No matter how bright and knowledgeable a pageant contestant is, she must be an outgoing people person with the ability to positively affect people from all walks of life. Without that quality, a girl might as well toss away her banner and go home.
“She has to be confident, sincere, and have a congenial personality,” asserts Warren Alexander, national director of the Miss Teen of America Pageant. “I expect to get phone calls, letters, and feedback from charities, businesses, and schools saying, “We were so impressed by this young lady! She touched people, she made a difference. We’d love to have her come back.’ That’s what I expect and that’s what I tell my judges. She has to be someone who doesn’t just compete well – because she is not going to be competing for the next year. She’s going to be making appearances for a year. She has got to be a young lady who truly is tops.”
Every contestant needs to know that national and world pageant titleholders are not cool, reserved, composed little china dolls. They have personality plus. We know dozens of such winners, and they are the nicest, friendliest, funniest, most charming people you could ever hope to meet.
From the judges’ vantage point, knowing so many of these vivacious women, when we’ve faced cautious, overly-poised contestants in interviews, the contrast has been glaring. Some contestants, even those whose photos and resumes indicated they might be top contenders, had no personality in the interview. It was as if they were concentrating so hard on being whatever somebody has told them they were “supposed” to be in interview, that they forgot to let their personality show.
Interview is not the time to turn down the voltage on your personality. It’s the perfect time to let the judges see the megawatts sparkle you would bring to the crown. Shine!
The reason it’s so important to let your personality show is because it’s one quality that can’t be faked. “You cannot coach or give that quality of charisma,” states Kathleen Munson, a pageant consultant who has worked with numerous titleholders including Gretchen Carlson, Miss America 1989. “I don’t believe charisma is a coachable quality. You can do a lot, but you can’t give them that.”
A girl can undergo cosmetic surgery to win swimsuit. She can take talent lessons to cop the talent trophy. She can create the illusion of beauty with an expensive stylist and makeup artist, and a designer gown. But she cannot fake sincerity, charm, warmth, wit, compassion, and all the other intangible qualities that give a young woman that wonderful winning quality called “personality.”
Personality is the character of a queen, the mark of a successful interview, and a contestant’s greatest asset in pageants.
If you achieve nothing else in your interview, make sure you use the power of personality.