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Monday, September 16, 2013

Lessons learned from the Miss America pageant

I hope everyone had the chance to tune into the Miss America pageant on Sunday, Sept 15th 2013. What an amazing group of young women! I think I heard Chris say something like - this started with 13,000 contestants around the

Having been a contestant in the local and state Miss America levels of competition, I am well aware of what these young women went through to prepare for their state pageants...and even the national pageant. Here's just a few lessons I wanted to remind you of after watching this evening:

1. No matter what happens, you keep going.

Miss Florida fell and injured her leg in her preliminary competition rehearsal. She was rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed with having torn her ACL - according to my brother, this took some major football player out for a whole season. She came back that night, re-choreographed in her head, and won the preliminary talent award for her evening. She also went on to compete in the entire finale and place in the top five at the national pageant. Yes, no matter what happens, if you truly want it, you keep going. No excuses.

2. Regardless of what people say, yes, you can be the first.  

Nina won this pageant as the first South Asian American female in its 93-year history to win it. She was also one of two this year to do a bollywood dance on that stage to a traditional Indian song, in traditional Hindi (she did not change to an English track), and won. Regardless of what people tell you, sometimes you can indeed be the first. Yes, she excelled in other phases of competition too, so there is plenty of prep involved, but if you want something, work for it and do it.

3. Fitness matters.

Many of these girls were crowned within weeks of the national pageant. Fitness will matter tremendously at state pageants! Do not be fooled. And think about how much they talked about weight in the "Pageant Confidential" special prior to the show and addressed Miss America 2013 (Mallory) specifically. This is a job where you are a role model...and where you are on the road 30/31 days per month, you must take care of yourself.

4. Winning a pageant is no joke, it is a job.

Many of us compete because we want to win. Many compete, win, and waste a year. How many girls
would have loved to have won and had your title? How many wanted to opportunity to travel, meet others, network, promote that system and more? Stop wasting your year as a titleholder and get to work. And if you are not yet a titleholder, be ready to tell those judges what you will spend your year doing. I'm tired of seeing titleholders waste their year as a titleholder and as a 'job-holder'. Be prepared to work if you are crowned - Mallory started a social media revolution in the pageant world as Miss America. She tweeted, snap-chatted, facebooked and more. She was real, she was in touch, and she kept the brand alive and active. What will you do with your new job? In the interview room, what are you saying to convince them to hire YOU?

Just some thoughts to consider...<3

Thursday, September 12, 2013

You go blank...

You walk into the interview room looking and feeling fantastic. You carry yourself through the first few questions with a smile and conviction and then it hear a question and blank.

You know you have heard of the topic before and you know you had an opinion on it. You start to sweat and shake a bit - you know they can see you freaking out and can hear your heart popping from your chest.

You do not have any notes in this interview, so what do you do?

Wait, you do have notes! In your head, silly!

Lesson: if you really want to prepare for interview, do not be lazy and just run questions in the shower or in the mirror. Take the time to write some notes and review them...often.

Example: watch the news for a few minutes and jot down all of the important topics you think would be interview question worthy. Switch the news off then jot down your opinions on each topic - how does something make you feel? What is important about this issue? What is your position on this issue? Is there another side to the argument, even if you do not agree with it? etc

Once you have these basic notes, come back in a day or so and review them. Have your thoughts or opinions changed? Have you learned more about this topic since you first heard of it? How can you expand your thoughts on this subject matter? Jot those down and revise/update when necessary.

After a week or so of really giving these topics thought, move to another section in your notebook and note the topic and two or three major bullet points for each topic/question. Review this section weekly until your interview (revising and updating opinions if needed). Come pageant weekend, do not leave your pageant interview notebook at home while at the pageant - take it with you! Review it before your interview so your thought process and main answers are still fresh in your mind.

Ok, back to the interview room - you heard the question and started to panic. Then...lightbulb moment: you remember you had bullet points on this that you reviewed last night. You take a deep (not widely obvious) breath to settle your nerves then confidently share your bullet points/viewpoints and thought process on the subject matter.

And yes, you nailed it!