The Pageant Walk: How to Walk in Swimsuit and Evening Gown

Tips for Pageant Walking

Gain Points for Your  Beautiful Walk during Evening Gown and Swimsuit Competitions…

To convince the judges that she is their winner, a contestant must look like a winner. To score highly she must develop grace and confidence of bearing and a confident, feminine walk.

the pageant walk

The way a young woman walks is one of the first-and most important-qualities the pageant judges will observe during the evening gown competition.

Walking in the Evening Gown Competition

A winning walk in the evening gown competition requires that a young woman present herself elegantly onstage.  Why is is a contestants’ walk so important? Because judges score each contestant on how graceful, poised, and composed she appears.

“It’s how well she can move, carry herself, and present herself in the formal-wear of her choice,” explains Rex Holt, of GuyRex Associates, which has coached a half a dozen Miss USAs to victory.

The way a young woman walks is one of the first-and most important-qualities the pageant judges will observe during the evening gown competition. “We look for class and elegance,” says Richard Guy, also of GuyRex Associates.

“The most important thing is elegance,” he say. “Let’s say a girl is absolutely gorgeous. Then you see her modeling onstage and she walks like a truck driver. Well, out she goes! She can’t move.”

Contestants Often Overlook Their Walk

Unfortu­nately, the importance of a regal walk is often overlooked by new contestants. “When I start working with girls who are entering their first pageant, they all walk the runway like they’re going to a five-alarm fire,” says Thomas Tolbert, of Georgia’s Legends. “They’re uncomfortable and they want to get on and off fast. But they’ve got to take their time, they’ve got to look elegant.”

How to Develop a Beautiful Walk

Miss America 2009 pageant walk in swimsuit

Katie Stam shows just how sexy the pageant walk has become in the Miss America swimsuit competition.

A beautiful walk can be developed, according to former Miss America Laurel Schaefer, who is famous for her regal bearing. “Your walk, particularly in your gown, should look like you are on rollers, that someone at the end of the runway has you on coasters and they’re pulling you down the runway. You should literally glide. There should be no bouncy movement.” Laurel recommends the classic “book-on-your­-head” method for perfecting posture. “You learn where your center of gravity is and it pulls the spine correctly.”

Shorter steps also help. “Many girls just take too big a step, and every­body is looking at their feet …. The secret of a beautiful walk is first of all to have a wonderful, radiant smile so that what people are really looking at is your face. Take the attention away from your feet.”

Keep in mind the pageant system while working on your pageant walk. While all pageant systems have become more relaxed in recent years, with walking styles similar to a fashion runway, the degree of elegance – or sensuality – expected of contestants varies considerably depending upon the system.

  • The Miss USA has a more breezy, sexier, fast-paced walking style during both the evening gown and swimsuit competition than does its somewhat more traditional competitor, Miss America.
  • The same goes for the Miss Teen USA Pageant, where the age of contestants obvious dictates a more relaxed, youthful, contemporary walk.
  • Pageants in Central and South America are considerably more sensual in the walking style expected of contestants, with cat walk style hip-swaying.

So, before competing, watch tapes of various pageant systems to get a feel for the stylistic differences between the various systems. Then cater your walk to the particular pageant system you are entering.

Walking in the Swimsuit Competition

Walking in the swimsuit competition involves more technique today, with fast-paced, smoking hot, cat-walk style strutting that includes full turns and sensual pivots. The competition today is staged with much faster-paced, sexy music than in past years, requiring contestants to have developed a working knowledge of and comfort with basic dance choreography and runway modeling. While Miss USA’s swimsuit competition has been quite sexy and fashion forward for years, surprisngly the Miss America pageant has changed its swimsuit competition to resemble Miss USA’s format: fast-paced, youthful and sexy.

Whatever pageant system you are competing in, never underestimate how your carriage, posture, and walk can create a winning-or losing-image.  Walk like a winner.


A Winning Pageant Image | Pageant Hair and Makeup | Top Habits of Winners | Pageant Interviews | Questions and Answers | Talent Competition | Swimsuit Competition | Evening Gown Competition

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