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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Appointed Pageant Titles: To Take or Not To Take?

Having an "appointed" title can be very beneficial! Here's a few things to consider if you have this opportunity presented to you:

What I Am Talking About:
A titleholder can be appointed by a state or national pageant to hold a specific title. This does not mean that the girl holding the title did not compete in any way - she may have undergone an interview (phone, skype, etc), an application process, or may have competed at a pageant and did well.

"Appointed" means that she will represent a specific area/region, state, or age group without physically competing on a stage for that title.

Some people consider this "buying a title" and make you feel less worthy of being at a pageant. That is nonsense. If you want to attend a pageant and are ready to compete, go for it...but consider what I have to say below:

Some Examples/Further Clarification by Popular Pageant System
Take for example, the USA Ambassador Pageant. The pageant recently celebrated its' 6 year anniversary and it is growing every day. This means that, right now, they may not have a state pageant in EVERY state. But, if you contact the national office and say that you want to compete at their nationals, they will discuss the option of giving you an appointed title so you can proudly represent your state/region/age group at nationals. With a few fees and some paperwork, your crown and sash could be delivered in a few weeks!

At National American Miss, if you place in the top 5 of your Queen's Court, win an optional, or place in the top 5 of an optional at the state level, you can compete at NAM Nationals with an appointed title. Many girls opt to represent their hometown, so "Miss Cute County" or "Miss Crown State". At this pageant, however, you do not compete for the state queen title. NAM has a separate national competition for the girls with appointed titles, called the National All-American Miss pageant.

At International Junior Miss, many girls who competed at the International pageant the year before choose to return. Since they cannot represent the same title again at Internationals, the International office allows them to return with an appointed title. In some small states, the International office also allows the 1st runner up to attend Internationals, with the same respect and honors as the state titleholder - they compete for the same International title as the state titleholder (see above: unlike at NAM Nationals where only a state titleholder can compete for the National American Miss title and the appointed girls can compete for the All-American National title in their age division).

In the Miss USA program, some states have their contestants wear a sash at the state pageant saying the local area they are from. On your application, you would indicate what area you'd like to represent. In the Miss America Organization, you must win a local title before competing at your state pageant...unless you are from a small state where everyone can compete at states...but you will be assigned/appointed a local title.

Things To Remember
1. Being appointed does not make you any less worthy of being at the pageant. 
If anything, it means that you are committed to working hard and that you sincerely want to compete at the next level.

2. Being appointed does not mean that you will not win the pageant.
The year I won my National title, I was appointed from Maryland because there was no Maryland Ms. that year. I went to Nationals wearing the same crown on my head and same sash across my heart as the other Ms who did have pageants in their area. I ended up winning!

3. Be aware of the expenses you may incur.
You will likely be responsible for the same OR slightly different things than girls who were not appointed.

At NAM Nationals for example, state queens who won their state pageant get their entry fees paid, while girls who are competing for the All-American title do not. At USA Ambassador and IJM, everyone is responsible for their own ad fees.

4. Be very clear on expectations.
Some pageants may require a certain number of appearances from you, even though you are appointed. Some may require that you do not compete in any other pageants for one year's time. Make sure you are clear on expectations before just jumping the gun on taking an appointed title.

5. Do NOT take an appointed title just to have a title.
Some girls think they will never win a pageant, so they take an appointed title...then they get to Nationals and do nothing because they had no idea what to do in the first place. They just feel embarrassed and like it was never worth it - do NOT be this girl/mom.

HOWEVER, if you are using the title for the right reasons, I say go for it! Some girls want to gain confidence, want to volunteer in their community (reminder: you do not need a title to do this), want a foot in the door for appearances and believe a title can help with all that - IT CAN. If you are in it for the right reasons, I say go for it.

Please see a REAL pageant coach and get an honest assessment before applying for your appointed title. If your REAL pageant coach thinks you have what it takes, do it. If there is some hesitation and maybe you need to work on some things, take the time to work on the details so you can really rock it at the pageant! Don't just jump the gun on getting the title and then do nothing with it OR waste the money because you just wanted to be there.

With your success in mind,

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

5 Ways to Use Social Media As A Titleholder

I’m sure you’ve seen this: girl wins a pageant and instantly creates a social media page with her new title. You LIKE or FOLLOW the page and then well, never really see anything from her. What a shame. What a waste of a title!

The post below introduces 5 ways (although there are many more) to use social media as a titleholder. Some of you may have a page run by your director and thus, may not have much say in your page. Some of you may have complete access to posting or have someone who posts for you. Whatever the case, you can utilize social media to make the most of your year, encourage others to compete, and much more. 

