Where, when, and how does the step-by-step process of winning pageants begin? At what age should I begin competing? Where do I start? How long will it take to win my first pageant?
The answer is, there is no “one-size-fits-all” blueprint for becoming a pageant winner. Each titleholder’s road to the crown is as unique as the woman who earns that crown.
When to Start Competing in Pageants
Let’s consider the question of when to begin competing in pageants. It depends on the individual. Some contestants hit the runway as soon as they’re out of diapers. Susan Akin, Miss America 1986, began entering pageants in elementary school, won the Little Miss America title, and later competed in over a hundred pageants.
However, her experience is the exception to the rule. The backgrounds of major titleholders reveal that competing in children’s and preteen pageants does not improve a young woman’s chances of winning a major title like Miss America or Miss USA.
In fact, most national and international pageant winners first competed during high school. A girl who enters her first pageant as a high school freshman has years ahead of her to participate in teen pageants, accumulate scholarships for college, and develop as a contestant. Many pageants have been developed especially for high school students, including Miss T.E.E.N., Miss Teen of America, and Miss Teen USA.
Today, most contestants begin their quest for the crown between junior high school and their freshman year of college. Even late bloomers can succeed. Students who enter their first contest as college sophomores still have four to six years to compete in adult pageants like Miss America and Miss USA, which have age cut-offs of twenty-four to twenty-six years. For example, Debra Maffett entered her first pageant as a twenty one-year-old college student and lost for four years before winning the 1983 Miss America title as a twenty-five-year-old college graduate.
Women who missed the pageant experience entirely during their school years can enter events developed especially for older women. Mother-daughter contests and “Mrs.” pageants are two of the most popular pageants for women who once assumed they were past their pageant prime. One recent winner, Sandra Earnest, a mother of ten children, began competing at age forty and won the 1993 Mrs. USA title as a forty-four-year-old! Pageants like Beauties of America feature multiple age categories for single, married, or divorced women ages twenty to sixty-plus. Others, like Most Glamorous Grandmother and Ms. Senior America, celebrate the beauty of senior citizens.
Pageantry has a place for entrants of every age, advises Kathleen Munson, who quips, “We’ve got cradle-to-death pageants!”
So, whatever your stage of life, it’s never too late to embark on your quest for the crown.
How Long Will It Take to Win?
How long it takes to win pageants depends on the individual.
- Mrs. USA, Sandra Earnest won the title on her third try.
- Miss Universe 1993 Dayanara Torres won the first year she entered.
- Miss USA 1988, Courtney Gibbs won the first year she entered.
- Miss USA 1989, Gretchen Polhemus won the first year she entered.
- Miss America 1980, Cheryl Prewitt competed and lost for five years before winning.
- Miss America 1988, Kaye Lani Rae Rafko lost for a half-a-decade before winning.
- Miss America 1990, Debbye Turner competed and lost for five years before winning.
- Miss America 1976, Tawny Godin, won on her first try.
- Miss America 1977, Dorothy Benham won the first year she entered.
- Miss America 1989, Gretchen Carlson won the first year she competed.
- Miss America 1994, Kimberly Aiken won the first year she entered.
You can win on your first try. You can win after years of losing.
The time it takes to win in pageantry is different for every contestant, depending on her natural beauty and talent, skill, determination and maturity.
This section is devoted to tips for competing in the Evening Gown Competition in pageants. Topics include:
- The art of winning the Evening Gown competition.
- What judges look for in the Evening Gown competition.
- The secrets to picking a winning evening gown.
- How to choose the right gown for your body style ( a step-by-step guide).
- Do you need an expensive gown to win? (How a homemade gown beat a $10,000 Mackie original).
- The gown must fit the pageant.
- Evening gown competition mistakes you must avoid.
- How to choose the best evening gown competition color for you.
- What really wins: A list of best colors to wear in the evening gown competition (the colors win the most).
- How to use gown color to convey a specific image to judges.
- Understand the effects of stage lighting on evening gown color.
- Don’t be afraid to be different in evening gown.
- How to gain points for your evening gown walk.
- Rules for choosing your jewelry, bra and undies for the Evening Gown competition.
- What shoes are best in the Evening Gown competition?
- [Read more…]
This section is devoted to pageant tips for competing in the pageant interviews with judges. Pageant tips include:
- It’s a job interview…Be prepared!
- The different types of pageant interviews you need to prepare for.
- What do judges look for in pageant interviews?
- What to do before your pageant interviews.
- Strategies to help you win pageant interviews.
- What judges are likely to ask you.
- Speak like a winner. How to improve your speaking skills.
- I’m a nervous wreck! How to calm interview jitters.
- The importance of mock pageant interviews.
- Pageant question samples
- How to handle those tricky “What is your worst fault” questions.
- Did you know this irritates most judges?
- Help! What to do when you don’t know the answer.
- How to handle difficult judges questions.
- The pageant interview mistakes you must avoid.
- Did you know you can score points for humor?
- Show the judges your personality (How to stand out from the crowd).
- Are you a smart Girl? Use it to your advantage.
- What to wear to your pageant interview
- Interview clothing errors to avoid.
- What is your body language telling the judges?
- [Read more…]
This section is devoted to tips for competing in the Swimsuit Competition in pageants. Topics include:
- What judges look for in the swimsuit competition
- How to pick a pageant swimsuit
- which styles and colors are best (meaning win the most!)
- the best pageant tips from swimsuit competition trainers
- how to build a winning body for the swimsuit competition
- how to correct figure flaws through exercise
- The best diet for swimsuit competition
- how to shape your Body to Win
- Secrets to Hide Your Figure Flaws
- the Winning Pageant Diet.
- [Read more…]
This section is devoted to pageant tips for competing in the Talent Competition in pageants. Pageant tips include:
- What judges look for in talent
- Do you have to be a singer to win?
- talent tips for singers, instrumental talents, and dancers
- how to handle a microphone like a pro
- how to perform like a professional
- how to manage talent competition disasters (yes, they happen!)
- Effective costuming for the talent competition
- The best music for the talent competition (meaning what wins the most!)
- the importance of showmanship
- why talent coaching is so important
- Best talent music for singers, dancers, musicians, classical talents, baton, acrobatics and gymnastics
- Can unusual talents win Miss America? Yes, and we name them!
- what to do when you have no talent.
- Great ideas for the talent competition!
- Read more…