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Monday, November 17, 2014

Winning Hearts and Minds of the Judges

Communication comes in both words and deeds, and the latter are often the most powerful form. Nothing undermines you more than behavior that is inconsistent with your words.

More specifically, you can capture the hearts and minds of your judges when what you say is consistent with what you are doing. For example, do you often mention how much community service means to you...but cannot give a real story about your most recent community service project or event? Do you say you love animals but have never visited a shelter or clinic? You must be consistent with your words and deeds to win the hearts and minds of the judges and to convince them that you are a real girl who lives with her values in mind.

Consider formatting your paperwork to reflect the things that are most important to you. Then go back and make sure you have at least one story or specific detail/experience you can match up with that thing. If you cannot connect the material on your resume to an actual story or experience, you will seem like you just put it in your paperwork to look good. Don't be the girl who can't explain herself or convince the judges that she was actually there doing something.

If you cannot communicate it quickly and connect it to material in your paperwork, it needs to go. To help you win the hearts and minds of the judges, and ultimately the crown, you must not only KNOW your material, but you must also LIVE your material. Judges do not like 'Hypothetical Hillary'...they want to see 'Active Alice'! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Step Forward and Be Seen!

"I am inviting you to step forward, be seen, and ask yourself, if not me, who? If not now, when?"

Do you know where this quote is from? Emma Watson recently said this at the UN conference for Women. She has been appointed as the Goodwill Ambassador for Women.

Why should you care? Let me break this down.

The United Nations is a meeting place, of sorts, for countries to come together and discuss important issues. Things like war, the world economy, trade, nuclear weapons etc are all discussed here among the nations. One thing discussed, but not really highlighted, is that of Women's Rights. Emma Watson hopes to change know her as "Hermonie" from Harry Potter.

Emma recently a gave speech. In very, very basic terms she says that women should be treated as men are. She is working for gender equality. She's saying that women should be paid the same amount of money as men are for the same jobs. Women should not be limited because they are girls. Women should not be assumed to less because they can give birth. 

Why does this matter to you? Well, if you're a girl competing in a pageant, you will likely be asked about women's rights. Or about 'role models'. Or about 'girls being less than boys', etc etc. You need to know what is going on in the world. But in general, if you are a girl, you should realize that all girls are not treated equally around the world. You may be more qualified than a man at a job, but you will be paid less. You may be the best to lead a team or a country, but you are looked at as less...because you are a girl. You should feel free to be strong and be your best should feel free to be a more complete and true version of yourself. And I cannot turn a blind eye to what she says about her dad and boys being seen as "weak" for showing feelings and emotions...gender equality is the issue at hand here.

And if you're a girl considering pageants and platforms...this is a great example of a platform and a girl having real passion for a cause. I encourage you to watch the video and see Emma's true passion. Look at her speech and notice and her smile, her pace when speaking, her genuine connection to the topic, and how she makes everyone (men and women) connect to what she is saying. She gives statistics and stories...she gives life to this topic and makes everyone listen. She commands the room. Could you do the same about your platform or passion?

I encourage you to view the video and comment below. Do you agree with Emma? How do you feel? Be honest, tell me what you think!

Monday, September 1, 2014

6 Secrets to Preparing in the 'Off Season'

So you're heading back to school and thinking that this means that pageants are officially on hold. You'll be busy with classwork, homework, extracurriculars and more, so your pageant preparations will have to wait until winter break or spring break, right? WRONG!

If you've read my blog before, you know that I firmly believe in constantly preparing for a pageant - there is no down time. While you are "resting" for 25 weeks, your competition is preparing.

Want to know the secrets to preparing in your 'off season'? Read on:

1. Seize all leadership opportunities, no matter how small.
Create a "let me take that on" attitude! Volunteer for that event. Run for student government. Step outside of your box and take every opportunity that comes your way. Your leadership opportunities need not be month long projects, because you have your studies to attend to, of course. But at school and at your extracurriculars you have limitless possibilities and with these, you can thrive in your leadership potential and develop the true persona of a titleholder!

How this will help: A titleholder will be a leader in her community. She will meet with officials, volunteer with various organizations, speak on behalf of groups, and much more. Use your time in school to practice being an excellent leader and role model to others. Develop those public speaking skills, organization skills, people skills and more.

2. Find role models. 
Look for people who have the roles you want and study how they act, communicate, dress, and more. Pick someone at 'the next level' and try to emulate that person, while staying true to your self, of course. I'm not asking you to change who you are, but I am encouraging you to grow and be your personal best. It may also be useful to find some anti-role models - what do you dislike about them? What can you strive NOT to be or NOT to do?

