As you begin competing in pageants on your quest for the crown, keep in mind that winning pageants is a process. First you dream. Then you work to make it happen.
Take the case of Kaye Lani Rae Rafko, Miss America 1988, a registered nurse and the daughter of a used auto parts dealer. “I was just the girl next door,” she says, “just like everyone dreams about …. I wanted people to realize that it can happen to anyone-and I am an example that it does happen to anyone.”
Jill St. Pierre, a high school classmate of Kaye Lani, had a unique vantage point to observe that transformation. As the reigning Miss Monroe County, Jill crowned a seventeen-year-old Kaye Lani as her successor. It was Rafko’s first pageant and the victory that launched her six-year journey to the national runway.
After watching Kaye Lani transform herself from a shy teenager into a national titleholder, Jill is convinced that “the girl who wins is just like you or I – just a girl next door. But with all the polish, the makeup, the hair, the gowns, the lights, and the adrenaline that night, that girl becomes Cinderella.”
“It’s intimidating to sit back as a little girl or teenager and watch that girl win, but it’s important that girls realize that no matter how gorgeous, talented, and smart the girl who wins that night may appear, she is just like them. Yes, she has all these wonderful qualities – but so do they. They just need to be developed.”
That process of development occurs when an entrant allows her childhood fantasy to evolve into an adult goal and backs it up with a sensible strategy to make that goal reality. It is simply a step-by-step, year-by-year growth process. The girls who eventually win aren’t those who merely fantasize about walking the runway. They are the gutsy competitors who tirelessly work to earn the right to walk the runway. “With determination and hard work I was able to achieve goals and go much farther than I could have possibly imagined and I was crowned Miss America,” says Rafko. “Nothing was handed to me on a silver platter. I worked hard at everything I have ever achieved.”
That step-by-step growth process that leads to the throne begins at one of thousands of entry-level contests held each year. “At the local level you receive one coat of polish,” explains Kylene Barker, Miss America 1979. “If you win and go on to the state level, you receive another coat of polish. Then if you win and go to the national level, you receive another coat of polish. But at each level, even if you don’t happen to walk away with that crown, you really gain so much.”
Whether you are a newcomer or an experienced contestant, achieving your goals comes down to this: Getting started in pageants means developing yourself step-by-step, and entering again and again and again in pursuit of your dream. “Down South we put contestants on a ‘four-year plan,”’ observes Kathleen Munson. “Enter the first year to see if it’s an experience you enjoy. Enter the second year with the idea of making the top ten. Enter the third year with the idea of making the top five. Enter the fourth year with the expectation of winning the pageant and going on to do well at the nationals. Don’t plan to enter a pageant the first year and win the national title,” she says. “You’ve got to know what you need to work toward.”
As you start your quest for the crown, keep in mind that becoming a pageant winner is a process. First you dream. Then you work to make it happen. It’s time get started in pageants, ladies!
From Obscure to Famous…Overnight
One such modern-day pageant Cinderella story occurred in 1992 at the Miss America Pageant, to one of the contestants that year, Leanza Cornett – just another attractive college student with big dreams – perhaps like you. During the national judges’ interviews Leanza was great – confident, articulate, pretty, and perfectly groomed.
But, frankly, judges later said they couldn’t have predicted at that moment that she would walk away with the crown. By the conclusion of the fifty interviews, the panel was still uncertain who would emerge as their winner. Yet, by the end of a week of onstage competitions, Cornett had performed so superbly that, when the points were tabulated she had earned the national crown.
In the months that followed, Leanza became such a successful titleholder that she was offered a starring role on Broadway and a coveted four-year co-hosting contract with “Entertainment Tonight.” (She passed on Broadway and signed with “E.T.”). Leanza’s dream vaulted her from obscurity to a glamorous, high-visibility position other people work a lifetime to achieve. Leanza not only made her dream a reality. She surpassed it.
Leanza’s example illustrates that a winner makes herself a winner, whether or not those around her realize that she has what it takes to achieve such success. The crown…any crown…is earned by those young women who dare to believe in themselves and to invest in their dreams.
If you decide to invest in your dreams by pursuing the crown, undertake that challenge with the commitment to excellence expected of an aspiring champion.
As one Miss USA who spoke anonymously put it: “Realize that it’s a competition. I’ve never heard of an athlete who is going to the Olympics say that they’re going there to have fun. They’re going there to win the gold medal! If you can enjoy yourself and win the gold medal at the same time, that’s great-but it’s still a competition. And pageants are a competition.”
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…