Tough pageant interviews are a compliment. The tougher the pageant interview, the greater the compliment. Judges are thrilled to meet contestants who are so knowledgeable and confident that they can take the panel’s most difficult questions and respond with intelligence and perception.
Some judges deliberately disagree with an obviously promising contestant to see how she reacts under pressure.
- Does she confidently but graciously defend her convictions?
- Or does she wilt under a judge’s apparent displeasure and change her views to appease him or her?
Since most national winners encounter hostile reporters or protestors during their reigns, pushing a contestant’s hot button during the interview reveals how she would handle difficult situations as the winner.
Some Judges will challenge a strong contestant to see if she wilts
For instance, few contestants understand that judges probe to discover which women will back down if challenged on their convictions.
In her Miss America Pageant interviews, when Miss Florida, Leanza Cornett, expressed her views on her platform, AIDS prevention, a member of the panel cross-examined her. Unfazed by an unsmiling celebrity challenging her, Leanza calmly reiterated her views – and gained points.
What Leanza couldn’t have known was that the panel reserved the tactic for women whose performance suggested they could be contenders for the crown. The tough treatment was a vote of confidence and Leanza made points by sticking to her guns.
One judges jotted these remarks in her notes:
“Relaxed, courageous in her views, expresses herself strongly with no hesitation.”
Days later when Leanza appeared on Larry King Live as the new Miss America, she handled callers with the same unflappable composure we judges had tested during her pageant interview.
Never be unnerved by a panel that pushes, probes, and provokes. Pat yourself on the back. The judges think you’re good enough to handle anything they can throw at you.