In Pageants, Intelligence, Personal Achievements, Academic Honors and the Ability to Speak Well are Advantages
Pageant Interview Tip: It pays to show judges you are intelligent and articulate. Judges realize that today’s pageant winners have to have brains.
Whether she seeks the title of Miss America, Miss Universe, or Miss World, a major titleholder’s job involves press conferences and interviews, talk shows, appearances for corporate sponsors, and countless speeches, sometimes before state legislatures and congressional subcommittees.
She must be able to capably answer questions – both during the pageant and throughout her reign.
Pageant Judges know that, whatever the title, their winner has to be able to capably answer questions about very complex issues. “I look for an intelligent young woman who is vitally interested in what is going on in the world around her,” says former Miss America and expert pageant judge Donna Axum, “an articulate young woman who has something to say about the issues. This is not a memorized surface answer, but a digestion of the issue, an understanding of the problem, and an answer that reflects her opinion on that issue based upon her beliefs and values.”
Interestingly, in recent years all major pageant systems have expected their titleholders to be intelligent young women whose education, knowledge, and accomplishments reflect well upon the pageant.
Consider recent Miss Americas. Deidre Downs (2005) was a medical student, Gretchen Carlson (1989) was an honors student at Stanford and Oxford, Debbye Turner (1990) was earning her doctorate in veterinary medicine, and Marjorie Vincent (1991) was a law student at Duke University.
Even in the Miss USA Pageant, a traditional beauty pageant, recent winners have been increasingly well-educated and accomplished women.
Miss USA 1994, Lu Parker, was a master’s degree recipient from the Citadel and founder of H.A.T.S., Help All Teens Survive. “The girls are glamorous and beautiful, yet they have so much more going for them!” explains Paula Miles, Parker’s state director. “For instance, Lu certainly had a purpose. Now that’s not a requirement to be in the pageant, but it gave her something to focus on and be knowledgeable about, and to appear intelligent and worldly.”
As Lu Parker discovered, it pays to show the judges you’re intelligent, accomplished, articulate…in other words, smart enough to be a great titleholder.
Brains Pay Off in Pageants
The impressive educational accomplishments of many titleholders at the time they competed and won their titles demonstrate that brains pay off in pageants:
- Miss America 2013, Nina Davuluri – Degree in brain behavior/cognitive science from University of Michigan, aspires to be doctor
- Miss America 2005, Deidre Downs – Entering medical school at University of Alabama, Rhodes Scholar finalist
- Miss America 2003, Erika Harold – Accepted to Harvard Law School
- Miss USA 1994, Lu Parker – Masters Degree from The Citadel
- Miss South Carolina 1992, Dr. Carrie Lee Davis – Graduate of Medical University of South Carolina, practicing doctor
- Miss USA 1992, Shannon Marketic – Attended Pepperdine University on an academic scholarship
- Miss World 1991, Ninibeth Beatriz Jiménez – Industrial engineering major
- Miss America 1990, Debbye Turner – Pursuing a doctoral degree in veterinary medicine
- Miss America 1989, Gretchen Carlson – Honors graduated from Stanford, had studied at Oxford
- Mrs. USA 1991, Deborah A Williams – Held Ph.D. in Psychology
- Miss Universe 1981, Irene Sáez – Engineering student
- Miss Nebraska-USA 1992, Jeanna Margaret Blom – Emergency room doctor
- Miss Iowa-USA 1993, Jan Hoyer – Medical doctor
- Miss America 1975, Shirley Cothran – Held a Masters degree; was pursuing a PhD