Take a below at my post suggestions below:

1. Introduce yourself
Try making multiple posts about who you are as a person. Are you a dancer? Gymnast? Artist? Musician? Whatever you are, try to humanize pageantry: show the world that they too can compete and win the crown. Show your fellow “girl musicians” or “girl Anime lovers” that you are breaking the pageant stereotype. Your posts could encourage someone to compete and thus, make a huge difference in their lives. You can indeed 'be the change you wish to see in the world' of pageantry...

2. Share information about your pageant system
Why did you choose your pageant? What do you like about it? When is the next pageant event? Introduce the world to the awesome-ness that is your system and keep them informed. Sometimes people have to see or hear things 10+ times to even recognize it on their timeline, so keep doing your job and promote the system you represent!

3. Be a role model
Refrain from sharing content that would make people question your integrity or values - what you share can reflect on the pageant system you represent. Be sure to clean up your social media pages; if your grandma would question it or would be offended by it, it probably isn’t appropriate. And never forget that what you do on social media never goes away; people can screenshot things, print them, edit them etc. To avoid such issues, strive to be a role model in everything you do. If something is ever in question, that’s the hint to just avoid it.

4. Be an inspiration
Share all of the great things you are doing! Maybe you are volunteering once a week or participating in a championship game. Encourage others with every post that you make! People could always use encouragement in their lives, so be sure to bring that energy into their lives whenever you can.

5. Share content
Maybe something grand has happened in the world of pageantry, or where you volunteer, or with your role model! Share the positive content and create a sense of engagement on your social media page. When someone comments on your page/photo/post, be sure to respond quickly, politely, and enthusiastically: make sure that people know you are running your page and want to encourage engagement and conversation. When people see that a “real girl” is on the other side of the screen, they will appreciate your response….and who knows, maybe they know someone who will be interested in competing for your title in the future (note: it is your job to be the face of your pageant system for one year and this includes bringing in more people to compete)! 

Notice: I have shared 5 ways to use social media as a titleholder; one for each workday of the week. Yes, this means that you can indeed post 5x/week on social media! Think like a business; we tend to engage with businesses that we see more on social media - think of the fave celeb who’s quote you just retweeted or that organization’s picture you just loved on instagram. Social media is a way to connect and collaborate often, not just post when you win or ride in a parade.

Furthermore, by creating social media pages that are truly engaging, you can help humanize pageantry and that’s super important to us here at #TeamBV. It’s time that people stop thinking of pageants as just “fake teeth and fake hair” or those girls who ride in parades and “smile and wave”, but would never hold a conversation or “couldn’t be a real person”. Help end the “pageant girl stereotype” and create a new understanding of what it means to be a pageant girl: someone who loves her community, is a real/everyday girl, and who engages with people so she can inspire them to achieve their wildest dreams.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

How to answer the question, "Why should YOU win this pageant"

During your interview (or on-stage question), you may be faced with the question: "why should YOU win this pageant". There are many ways to answer this question and I want to discuss a few options with you here so you can come up with your best (personalized) response.

The options below depend on your pageant system, so choose an option and see if any of the below fit your system. Note that different systems want different things from their titleholders!

Play along here, let's say you are competing for the title of Miss Nelson River County. While these are NOT complete answers, they should generate some thoughts...

1. You understand that it is a year of service...
While every young woman here this weekend would be a good choice, I am the best choice because my year will not just be about smiling and waving. Instead, it will be a year of service. I plan to be involved with charities and organizations that are already partnered with the Miss Nelson River County organization AND to create partnerships during this year that will last well beyond me to benefit this program.

2. You are a professional...
I'm the best candidate for this job because I am ready to network with other professionals and public officials to help grow our program.

3. You are qualified...
I should win this pageant because all of my experiences have led me to this amazing organization. Whether I was spending hours honing my talent with my vocal instructor, or leading meetings as the Student Government President, or even when I was volunteering at the Nelson River County Community Center over the past 3 years...I am the most qualified candidate for the job because I can use my skills to help grow this organization by approaching new partners, potential contestants, and more...

The best way to answer any question is to prepare - why do you really want to win the pageant? Is something offered to you? Can you offer the system anything? Do you love their mission? Take a moment to really think about why YOU should win above anyone else, because if you do not know why you want to win, you can bet the judges won't know why to put the crown on your head!

Monday, February 15, 2016

5 Lessons Learned from The Grammys 2016

1. How to hold your microphone
Have mercy. If another presenter covered their mouth with their mic or held it with two hands, I would have screamed. You hold the mic with one hand, at your chin level, then tilt the mic towards your mouth so it can pick up the sound. Do not cover your mouth or your face! 

What do you do with the other hand? If you do not need it, have it down at your side. If you feel compelled to use it, you must use it above your belly button - the camera is usually zoomed in from your belly button up, so in order for your hands to matter anyway, they should be seen (above the belly button). 

