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Friday, January 30, 2015

5 (Not So Typical) Lessons to Becoming a Pageant Pro

It has been a busy few months here in BV-land! I've helped organize a MAO local, watched Miss Universe, and have judged two pageants since our last you can bet that I have a lot to say! So I want to present: 5 (Not So Typical) Lessons to Becoming a Pageant Pro. This post is about you as a pageant 'professional', your behavior, your image, etc.

Let me start right off with the ever-popular disclaimer: I am not attacking anyone specific below and if you think you will be offended, click away. If you think you will learn something (or get a good laugh), read on!

1. Why do people think that 'pageant casual' means 'bare the booty' or 'wear the tightest and shortest thing I can find'?

Seriously? You are interviewing for the job of 'national titleholder' or 'state titleholder' or whatever. Be a role model. Have some respect for your body and the organization. I am by no means a prude, but I seriously do not need to see booty cheeks or wonder if you can breathe in that outfit choice.

Dress for the job you want, ladies! Stay classy and be a role model to the younger ones around you. They do indeed look up to you...and should not be able to look up your skirts or dresses with ease. Keep it classy!

2. Mind your face, language, and manners.

Just because you are in a pageant does NOT mean that people are to BOW DOWN to you during pageant week. Many of the personnel on-site are volunteers or are being paid to be there for a production, not for you to be rude to them or disrespect them.

Contestants/families being rude to sponsors? Excuse me?

Contestants/families being rude to theatre personnel? Come again?

The reality is that not everyone can walk away with the crown come finale, but you need to conduct yourself like the respectable young woman that was crowned. You still have a job to do as a local or state titleholder!

And please note, that although you may not say something nasty, your face and body language can say a thousand words! And just because you have a crown on does NOT mean that you can cut lines or not hold doors open for people...stay classy ladies.

3. Consistency wins!

I cannot preach this enough - you must be consistently strong in ALL phases of competition to win. How can you be consistent on stage so you present the same strong image to the judges? Here's just two ideas:

 - Practice: if you do not practice with your full hair and makeup and walk with your full fierceness in your competition clothing, things will not go as planned. I can pretty much guarantee it - proper preparation prevents poor performance! Make sure that when you are practicing, you do it full out, or who knows - hair will get stuck in your lip gloss during that full turn or you can trip in your turn and fall out. Oh and another thing, if you didn't practice the turn in the months before the pageant, please do not attempt it while at the pageant - you could trip, fall, and die. ;)

 - Figure out your message: what is your consistent message? Are you cool, fresh, independent, and whimsical in interview and then wear a straight, tight, black gown for evening wear? That's not consistent! You have to make sure the judges always recognize you and can identify you will a single, non-confusing message. Make their jobs easy: make them choose you!

4. Grow up and act like a professional.

Taking your qualms to a chat room or chat board is shady, low, and should be beneath you. To attack another contestant or an organization is not professional and personally, proves that you did not win for a reason.

If you have a qualm, question, or issue, be a professional and take it to the person in charge to find a mutually beneficial solution. We pageant people spend so much time talking about bullying and its negative effects on others and then we open the laptop and do the same thing we preach against! Grow up and be a professional.

If you did not win, there was a reason - do not automatically assume conspiracy. Ask for judges comments, review the tapes, etc and figure out how you can improve. Or get a coach or some professional and continue working on yourself - the time you spend on chat boards or gossiping is time that you are losing for personal preparations. Everyone gets angry, but take that anger and frustration and channel it into your preparations instead.

5. One judge does not crown you.

Many pageants include a way to avoid a judge tanking or pushing a specific girl. In the Miss America Organization, for example, auditors will drop the highest and the lowest score in each category. This is to avoid one specific judge purposely trying to make a contestant win or lose.

Let me dig deeper: to attack a judge after the pageant and say that he or she tanked your daughter purposely for whatever reason is technically not possible. The reason there is more than one judge in a pageant is so multiple people can score you...multiple people would have to score you high for you to win and multiple people would have to score you low for you to not win. One judge cannot affect the entire outcome. 

This would be an entirely different post if I talked about what incident inspired me to say this, but you DO NOT approach a judge after a pageant. You act like a professional and ask for comments and scores from the director in a professional manner. And then, you DO NOT take to your facebook and attack a judge - you can ask for clarification on the comments. Judges write comments very quickly to HELP you. They do not have time to write millions of words, but at least they took the time to write a few words of suggestions or comments. This means that they wrote quickly - to take offense to a quick comment (of someone who was trying to be helpful) is silly. If you received NO comments, you would have NO feedback. Be appreciative for heavens sake - if you need clarification, ask politely for it. I do not understand why people think that being behind a computer makes you stronger or more capable. OR why being behind a computer makes it right to bully or insult someone. Grow up and ask for clarification; you cannot judge THEM for something they wrote in 3 seconds with the intent to help you. The judges never want to hurt you! Trust that!

Overall, conduct yourself like a professional. You never know who is networked or connected with whom - you can hurt yourself TREMENDOUSLY with your social media posts, approaching people etc. You never know who knows whom...are you intentionally trying to blacklist yourself? Oy vey.