The world of beauty pageants can be somewhat confusing and intimidating for new participants and their families. However, do not let that be the hindrance. Beauty pageants can be a wonderful experience. Here are a few tips to get started and help prepare for the first beauty pageant.
1. Get ready for hard work. Just being beautiful or handsome is not going to make a winner. In fact, beauty pageants usually have events that are based on more than appearance alone. A contestant must be prepared to present herself/himself as an eloquent and intelligent speaker, poised, dignified, and showcase talent with expertise. All of this requires hard work, self confidence, determination, and taking the time to study each beauty pageant’s rules and history. There is a lot to learn, so gear up.
2. Consider a pageant coach. A step that can give a contestant an advantage is to hire a beauty pageant coach. Coaches are most often very experienced in the world of pageants and therefore have knowledge regarding traits and qualities that the judges are looking for in a contestant. A coach can teach contestants and their parents to recognize stand-out qualities on an individual basis, and help refine basic pageant skills that might normally go unnoticed by beginners. For instance, the correct model stance can be the difference between first place and runner up. Coaches can help to guide contestants to success, give them focus, motivate them, polish their unique features, while providing the contestant an extra person with which to confide concerns and fears.
3. Training is the key to consistent winning. Another important thing is training – perhaps the most important thing. Practice makes perfect! Contestants MUST practice public speaking skills, chosen talent, walking, modeling stance, and facial expressions. Practicing smiling sounds like it’s silly, but there a many different ways to smile! Doing hair and makeup before pageant day is important as well; not being sure is the same thing as being unprepared when it comes to pageants. The judges can always tell who is prepared from who is not. If a talent is part of the competition, the contestant must appear to be practiced and prepared. If music is used, make sure it is age-appropriate. It’s not a bad idea to study videotapes of previous winners of the beauty pageants. Examine the qualities of the winner to identify what the judges were looking for in the contestant.
4. Discipline makes a contestant stronger. Self-discipline – this is important! Practice good habits for sleeping, exercise, nutrition, and stress-relief. Judges do not tend to pick winners that look tired, sickly, anxious, or run down. If a contestant isn’t feeling good due to one of these things, it will show! The days leading up to the pageant, try to ensure that the contestant doesn’t eat a bunch of junk food or drinks. Make sure they are drinking lots of water, are getting plenty of vegetables, and are not overloading on meat. It gets hot under those lights and many a contestant has passed out from nerves and exhaustion. Stay committed to making this a high priority.
5. Remember the Golden Rule. Another vital and often forgotten tip is to make sure to always behave appropriately and respectfully. This includes other contestants, the judges, and the organizers of the contest. A bad attitude will work against a contestant in the long run. Self-confidence is not the same thing as arrogance. Judges are looking for a person who exudes grace as well as confidence, but a bad attitude will never be successful.
6. Start locally. There are beauty pageants almost everywhere! Participating in a local pageant will be a good way to get a feel for the pageant world and the requirements for being in them. Just watching a local pageant before entering one will give the contestant an idea of what a pageant is like, how contestants should dress, etc. Enter as many local and regional pageants as possible. Competing in local pageants will pave the way to bigger pageants, and help the contestant gain experience and confidence.
6. Check out each pageant before entering. Make sure to check out the age requirements, fees for participation, clothing and talent categories, criteria for judging contestants, and the prizes that will be awarded. Some pageants are Glitz, while others are Natural pageants. Glitz pageants have heavy hair, make-up, glitzy dresses and costumes, flippers, spray-tans, and much more. Natural pageants do not allow glitzy additions, and the contestants must look natural to do well. Some pageants require large entry fees and require the contestants to get sponsors, sell tickets to the event and help with advertising. Before paying to enter a pageant, check out everything that the pageant involves.
7. Pay attention to details. Details distinguish contestants from each other. All pageant clothing should fit well, be a good color on the contestant, and should be in excellent condition. Remember the phrase, “The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.” (Steel Magnolias) It is so true! Try to pick clothes that the contestant loves, feels comfortable in, and wants to show off. 95% of the time, it is clear when a contestant loves their dress/outfit. The judges always know! Make sure the contestant’s clothing doesn’t have snags, sagging, bulges, is lop-sided, or dragging. Younger contestants often have dirty bottoms of their feet from running around without shoes all day…if he/she is barefoot in the talent portion or outfit of choice, the judges will notice it.
8. Confidence makes a contestant shine. Being up in front of a large group for the first few times can be very scary for even the most confident contestant. Have her/him practice their talent in other venues, such a large family gatherings, school or church talent shows, neighborhood gatherings, etc. Eventually, large crowds will be comfortable and second nature to the contestant.
9. Professional photographs are often required. Some pageants require professional photographs for the pageant. Find a good photographer who will allow you to have the copyright or negatives for your photos so that you can copy them as needed less expensively, because you will need quite a few copies. It is a good idea to get a recommendation from other local parents in the pageant world.
10. Pageants can be very expensive. Clothing, travel expenses, coaching fees, and entry fees can add up quickly. One good way to save money is to make or rent the glamorous dresses and outfits the contestant will need to compete. When traveling, share expenses with another contestant and their family, if possible. A good coach is not necessarily an expensive one. Shop around and choose the best personal option.
11. Make sure everyone in the family is ready for the pageant lifestyle. If considering participating in pageants as an enjoyable frequent hobby, talk with the entire family about the time and money commitment it will be. Competing in pageants can be time-consuming and expensive. Make sure that the contestant and the rest of the family are ready for it. It should not become a financial or emotional strain on the family.
12. Above all, pageants are supposed to be fun. Pageants are a way for the contestant to show who they are. Explain to the contestant that they can’t always win. Winning is not everything, and they should enjoy not only the crown at the end but the entire experience. Everyone has great days and bad days, and the key to succeeding is persistence and dedication.
Can you think of more tips or ideas to help contestant succeed?
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