Your pageant image, unlike your pageant attitude (which involves inner qualities), involves external qualities – a contestant’s image and appearance which define for judges who the contestant is as an individual.
A winning pageant image is imperative to earning the crown! Because a pageant titleholder is a spokesperson for the pageant organization and a role model for girls, how she presents herself is important.
Therefore, from the moment the pageant judges meet a contestant, they carefully scrutinize her appearance from head-to-toe to determine if she possesses a winning image to successfully represent that title.
Pageants are not all the same. Each pageant has its own distinct look. To win, a contestant has to achieve a balance, both being herself and conveying the image of the title she hopes to win. “Know the system.
There is definitely an ‘image’ for each pageant,” explains Kathleen Munson, a pageant consultant and former head of the Midwest Judges Certification Program. “There is a difference between the Miss America system and the Miss USA system, and with the teen pageants and Mrs. pageants. For instance, there is a much greater emphasis on glamour and drama in the Miss USA look, and Miss Teen USA follows Miss USA. Mrs. America is a ‘Miss USA look,’ and Mrs. USI (United States International) is a ‘Miss America look.’ They each have a definite ‘look.”’
Understanding the pageant’s image will help a contestant craft her most suitable look for competition. “The first thing you have to do is know what you are looking for,” advises David Bartley, an image specialist. “When I am preparing a girl for Miss America, I am basically going for a television anchor woman look: stylish, fresh, classic-a woman who looks like she is going places. When I am working with a girl for Miss USA, they are more fashion-forward, more glamorous in the traditional sense. It’s more of a model’s look. Different pageants have different looks.”