Once the contestant understands the general image of the pageant she is entering, she should tailor her hairstyle and wardrobing to 1) look her best and 2) convey the image of that pageant.
Miss USA is fashion-forward and glamorous, so a young woman who hopes to win that title should create her most glamorous look.
Scholarship pageants want a classic, wholesome titleholder so a contestant should go with her most wholesome, classically elegant look. In each case, the young woman remains herself, but presents herself with the ‘look’ appropriate for that pageant.
It’s a little like an actress auditioning for different film roles. A contestant is auditioning for a specific role. Understand the overall image of the pageant you’re entering and create your own winning look within that general image:
- Miss America: Classic beauty, intelligent, stage talent, great public speaker, civic volunteer, elegant evening gown look, shoulder-length hair or upswept hair, wholesome thin figure (5’3? to 5’11?).
- Miss America’s Outstanding Teen: wholesome all-American look, intelligent, stage talent, great public speaker, civic volunteer, elegant but wholesome formal wear look, usually shoulder-length hair, (5’3? to 5’11?).
- Miss USA: Gorgeous face, vivacious personality, charming conversationalist, glamorous evening gown look, long, full luxurioushair or upswept hair, tall, leggy figure (5’6? to 6’0?).
- Miss Universe: Multi-ethnic look, classically beautiful face, often regal, poised speaker, often has a beautiful speaking voice, hair down over shoulders or upswept, pretty but non-voluptuous figure (5’2? to 5’11?). Usually brunette.
- Miss Teen USA: Youthfully pretty look; not as overtly sexy as big sister Miss USA, great smile; friendly personality, sense of humor; glamorous, but simpler evening gown look; well-toned figure (5’3? to 5’10?).
Leanza Cornett, Miss America 1993, is an example of a titleholder who understands how to adjust her image to fit the situation.
When Leanza competed in the Miss America Pageant finals, she presented herself with a perfect Miss America image. Her clothing was feminine and conservative and she wore her hair elegantly upswept in classically feminine style. But after she won, Leanza experimented with other images. When she appeared on The Joan Rivers Show, she exuded a sporty image with a trendy navy pantsuit dotted with nautical medals and her hair worn in a short, casual fringed style.
A month later, when she appeared on the cover of Atlantic City magazine under the headline “Miss America Gets Serious,” she had switched to a conservative image with a pinstriped business suit and blunt-cut hairstyle. Each look was Leanza, but a side of her appropriate for that situation.
Frankly, she probability wouldn’t have won the Miss America title if she’d used either of those looks at the pageant, but wisely, she cultivated and projected the look she needed to win the that specific title. Leanza understood the art of projecting the image of the pageant she hoped to win, while remaining herself. That’s the secret. Don’t change yourself. Use suitable hairstyles, makeup, and clothing to subtly reflect the pageant’s image.