How this will help: by figuring out the qualities you want to emulate and striving to achieve them, you will be able to hold yourself at a higher standard. You will also be able to talk about your best qualities easily in interview and describe the type of titleholder you will be. Use your time in school to build the best YOU possible!

3. Develop your friendship skills.
If you're going to be a titleholder, you have to have people skills! You have to be able to maintain friendships in the face of disagreements, you have to listen to the opinions of others and give yours, and much more. It is your friends that can help you develop integrity, empathy, clear speaking, charisma, strong boundaries, and strong beliefs.

How this will help: Your friends can be your greatest supporters! Maybe they can help you organize that clothing drive you have been dreaming of or that anti-bullying club. And of course, these are fabulous things for your pageant resume...but also for your college resumes, job interviews, and more! Use your time in school to develop the (necessary) people skills and teamwork skills of a true titleholder.

4. Speak up! Ask questions!
If you have a question in class, ask it. If you have to give a presentation, do it. Learn to value yourself and your voice. Refuse to be passive and instead, project confidence.

How this will help: In some cases, your interview judges may push you. Maybe they want to test how much you believe something or if you are being honest. You may need to express yourself in a strong way - practicing this skill in school will get you there! Use your time in school to rehearse projecting confidence in difficult situations!

5. Develop a plan.
In everything you do, make a plan. When you have a big test coming up, plan study times. When you have a big game coming up, plan practice times. When you have that special recital coming up, plan rehearsal times. By planning and organizing your busy schedule, you will be able to balance being a titleholder with great ease.

How this will help: As a titleholder, you will need to balance a busy schedule...especially if you plan to be a good one. Use your time in school to practice the time management skills required to really excel as a titleholder and in your future career, as well!

6. Refuse to be lazy.
Get your act together! It does not matter if you are in a 'little girl pageant' or a 'big girl pageant', fitness is of the utmost importance. As you're reading your textbook, jog on the treadmill. As you're rehearsing your lines for the play, do some bicep curls. Wake up each morning and challenge yourself to ten pushups...then 15 next week...and 20 the following week. Focus on living a healthy lifestyle, from your diet to your exercise. You spend HOURS shopping for that gown, HOURS volunteering and more...but how much do you invest in yourself? Invest in your personal fitness level to demonstrate to the judges how committed you are to being the very best YOU!

How this will help: As a titleholder, you are a role model. You will also be balancing a busy schedule of being a spokesperson for your pageant system, being an excellent student, a fabulous daughter and more. Living a life of fitness will help you approach these activities with great vigor and get the most out of your year - who wants to be sick 4x during their reign because of their weak immune system? Not me! You can also use your 'off season' to avoid 'gym cramming' later...think about swimsuit season OR your pageant swimsuit competition - instead of rushing a fitness plan and spending 7x/week in the gym because your pageant is two months away, you can spend 3x/week in the gym because you used your off season well. Be wise and refuse to be lazy.

Just because you are 'back in school' or in your 'off season' does not mean that your pageant preparation has to end completely. You can still prepare by actively working on the skills needed to win your pageant, be an excellent titleholder, and an even better young woman. <3

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Stepping out of your shell with pageants

Whether you have been in pageants for over a decade, like myself, or are just getting started, pageantry can help you evolve into an entirely different person. A more improved version of yourself, personally. Through competing, judging, and coaching, I have watched countless young women transform from "Wallflowers" to "Social Butterflies"...but it did not happen over night. Their transformation came from a lot of hard work! Here's my 3 step plan to help you step out of your shell and into the (pageant) spotlight:

1. Public Speaking
Nothing can prepare you for that on-stage question or personal introduction like speaking in public. Yes, you should be focused on your judges, but who can completely forget the audience of 200+ that is staring right at them? Think about the interview room too...

Public speaking is a nightmare for many people, but it is an exceptionally important part of being involved in pageants. Should you win, you will be the ambassador for that program all year long. You will be required to do appearances, speak at events, meet people, build partnerships and make connections etc. You will never escape public speaking, so continuously practice doing it - put yourself in public speaking situations as often as possible so you can grow and develop.

  • Run for student government positions
  • Visit a classroom/youth organization and host an activity
  • Meet public officials and chat with them
  • Give speeches (class projects etc)
Make videos and watch them. Many of us have laptops with cameras or cell phones with cameras now. Tape yourself giving your personal introduction or a mini-speech and watch yourself grow over the videos - you can increase your confidence this way (and correct things you don't like too)!

