, but you may have walked away with greater confidence, experience interviewing, stronger public speaking skills and more! Sometimes focusing on what you did walk away with can be more empowering that walking away with the crown! Remember: it is NOT 'sometimes you win and sometimes you lose' --- instead think of it this way: 'sometimes you win and sometimes you learn'!


Monday, January 1, 2018

5 Keys to Last Minute Interview Prep

Some of us do not prepare adequately for a pageant interview. Some of us decide to 'get in the zone' when we arrive at the pageant. While this TERRIFIES me, here are a few things you can do if you ever catch yourself needing some last minute interview prep:

1. Create a wining look: nothing revealing, great quality of fabric, good color, hair combed and sprayed away from your face, makeup on point (depending on your age division)

2. Know the general details about your pageant: the full name, the director, the motto/slogan/values etc

3. Know the general details about yourself/have your main messages ready: you should walk into interview knowing what you would like the judges to know about you. If you want them to know you are an honor roll student, for example, but never mention it, how will you be able to sell yourself to the judges? Don't just go in for a question and answer section, go in with a purpose.

4. Review your resume: know what your highlights (strengths/weaknesses/talents/abilities/experiences) are, know your achievements, understand your goals etc

5. Settle yourself: breathe, drink a bit of water (not too much to make you run to the bathroom during the interview), and review why you want this job/to win prior to walking in the interview room

While I never condone rushed practicing, it happens. Stuff happens. But before you walk into the pageant interview room, if you focus on what the judges must know about you and are confident in what you are saying, you will be much better off than the girl who has not prepared at all.

Friday, December 1, 2017

What is a pageant non-compete clause?

A non-compete clause in the pageant world means that you agree to NOT compete elsewhere (in another pageant) until your year as the titleholder is complete.

Many pageants previously had strict non-compete clauses at the state level, but now, many have waived those at the state level and only keep them at the national level.

These clauses are meant to help the pageant. More specifically, if you have agreed to represent a particular pageant for one year, that means that you should be dedicated to doing appearances for them, marketing them on social media, attending events with government officials and people of importance etc...solely for the one pageant. The clause is meant to help girls not have to represent multiple programs/values/crowns/sashes at one time.

Some get grumpy about non-compete clauses because it prevents them from competing for one year. The way I see it: if you so badly wanted the "job" of being the titleholder, you should want to hold that job for the year and only that job. If not, don't compete there.

Worth noting is that some pageants still have these clauses at the state level, but they can be waived with permission of the director. Always inquire about a pageant's competition clause BEFORE agreeing to compete.


  • Ask before competing
  • Read everything you sign
  • Be very clear on the expectations and responsibilities of being a titleholder