2. How to speak with charisma
Do not just read the teleprompter. Do not just say your introduction. Do not just answer the question. Sound like you care! One of the performance announcers tonight said something to the effect of  “that was a great performance” and completely looked like a deer in headlights! No enthusiasm! Well, she clearly did not care, did not rehearse, or was really nervous and was just reading.

The judges need to know that you are not a robot, but are instead, a real human being. So whatever you say and wherever you say it (i.e. in the interview room, on-stage etc), give it some charisma and enthusiasm…unless you want to put the judges to sleep!

In turn, speak with conviction as well. Taylor Swift’s album of the year acceptance speech, for example…were you not convinced that she really meant what she was saying? Were you not drawn in? That’s what I am talking about - speak with conviction, power, and charisma to really make your point and to captivate the judges!

3. No matter what happens, you keep going.
Adele’s performance had a number of sound issues and hiccups, but could you tell? Did she show it all over her face? Or did she start crying? Did she storm off of the stage? NO! No matter what happens on stage, you keep going! You have to show, at all times, that you are a professional

So let’s say you trip on your gown. Or the announcer announces you as someone else. Or the mic is not working during your on-stage question. You keep going and you keep performing. If it is something that can be resolved (like the mic), most likely the director or the producer will have it fixed as quickly as possible…you just keep going and if they make you re-do something, do it without complaint and make it even better!

4. How to lose with grace
Good golly, when Taylor Swift lost…she looked like she won! She was jumping up and down for Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran, now that’s positive! Even if her behavior was rehearsed, it looked so much better than those who scoffed at the others or those who looked like they didn’t even want to be there. 

Even if you do not win, stay focused. You may want to come back next year, your reaction will be caught on tape, and who knows…you could end up in a youtube video or as a meme! Consider this: you did not lose, you instead learned for next time. 

5. Being multi-talented is a good thing
Did anyone see that Johnny Depp can play guitar and can sing…and is now in a band with Alice Cooper? Ok, even if you don’t know these particular names, I’ll tell you that Johnny Depp is known primarily as a major actor. And I know you have heard of being a ‘triple threat’. So yes, go to your voice classes, dance classes, and whatever else classes. The more you can do, the more marketable you can be.

Some of you will be ‘picked up’ from pageantry. You’ll land modeling jobs, acting jobs, etc. The more you can do, the more jobs you can land, and the more money you can make. That’s my point #1. Point #2: being multi-talented or multi-interested means that you will have more to talk about in interview! Think about it: the girl who is multi-talented with have more to talk about, more things to reference, more experiences and stories to mention etc. While I’m not saying that you should overfill your schedule, I AM saying that being multi-talented or having multiple interests will make you much more interesting in the interview room than the girl who has no extracurriculars, hobbies, talents, or interests. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

What it means to "just be yourself" in competition...

If you have ever competed, I'm sure you have heard somewhere along the line to "just be yourself". Personally, this line is a bit of hogwash because as great as you are, when competing against someone who is exceptionally polished, you may not compare.

So what does this mean? The idea of just being yourself, to me, is all about being the BEST version of yourself. Polished, humorous, refined, intelligent...whatever. Here it comes (I may get some backlash for this one, but...): in competition, you are an actress. You are playing the role of "the best version of you". Now, when I say this, I mean that you are not your everyday you...where you may use slang, wear that third piercing, or rock those jeans. Instead, you must be the best version of yourself...just as if you were going into an interview for a job or a college. So I want us to stop thinking about just being ourselves and instead, start thinking about being the BEST version of ourselves.

In the business world, you'll hear about this again: the idea of being authentic. Hey, you may have heard of in pageants too: "don't be a Pageant Patty" or "you sound rehearsed". You must be authentic at all times; this means that you must be genuine, real, and self-aware. You should know your strengths and your weaknesses.

Inauthenticity is when you put on a mask; it is a kind of pretending that does more harm than good. For example, maybe you chose to do something that you knew made you uncomfortable or compromised your values. This may be followed up with feelings of self-consciousness or deception. And trust that you never want to feel that way after your interview or pageant competitions. Many judges will be able to see right through your mask; stop wearing a mask and instead, be the best authentic version of yourself!

So, how do you maintain authenticity? Here's my THREE steps to being more authentic in competition:

1. Be exceptionally self-aware.
This means that you should know your strengths and your weaknesses. You should know what you value and what is important to you. And you should be able to speak about these things with confidence.

Suggestion: create flashcards with main topics. When you have a few moments, flash through those cards and give a brief speech about topic. 30-45 seconds will do. For example, if the card says, "Education", you should be able to speak off the cuff about your education (highlights, favorite classes, best experiences, awards won etc). Be sure to record yourself so you know where you sounded shaky or unsure...then go back and try again. By becoming more comfortable with your main topics, you can ensure that you'll know your main points and be able to speak freshly but concisely. And by recording yourself, you will know what to eliminate and what to keep.

