Humor is an invaluable tool for pageant interviews!
The ability to make judges laugh can make a contestant appear more confident, personable, and intelligent, and energize even the dullest interview. And it is absolutely a point-getter during on-stage interviews.
For instance, John Moskal, a state and national judge, former costar on Days of Our Lives and Remington Steele, and a drama coach and actor, recalls a time when humor transformed a “stone-face serious” interview into a fun, high-scoring interview. “This girl was so serious that when it was my turn to ask a question, I said, ‘Susie, can you complete this statement? You guys would just die if you knew that I … ‘”
The question brought a smile to the contestant’s face as she launched into an “hysterical story” about how she drove to her senior prom on a fire engine. “It had us laughing so hard that most of us had to use the restroom afterward because we couldn’t hold it in!” John recalls. “It just broke the ice.”
Moskal, who has had six women he judged make the top five at the Miss America pageant, loves to see humor interjected into pageant interviews. The opportunity to show her sense of humor relaxed the contestant and revealed a lighter, charming side of her personality that otherwise would have gone unnoticed. “Your sense of humor is so important,” Moskal stresses. “That’s one quality I really search for.”
Due to its ability to energize an interview and improve a contestant’s image, humor is a great interview tactic:
“Laugh, make the judges laugh, have a good time,” “Usually the girl who can laugh is the most relaxed because she knows who she is and is comfortable in herself.” –Cheryl Prewitt Salem, Miss America 1980.
Opening a pageant interview with a touch of humor is an unrivaled ice-breaker.
- In 1988, Miss Ohio, Sarah Evans, kidded the judges about her unenviable position as the last of fifty interviews. “When I walked in there, they were all just sitting there,” she recalls, mimicking their bone-tired expressions. “I said, ‘Hi, I bet you’re glad to see me!’ I got a lot of laughs and it was a fun time.”
- Likewise, Catherine Lemkau, Miss Iowa 1992, used wit to begin her interview on a strong note. As the last contestant interviewed one morning, she capitalized on the approaching lunch hour. “Are you as hungry as I am?” she quipped before she’d even hit the chair. Not surprisingly, she became first runner-up.
Likewise, during on-stage interviews, demonstrating a great sense of humor is so effective that it can handily clinch the crown.
During the 1996 Miss Universe Pageant finals, Alicia Machado, Miss Venezuela, and the eventual winner, used just a touch of humor – and a mischievous glint evident in her eyes and smile – in her answer during the finals questions. When the emcee asked her: “What do you think today’s men can learn from women?”, she quipped:
“I think they can learn very much, because thanks to us women, the men are here in this beautiful theater, seeing this beautiful contest – and applauding me because I am a beautiful woman!”
The following year, at the 1987 Miss Universe Pageant, Miss USA, Brooke Mahealani Lee, brought the house down with her hilarious answer to this question from the emcee:”If there were no rules in your life – for one day – and you could be outrageous, what would you do?”
“I would eat everything in the world. You don’t understand. I would eat everything…twice.“
And, of course, she won by a landslide.
For the contestant seeking to add zest to her pageant interview, a sense of humor is a valuable asset. Dare to be funny!