Author’s Note: I will use the terms “pageant” and “scholarship competition” interchangeably to reflect the Miss America organization rebrand.
After a year of talking myself into it then another year of healing because I broke my ankle on the way to a previous year’s orientation, I finally competed in my first scholarship competition.
It’s A LONG Day
I’m gonna give it to you straight. Your day might begin at 4 or 5 a.m. It’s going to be a long day that includes getting your makeup done either in part or in full, rehearsals all morning, interviews intersecting your rehearsal, then prepping for the competition.
Come prepared. I did my hair and a lot of my makeup at home so I had time to compose myself at the venue before the day. If it’s your thing, it never hurts to bring energy drinks or coffee to the venue (just be mindful of others and don’t spill it on anyone’s stuff.)
Bring snacks or your breakfast, too. Fuel yourself or you won’t be able to be your best self.
Own The Stage
That stage is yours every time you set foot on it. Whether you’re sharing the stage during the opening number or ending the night with crowning and awards, the stage belongs to you. You need to rock the stage and command attention from the audience and impress the judges.
Don’t be afraid of the audience or the stage. Be ready for that moment you’re called onstage. Head up, shoulders back with everything you do.
Your talent is a perfect time to dominate the stage presence. Your onstage question is the perfect time to command the audiences’ attention. Every other time, be confident in yourself when you set foot on the stage and make eye contact with the judges.
Interview Is Not The Only Important Thing
In every pageant I’ve competed in, I always thought interview was the most important part of the competition. I devoted the most energy to practicing answering questions and perfecting how I’d walk in, sit and exit the interview room.
Though interview is one of the most important parts of competition because it’s the judges first impression of you, it’s not the sole crucial part of competition. In the Miss America organization system, interview and talent are equally both important parts of the competition, accounting for 35% of your total score. Evening wear and onstage question account for 15%.
This doesn’t mean you should neglect preparing for the interview in your pursuit of the crown, it just means that you should focus equally on the other parts of the competition, too. You won’t solely win with interview.
Don’t Think “Competition”
Yes, this is a pageant and you need to have some level of competitiveness coming in to the day, but don’t solely enter a pageant system because you want to win.
Winning is great, but it will mean nothing if that’s all you take from it.
What is beautiful about the Miss America system, especially in just the first competition, is that you will make so many friends and have such a fun time in the competition.
Years ago, in a town fundraiser pageant, I went into it solely thinking “competition” and “go out there and win.” This was a huge mistake. I lost sight of the fun of that day and ultimately felt hurt when I didn’t win. The judges can pick a different girl on any given day to win. It’s a little luck and a lot of effort.
This is why you need to come in to a pageant with the intention of having fun, making friends and learning about becoming your best self.
If you’re thinking of competing in a pageant or scholarship competition, you absolutely should. Make sure you check the rules of the competition you’re competing in to make sure you
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