2. Notice when you are being inauthentic in life.
Did you lie to your friend about your thoughts on her new hair cut? Did you lie about why your homework was incomplete? Take notice where you are not being honest and real and try to turn things around!

Suggestion: make a list of "if you really knew me, you would know". On the other side of the paper, list "what people think they know about me". Then strive to turn all of your negatives into positives. Be aware of where you could use improvements though - sometimes being authentic is about being humble too!

3.  Highlight your strengths.
You know what you are good at, now can you talk about it? Can you back it up? Some people think that bragging is not good in interview...well, your entire life cannot be summed up in a minute (i.e. NAM or IJM) or 3 minutes (USA Ambassador or United States) or even 9 minutes and 30 seconds (Miss America), so take the time to make sure everything you are saying is of value and that it can sell you. If you cannot provide a good enough story for your strength or talent or ability, it probably should not be listed or said in interview. By eliminating what is not important and by highlighting what is most important, you will be able to understand why particular things are important to you and you will be able to best sell them in interview.

Suggestion: make a list of your strengths, talents, and abilities. You can also list honors, awards, etc. Make a list of your awesomeness...then create flashcards for each (or a list). On the other side of the card, write two or three bullets of explanation. If "it" can be explained easily, it is authentic and real. If you are struggling with it, you'll know that it probably is not the most important topic or the most worthy of slipping into your interview. Once you identify what is most important, you will know why it is important, and how to utilize it in your interview.

People who are authentic or real do NOT:

  • fake their feelings (but instead explain why they feel a certain way),
  • speak for the approval of everyone (but instead diplomatically and with sincerity),
  • compare their journey to anyone else's (they instead realize that their unique journey helps them stand out)
  • lie or pretend to be something they are not (they recognize what makes them amazing and play to their strengths and their awesomeness)
  • dwell on the past (they instead learn from their mistakes and utilize the lessons for the future),
  • blame others for their weaknesses or get jealous over the success of others (but instead support others and realize that their success is just more proof that you can succeed too),
  • hang with toxic people (but instead, understand that birds of a feather, flock together and that positivity is contagious),
  • act out of a closed-mind nature (but instead welcome the opinions of others so that they can make more well-informed statements and decisions in the future)

So the next time you step into competition, don't just be yourself, be the BEST version of yourself! <3

Friday, January 1, 2016

What undergarments should I pack?

Imagine getting the comments from the judges at your last pageant and reading "panty lines were distracting" or "needs to choose a different bra" or even, "needs to discover butt glue"!

Ok, while some of those comments may seem a little out of the ordinary, I myself I have thought it recently as a judge! And when I gave it some more thought, I wondered just how many of us have been educated on proper here we go, this is your official "Pageant Undergarments Guide"!

When In Swim Wear, Please Consider:
  • Bra Fillers or Chicken Cutlets
    • You will want the gel filled kind for swimsuit so it appears more natural and feels better in your suit. These cannot be sewn in.
    • You can get the sew in kind as well (non-gel filled), but these may feel a little odd
    • Note: "pageant quality" swimsuits are usually well-lined and this means that they can be a bit thicker, so they hide some of your assets. Do not be afraid to enhance your figure (tastefully) with these cutlets.
  • Butt glue/adhesive spray
    • Ok, this is not an undergarment, but many find it to be a swimwear necessity. You put your swim bottoms on and then lift up the "cheeks" part. Spray your skin/cheek and wait a few seconds so the spray is sticky. Then lay the swimsuit fabric as smoothly as possible onto the cheek, exactly where you want it to sit. It will stick where you place it.
    • I highly advise doing both cheeks at the same time.
    • You'll also need baby wipes to wipe off the stickiness after you take it off - you don't want to stick to your other garments.
    • Make sure to get an actual body adhesive glue and test it before pageant weekend - during the competition weekend is not the time to find out that you are allergic to the adhesive or that it rips your skin when pulling the swimsuit off!
  • Shoes: ok, again, NOT an undergarment, but you will want nude strapped shoes. 
    • Most popular shoe on the market now: Tippy Tops by Chinese Laundry, nude
    • Second most popular: Jonathan Kayne Savannah Heels
    • The most experienced contestants have either one of these. Nude heels elongate your legs and colors will shorten it. You are looking for minimal straps and a great heel.
When In Evening Wear/Modeling:

When In Interview
  • The right bra
    • You may be wearing a halter dress or a cap sleeve or whatever! Choose the right bra for your outfit (this includes color).
  • Slip
  • Pantyhose
    • Now this really depends on your pageant system. Some like pantyhose and some do not. If you do need to wear pantyhose, make sure it is skin-colored/nude! And no, not everyone is the same shade of "nude"! If your skin is a warm brown and you show up wearing white pantyhose, you will look out of style and well, a bit ridiculous!

Hope this helps! Please share this "Pageant Undergarments Guide" post AND comment below with your thoughts =)