2.  Volunteering
Talk about interview practice...and great interview material! This is where you can learn excellent life + interview skills because of the variety of people you will meeting and engaging with. I remember my first major volunteer job was with the Maryland Science Center. I got to meet people from all around the world, with different clothing preferences, who spoke different languages, who had different customs and more. Won't your judges be varied? Won't they have different backgrounds and understandings? Won't you need to communicate openly and freely with them? And when I worked the guest services desk, I learned how to handle (random, and sometimes weird) questions with ease, poise, and grace. I also learned a lot about my various strengths and weaknesses.

  • Volunteer with a local organization that means something to you (i.e. library for someone with a reading platform)
  • Take notes on everything you did that day and review it often (these skills can be brought up on your resume OR during the interview to sell you as a great candidate)
  • Start your search online at OR visit the websites of your favorite organizations 

3. Expand your horizons
When was the last time you tried something new? Out of the box? For example, a (very petite) BV girl recently tried out for her track team - she didn't even own running shoes - but she made the team! That experience helped her come out of her shell even more; she developed her muscles, yes, but she also learned something new about herself, gained leadership opportunities and skills, and more! Trying new things will challenge you, just like competing will. Trying new things will show you what you are capable of, just like competing will. 

Also, when was the last time you read a book? No, seriously, a book. Reading expands your mind, develops your vocabulary, and allows you to use your imagination and explore parts of yourself you may have never dreamed of exploring. What about an educational book - like Public Speaking for Dummies...? Seriously! What an amazing 100+ pages of tips and ideas! You can try these out! OR if you're more into fiction, pick up a great book and act a scene out in your room (yes, you can lock the door). Challenge yourself to explore those hidden parts of yourself and come out of your shell because after all, you will want to present your most confident and best self at the pageant!

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! 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What to Wear for Pageant Photos

Your pageant headshot is exceptionally important - this is how the judges will recognize you! You must look like your headshot and if there is a program book, there is no excuse for you to not have a headshot in the program book.

Some pageants say that 'school photos are fine' and yes, while that is 'fine', you want to stand out at your pageant. You want to be the clear stand out and your pageant photo can help with that. Here are a few suggestions (we turn to Miss America level headshots as our example):

1.  Fabrics and Necklines
Choose silky fabrics over cotton - you want the images to be fresh, not give a worn look like cotton might.

Also, when selecting attire for different shots, look for different necklines in each shot. Do not shoot 5 shots in a round collar - what if you end up realizing (after the shoot) that you do not look best in a round collar? It is better to be safe than sorry and plan ahead by bringing varied necklines to the shoot.

2. Colors
Solid colors are a best, always. Stay away from patterns, prints, logos, etc that could be distracting in the photo - nothing should take away from you!

Bright colors are better than light colors - they will do more for your complexion and skin tone.

3. Hairstyles
Style your hair based on your image. Consistency wins - you cannot be all glammed up in the photo with an up-do then walk into interview portraying a "little girl" image. Which are you? Decide on your consistent image and you can nail this component of the photo.

4. Body parts
A headshot is just that, a shot of your head. Think of a good headshot as bust and up. Hands underneath the chin, 3/4 of your  body etc change the shot. If you ate doing a headshot, let it be a headshot. If it is a full body shot, let it be a full body shot.

5. Jewelry
Jewelry should compliment you, not be the star of the photo. I highly suggest a good pair of attractive earrings for each outfit. Necklaces can be tricky, but if done right, then can help the photo pop.
Notice the attractive jewelry in Miss Florida's headshot.

6. Background
Plain color backgrounds are standard because you do not want the background to distract from you. Some photographers do their shots outside etc but do not forget that you want the focus to be on you. That tree in the background etc could become the star of your photo...
Do not let other objects be the star of your photo or distract from you!

7. Posing
This not the time for your perfect posture or head position. If your face is straight on to the camera, it will look like you took a mugshot for jail! That's why your school photographers always ask you to 'lower your chin' or 'tilt your head just a bit more' - things look different on camera! Practice your head tilts and different poses before heading into your shoot - and NO, the 'pretty feet' pose is NOT an acceptable pose. Have some fun and loosen up!

Notice the small tilt in Mallory's head

This is from a Red Carpet event! 
Notice how the lack of a head tilt makes this look like Mr. Costner's mugshot!

