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Monday, June 9, 2014

Lessons Learned From Watching Miss USA 2014

Disclaimer: The comments below are not meant to offend anyone or "to start a fire", but instead, the comments below are things that I noticed that I thought my reader base could honestly learn from.

1. Smile and look like you want to be there.
If I have said this once, I have said it a million times: smile and look like you want to be there! So many other girls wanted to be in your shoes. So many girls wanted to rock that stage and have the opportunity that you have in front of you. There is no reason to ‘half smile’ on stage or look like you could care less. Bring your personality and bring your fun attitude, otherwise…it is going to be a long ride home, without that crown.

2. Appreciate the show.
You never know how long your pageant will run. Many directors estimate a time the show will end, but things happen and you need to be prepared. I say this because you never know when you will be on camera - I rather you be that girl clapping along to the performer on stage after 3 hours on stage than the girl caught cleaning her teeth with her tongue because she didn’t expect to be ‘watched’ or ‘featured’.

3. Wearing white does not guarantee a win.
Ok, those who wore white looked good. I get it. But at the end of the day, we don’t ALL look great in white. You need to wear what you look best in and you need to rock that color and cut, whatever they may be. You need to rock that color and cut like it was made for you and you just melted into it, not like your director forced you to wear it. Own it or don’t wear it!

4. Healthy comes in all shapes and sizes.
More than ever this year, we watched amazing women of all shapes and sizes command that stage. However, there was still a common factor = FITNESS. What is FIT for one person may be different for another. What is HEALTHY for one may be different for another. Let me speak some truth though, you cannot go up there looking like you have never seen a gym. Aim for muscle tone and aim for healthy. You must be your PERSONAL best.

Please also note: if you are not bringing your own swimsuit to compete in (i.e. the pageant has a sponsor and you choose the swimsuit when you get there), your body MUST be prepared to fit whatever cut is thrown at you. You must be your personal best upon pageant arrival day and do small workouts in your room to maintain it.

5. Practice your routine.
For heavens sake, hair in your gloss? If you practiced that turn with that hair style and practiced it ‘full out’, that would not have happened. Dress rehearsals are your best friend. Make sure you practice every swing, flick, twist, and step before making it to that pageant then work it. Do NOT change your routine once you see someone else’s - what you practiced for 16 weeks will always look better than what you practiced for 16 hours.

6. Speak with purpose.
Practice your interview skills, yes, but also practice speaking ‘off the cuff’. When we speak, we tend to use filler words where we need to fill and when we are nervous, we will ‘fill’ even more. Practice speaking off the cuff and INCLUDE specific information and relate it back to you. No one else can have the specifics you have so why not say it? You can feature yourself in the best light by speaking honestly and telling the judges more about yourself! And really, no one knows YOU better than YOU, so why not speak on the one fabulous subject YOU know best?

7. Put your arms down! 
Seriously, your arms should never be the main attraction - you should be. Your garment should be. Again, YOU should be! When walking on stage, put your arms down. And YES, keep them down - do NOT touch your dress, pick it up, etc. You should have got it altered to practically dance in it, so be prepared! Put those arms down and let yourself be the main attraction - arms are for poses, not for walking - when was the last time you saw someone holding their arms up and holding a dress at a major fashion show for a major designer? Never. And for heavens sake, hold the smallest part of your waist - like where your last rib is - and NO lower and NO higher. Highlight the smallest part of your body, not your waist, not your thigh etc. Holding too low will kill your posture and too high makes you look stiff.

8. Focus.
If someone is asking you a question, FOCUS and answer the real question at hand. Your answer should not just be a repetition of the question - you MUST answer it. Honestly, breathe as you hear the question and breathe right after - let your brain absorb the question for a second, get your thoughts together, and then speak. And yes, you should always have a wrap up to your question and the wrap is NOT "so...yeah". Also, if the Top 5/15/20 etc is being called, look focused! Never be caught off guard if the camera swings to show you. Focus!

Look Like a Titleholder Without Breaking the Bank

Ladies, we need to dress for the job we want, not the job we have. This means that you need to look like the state or national titleholder at events, rehearsals, etc when at a pageant. Start dressing the part and acting like the professional titleholder you will be!

Here are 6 tips to looking like a titleholder without breaking the bank:

1. Invest in a classic wardrobe that you can get a lot of wear out of.
You do not have to spend a million dollars to look like a million dollars. Invest in a great blazer or great dress and wear it to different events. Who cares if you wore it before? At least you look amazing in it.

2. Tailor everything!
Find a good seamstress or tailor and fix that hem in your favorite pants or gown. Make it look like the clothes were created just for you! When things fit better, you feel better, and you will wear them more.

3. Accessories can make or break you.
If you think you have too many accessories on, you do. Ease up on the accessories and do one key statement necklace or earrings. You do not need to overdo it because you are the main attraction, not that 10 inch necklace taking over your body. Go for a simple set of post earrings if you can and let your outfit do the talking. If you must include a necklace OR bracelet, choose wisely and let it compliment you, not be the main attraction.

Money saving tip: But don't forget that you can repeat your simple accessories - choose classic pieces that will go with many outfits vs. one outfit. Those rhinestone post earrings or faux-pearl posts will go a long way!

4. Wear heels.
They even make 'little girl heels' so there really is no excuse for flats in the interview room. Have you ever seen your national titleholder interviewing or representing her title in flats? Probably not. It is an image thing...and a posture thing! Be age appropriate though - little girls should be in no more than 2" heels and junior teens and up can get away with 3"- 4" heels. Oh, and when in question, always choose a round toe over a pointy toe.

Money saving tip: go neutral with your heels and classic. You don't need a different shoe for every outfit you have. Pageant "rules" dictate that a simple pair of round toe + closed toe taupe heels goes with pretty much everything. You can always have a simple pair of black round toe + closed toe heels too. That's it, two pairs...this is will save you from packing an entire suitcase just for shoes too!

IF you really hate heels for during the day at the pageant, go for power flats. Nothing boring. You are making a statement from head to toe!

5. Get enough sleep!
This one sounds funny, but you will save money on energy drinks, eye de-puff creams etc by getting enough sleep. I know that I myself do not need a boat load of sleep, but I know I look better when I am well-rested. Plus, enough sleep helps you get ready to tackle the day - you have a different energy when well-rested and who wouldn't want to look energized and charismatic while around the competition!?

6. Be aware of your style choices.
Just like a brand of coffee has become a style statement, so can your personal style. Make sure your style AND the style of those surrounding you during pageant weekend is consistent with the image you want to portray to the judges. There is no reason that people in your party/entourage should be in their PJs, have rollers in their hair, etc at an event/outside of their hotel room because YOU would never look this way. Your personal style is who you are - be consistent with the image you are portraying so there is no question about who they are crowning.

BONUS TIPS (added 1.21.16):

  • Do not forget about facebook resale groups! You can sometimes find great deals in these groups! 
  • If the price is too good to be true, it is probably not an authentic dress. AVOID such sites. Even if you are trying to save money, find another seller - the poor stitching will not be worth it!