It’s pageant interview day, at last. Be forewarned. Before entering your interview with the judges, there are two things every contestant should be able to answer questions about: your judges and the day’s headlines.
Know Your Pageant Interview Judges
A favorite technique pageant judges use for testing contestants’ mental alertness is to ask questions such as, “Who is so-and-so?”, using another judge as bait. The question sorts the intelligent from the inept. At one state pageant a member of the panel asked an entrant, “Do you know who (John Doe) is?” When the girl nodded confidently, the judges assumed that she would reply, “Yes, (John Doe) is a judge here and president of the Miss (State) pageant.” To their amusement, she answered with complete confidence, “Yes, I do. (John Doe) is a famous major league ball player. In fact, he was just traded to another team, but I’m not sure which one.” With (John Doe) sitting in their midst, the judges could barely keep straight faces. The moment the contestant left the room they nearly fell off their chairs laughing.
The stunt has been pulled at pageants from coast to coast, so be prepared. Learn who your judges are and memorize their names.
Know That Day’s News Headlines
Another little surprise judges often pull is asking pageant questions on something from the morning paper. Kim Boyce, a former Miss America semi-finalist recalls: “The morning of my interview, the girl who was helping me get ready was reading to me while I was putting my makeup on, and she read me an article. Well, I went into the interview-and sure enough, that’s what they asked me about. If she hadn’t been reading me the paper I wouldn’t have had anything to say.” Get the news that morning, even if it’s just listening to the TV as you’re rolling your hair.
Checking out the morning news can give a contestant a competitive edge, as Leanza Cornett demonstrated during her national Miss America judges interview.
As she discussed her platform on AIDS education, Leanza slipped in the news that a famous film star had died from AIDS that morning. One judge, a prominent Hollywood casting director, gasped in shock and entreated Miss Florida for more details. The incident revealed Leanza as a smart cookie who understood the power of being one headline ahead of the competition.
Her attention to detail in preparing to meet the national panel distinguished her as a woman who put in extra effort to get the job done right.
Be prepared. Know your headlines and your pageant judges.