And PLEASE, make sure that you have ALL of your body parts in your pose! A photographer cannot add an arm etc once the photo is taken...
Notice the missing arm...?

8. Photoshop
You are not a plastic doll. You are a natural, real human being and your photo should reflect that. Do not go bonkers on the photoshopping! Remember, the photo should always look like you on that stage - judges should be able to recognize you instantaneously after looking at your photo. Unless you are in a glitz pageant that calls for such photos, photos should look like you. Minor photoshopping is allowed, but don't overdo it!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How to choose the right competition gown

One of the key components to any pageant is the evening gown/formal wear. If you're competing in a modern day pageant, like NAM/IJM/USA Ambassador/USA/MAO/International/MAC etc, the rules for gowns tend to be about the same:

  • Length: Floor length gowns are best. One or two of the pageants say that you do not necessarily need a 'floor length gown' to win, but when was the last time you saw a cocktail dress win a national pageant? My point exactly. 
    • Rule of thumb: a quarter inch off of the ground is long enough. Seriously, have someone get down on the ground and assess this - can we see your shoes when you walk? If so, the dress is too short.
    • Some pageants do NOT allow trains on gowns. If they do, rule of thumb is 16-22 inches.
      • Preteens and younger should avoid trains at all costs.
        • Notice: the designer does NOT include a train in the younger girl dress design.
  • Age-Appropriateness: did you know that you could be docked points (lose points) if the gown is not age-appropriate? 
    • Pre-teens and younger should have straps - spaghetti or halter are ok (make sure straps are wide enough)
    • Junior teens and older do not necessarily need straps, but they are welcome
    • Preteens and younger should NOT have tight, form-fitting, mermaid/trumpet style gowns
    • Junior teens and older can have form-fitting styles (many junior teens are still in ballgowns, check the trend within your system)
    • Pre-teens and younger should not expose their chest at all (avoid nude illusion as well)
    • Junior teens and older can have more of a sweetheart neckline, exposing a bit of the chest area
    • Nude illusion fabric is an entirely different fabric - this will depend on the pageant system and style of the gown.
  • Color: choose a color that best reflects your personality and overall sense of style. For example, red is much more bold than baby pink. Your gown should reflect who you are, not who you are trying to be. 
  • Glitz/Rhinestones: do not overdo it with the rhinestones/bling. You want to be the main attraction in your gown, not the rhinestones.
  • Jewelry: 
    • Pre-teens and under are most safe with post style earrings (again, check the trend within your system to be sure)
      • Example: 
    • Junior teens and older can wear dangle earrings
      • Example: 

If you are unsure of your gown choice, you should be able to check with your pageant coach. Let me be honest and say that the staff in the bridal stores or pageant stores are not necessarily the best help because they do not know YOU personally - remember, this is your personal presentation in formal wear. The gown should reflect the best you and you should feel that you are at your personal best while in the gown. And, hopefully, your pageant coach has had experience competing in various pageant systems and can help you chose what that system is looking for as well. 

And I am always available to advise you! Send me a text message or an email before you go shopping so I know you are headed out and then send me pics as you try things on. I want to help you make the best choices!

With your success in mind,
Victory and Team BV

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lessons learned from The Oscars!

It has been a few days since The Oscars were televised, but I cannot seem to shake some of things I saw on the show that were clearly 'pageant lessons'! I wanted to share those with you today...these are my TOP FOUR LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE OSCARS:

1. Always say 'thank you' so we know when you are done.
Some people gave great speeches on stage and we were completely mesmerized with them and then they just paused and walked away. This is just like when you are doing your on-stage (speaking) presentations at a pageant - say 'thank you' so the judges know you are done. Otherwise, there is just that awkward moment of ' that it? Ok, yes, I think that's it."

2. Make sure you gowns are the correct length.
For heavens sake, visit a seamstress and make sure your gown is the right length. There is no excuse for having to hold up your gown on stage. In this particular case, maybe her gown was borrowed, but seriously, if you are competing, visit a seamstress and try your dress on (with your heels on) and have it altered. Walk around in it and really test if you could practically float on stage when walking. If not, it needs to be hemmed. Gowns are designed for models that are 5'7" and taller...the gown was not made precisely for you, but you can make it look like it was.

3. Enjoy the show entertainment.
Many pageants provide entertainment of some sort - singers, dancers, etc - even while contestants are on-stage. In some pageants, someone may sing directly to you. I encourage you to not be the girl who ignores the entertainer - enjoy that person! At the Oscars, Jennifer Lawrence (on live television) refused to participate in Pharrell Williams' "Happy" performance, whereas Lupita + Meryl + Amy just jumped up and joined in for the sake of the show. Don't be rude and don't let the performer feel like you don't like them. And yes, the judges are still watching.

