What Judges Are Likely to Ask You in Pageant Interviews
One of the purposes of pageant interviews is to reveal if a contestant can think. Clear thinking requires knowledge, and mental organization to use that information. To prepare well for the interview process, a girl needs to become a bit of a “human filing cabinet.”
Digest facts about each subject, develop opinions, and practice possible answers. Absorbing information on a wide variety of subjects strengthens a contestant’s confidence and improves the quality of her interviews.
The first step is to get an idea of what pageant judges are likely to ask:
- anything on your entry form/fact sheet
- yourself (“Tell us about yourself” or “Who are you?”)
- reasons for entering the pageant
- what you want to achieve in life
- educational and career goals, current job
- hobbies, sports, and unusual interests
- your best and worst qualities
- biggest disappointments and accomplishments
- people you admire most and why
- family, friends, boyfriends
- talent and any special training
- travel experiences
- community involvement/ what your town is known for
- favorite music, movies, books, foods, sports, etc.
- world affairs and issues
- current events and controversial issues
- geography that’s in the news (Gaza Strip, Bosnia)
- people in the news (Who is . . .)
- politics and presidential campaigns
There is no way to predict everything about which pageant judges might ask since every interview is different. “It really can vary,” observes Melissa Aggeles, Miss Florida 1988 and a national semi-finalist. “Judges could ask you anything from your favorite color to what you think about the Moscow Summit. It depends on what kind of mood the judges are in, what they feel the minute they see you, how interesting your resume is. It really varies.
And that’s what interviews are intended to show.
Begin Collecting Information: Your Pageant Interview Notebook/Idea Box
“Read everything you can get your hands on! Newsweek, People, USA Today, newspapers. Read it, analyze it, and move on.” — Local pageant director Jeff Bell
Once you’ve anticipated possible lines of questioning judges might throw at you, the second step is to begin collecting information to study those issues. That builds the base of knowledge a girl needs to draw upon when answering judges’ interview questions.
A pageant interview notebook listing personal tidbits such as her…
- funniest moments
This notebook approach can help a new contestant get ideas for answering personal questions.
Newspaper and magazine clippings are ideal for prepping for questions on politics and current events. “Read everything you can get your hands on!” advises veteran local pageant director Jeff Bell, “Newsweek, People, USA Today, newspapers. Read it, analyze it, and move on.”
Your System for Organizing Information and Ideas
Pick a system for organizing your information and ideas. As Miss Florida, Melissa Aggeles used index cards with questions and answers listed on flip sides.
“I came up with about four hundred,” she says. “I figured that if I didn’t know something in the interview, it didn’t matter because I knew four hundred other things.”
Miss Ohio 1988, Sarah Evans, kept a notebook with subject headings on each page.
“I wrote down exactly how I felt about each issue so I had already put my opinion into words. Then, if I was asked about that in interview, I already had a train of thought going.”
Whatever system you decide upon, collect information about topics judges are likely to bring up. Digest facts about each subject, develop opinions, and practice possible answers. Absorbing information on a wide variety of subjects strengthens a contestant’s confidence and improves the quality of her interviews.
Former Miss America, Debbie Bryant-Berge:
“I think the more issues you think about and try to formulate ideas about, the more it helps you. Even if you’re not asked about that, you have the sense of preparedness that you can handle any situation that could come along. Even if they only ask you, ‘What are you majoring in at college?,’ you’ll think, ‘Come on, give me more! I’m ready for ya’! So you don’t worry about it, you’re not nervous-and that comes across in the interview.”
If you want to collect pageant crowns … collect information!