4. "No matter where you are from, your dreams are valid".
Yes, Lupita hit the nail on the head with this one. Never forget why you are competing in the pageant - never forget who you are, where you come from, and where you plan to go. It is this authenticity that will take you farther than any crown, sash, and title will. And yes, it helps when the girl crowned is a 'real girl'.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Try a NEW one!

Hi ladies!

You know I am always encouraging you to try new pageants and stay in the loop, so...I highly encourage you to try these "new" programs. I am hoping to send more and more BV girls each year to these! These are excellent, growing programs and I know some of the directors personally...they are committed to putting on fantastic programs!

If you register for any of these, let them know that Victory from Be Victorious Prep sent you!

DISCLAIMER: Please note that I am NOT ranking these pageants by any just pains me when girls stick to the same pageants every year. Few girls expand their reach - if you don't grow, you'll never know what is out there! NOTE that I also make comparisons of the pageants below - I only do this so people who have tried the 'popular systems' can understand what their experience MAY be like. I do not intend to say one system is like or not like another, I just want to be clear on why I like each system and why I feel confident you could do well in this system.

American Nation Pageants
Run by the FIRST NAM National Teen titleholder, Sasha Hills - love her and her family!

Program has been around for ten years plus...there will be a Mid-Atlantic pageant on May 10 in Chantilly, VA. This is a GREAT opportunity to try fitness and on-stage question...Sasha is a media person, so this is a great experience. Program is also held in other states...something to consider!

PURE American Pageants
Run in MD/DE/VA by Stephanie Green and the mom of a current national titleholder. PURE has been around for years, but this is their first pageant in the Mid-Atlantic. Spoke with the state director and she would compare it to NAM in style...Fab up and coming national program. 

Mid-Atlantic pageant will be held Apr 5 & 6 in Ocean City MD.

America's US Miss
Love this national director and love that she is bringing their nationals to Florida/East Coast this year! NAM-like in my opinion, looking for APPOINTED TITLES from our area. Program is growing everyday, titles everywhere really. LOVE!

If you are interested in representing your state at their NATIONALS (July 16-20 in Clearwater FL), they would love to have you! Totally NAM + IJM like, love!

USA National Miss
I'm really pushing this one now...totally in LOVE with this program and BV is sending a group of girls this year with APPOINTED titles. 

Totally NAM + IJM like, love...there is a 40 foot runway involved too! FUN!

DISCLAIMER: Please note that I am NOT ranking these pageants by any just pains me when girls stick to the same pageants every year. Few girls expand their reach - if you don't grow, you'll never know what is out there! NOTE that I also make comparisons of the pageants below - I only do this so people who have tried the 'popular systems' can understand what their experience MAY be like. I do not intend to say one system is like or not like another, I just want to be clear on why I like each system and why I feel confident you could do well in this system.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

How far ahead do I start?

Today I saw a BV girl in the BV studio. I see her roughly 1x each week. We are always preparing, practicing, and developing. If by some chance we are not preparing for a pageant a few weeks away, we are working on personal development, interview development, platform/resume development etc.

During our in-studio session today, she sparked a small conversation about a BV friend, wanting to know how she was doing. I mentioned that she was "not working with me right now because she is waiting for a bigger pageant". To which she quickly replied, "but shouldn't we always prepare?! You can't stop preparing! You have to get experience on stage in the smaller pageants to build and learn for the bigger ones!" To which I replied with a "OMG" and a high five - she had got it. She understood! Talk about an "Aha" moment!

I often get asked, "how far ahead should I start preparing for my pageant?" Well, my honest answer is that "you never stop preparing".

In preparation for your 'next pageant', you should constantly be:

  • Volunteering: this allows you to develop your resume, interpersonal skills, real job skills, communication skills, and more. Also, as you 'age up', you will start developing a platform - something you are passionate about and may have to speak on during interview or at a public appearance. You will not be able to really hone a platform if you do not start discovering what else is out there.
  • Developing or expanding your hobbies: you need things to say in interview. If you do nothing outside of pageants, how can you answer interview questions like:
    • What is your favorite hobby?
    • What do you like to do with friends?
    • What do you do in your free time?
    • What is your favorite activity?
    • What is your favorite sport?
    • What is your special talent?
  • Developing personally/interview skills: Are you making new friends? Are you reading books? Are you aware of current events? Are you speaking up in class? Are you trying new things? Make sure you are constantly improving on who you are so that the BEST YOU shines through in interview. If you cannot hold a conversation with a judge because you "don't read books" or "don't know who the President is"...oh boy. 
  • Staying fit: who wants to buy an entirely new wardrobe 3 weeks before their pageant and drop roughly $1000 (in gas, clothes, tailoring etc) just because they ate poorly since their last pageant etc? Not me, buddy. 
    • Please note that I said "staying fit", not "skinny" or "super thin" etc. What is healthy for one body may not be healthy for another. Make sure you are on an eating plan that is good for you, that you are staying active, and keeping that heart healthy. And let's admit it: pageant weekend (or week) is not easy- you need all the stamina you can get with those late night rehearsals and early morning appearances. Help yourself out and work out at least 30 minutes each day!
      • Working out CAN consist of dance, sports, zumba, etc. Do not limit yourself.
    • Everyone should be working on living a healthy lifestyle, regardless of age. As a titleholder, you are a role model for other young women. Be someone who is healthy, happy to be alive, and eager to fully participate in her year as a titleholder.
Want a clear daily prep plan? Check out and download this FREE BV Daily Prep Plan:

If you want a flat out answer to the original question, you should start preparing at least 6-8 months ahead of your pageant date. If you have been keeping up with all of the above, you have some leeway. Congrats. Not much, but some. If you have not been utilizing your time well, do not freak out. You can always make things happen...but who wants to rush things or cram things? Take your time and prepare so you feel your most comfortable and your most accomplished at the end of each day (and each pageant)!

Before your next pageant, I recommend that:
  • You get all of the contestant handbook/guidebook materials as soon as they become available for your competition year.
    • If you are working with a coach (of any kind - vocal, dance, pageant, trainer, etc), make sure they understand the guidelines you are working in. There is NO REASON why your talent is 2 minutes long when the guidelines said 1 minutes and 30 seconds. Did you read the guidebook? Did you give a copy to the person helping you? Even if YOU missed the detail, the person you are working with should be keen enough to pick out the detail PRIOR to the pageant.
    • If you are NOT working with a coach (of any kind), you will want to review the materials yourself, line by line. Do not skip a section. You need to be as well-informed as possible. Even if you participated in the program the year before, things may have changed!
  • Work on developing your interview. 
    • We grow everyday. We learn new things everyday. As you grow and learn, your answers may change. You need to constantly be on top of your interview skills; 4 weeks before is NOT the time to start cramming current events, platform statistics, or new vocabulary words.
  • Find somewhere to constantly stay on top of your skills.
    • You have seen those pageant TV shows and I know you have wondered about how they do a pageant EVERY weekend. Well, they are smart! They are never letting their skills go dry and they are constantly practicing and perfecting their routines so when they get to 'the big one', they have been ready and in 'pageant mode' for months. The first time they are doing their routine is not just 'at the big one', but it was months ago so she had time to notice her mistakes and correct them.
  • Find someone to hold you accountable/a pageant manager.
    • Mom may love you. Dad may love you. But really, they are biased. And sometimes, you can be sassy with them. You need to find someone who will hold you accountable and make you work hard, regardless of sass. That's something I do as a coach. That's something your fitness trainer or dance choreographer could do. You need someone to hold you accountable, make sure you are following all of the pageant's guidelines, have everything you need etc. I love my job and I sometimes feel like a 'pageant career manager', but I know that I am needed. You may not need a full time coach, but if ANYTHING you read above is brand new or somewhat new, you need to call me! 

Moral of the story: You should never stop preparing for competition. There is always a girl aging up from a division or a girl who has been competing for years that will challenge you at your next pageant. The key to winning is constant preparation - I am NOT saying that you should eat, sleep, & breathe pageants, but you should be constantly developing the skills necessary to win/do well, if you really want it.

  • Do a smaller pageant to build confidence or work on your routines (you can get scores and comments from judges to help you develop your skills for next time). Do NOT get stuck on only 'winning the big one'. 
  • Stay up on your current events, interview skills, image, and personal development.
  • Volunteer in your local community so you have things to talk about and so you develop real communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Develop hobbies so you can compete for talent competitions, step outside of your comfort zone, stay fit, meet new people etc.

If you have any questions, I'd love to help answer them! Reach out and let's find some solutions!

And don't forget: Check out and download this FREE BV Daily Prep Plan:

<3 All my love,