Are you feeling somewhat anxious about competing in an upcoming pageant? You're not alone! It's relatively common to get the pre-competition jitters, whether you are a seasoned veteran or a newcomer in the industry.
How you handle that nervousness can be a determinant of your success. I've always loved the quote pressure builds diamonds. Still, preparing is the secret sauce for easing the nerves and performing well, which is why I've compiled a list of best practices to consider before pageant weekend.
1. Outline Phases of Competition and Prepare
Each pageant is different, so it's essential to understand the title you are working towards and the phases of the competition. A good example is that Miss USA includes interviews, swimsuits, evening gown, and onstage questions (typically a tiebreaker). Miss America consists of a completely different set of judged events, including talent. After solidifying the phases of competition, work toward preparing for each.
There are plenty of great coaches in the industry. Do some research and select someone you think works well with your personality. Coaches to consider are interview (they also help with onstage questions), fitness, social media, and walking coaches.
2. Nail Down Your Wardrobe
Pageant weekend is already stressful enough, and not knowing what you're going to wear throughout the weekend can cause more of a headache than necessary. First and foremost, lock in your outfitting for the interview, opening number, swimsuit, and evening gown since those are critical to the competition. Next, focus on other events that you'll be attending like, orientation, registration, rehearsals, etc. In most cases, an interview coach will help narrow down all of these options to help select what looks and resonates best with your packaging.
3. Build Your Main Points
There is a large quality of other ladies vying for the title, which means getting clear on what you want to discuss with the judges will set you apart from someone that spends their 90-second interview rambling about why their favorite color is pink. Do a self-evaluation of all the things that make you compelling and why you deserve to represent the title. Everyone is there for the same reason, so you need to get clear with your intentions and goals. Here are a few things to answer yourself honestly - What are you most passionate about? If you had an hour to talk to a class about any topic, what would it be and why? Is there a moment in your life that lead you to the path you're on today? Keep in mind that being honest with each question is vital; not everyone will spend their days in a food kitchen, and that's okay. Authenticity resinates more than someone trying to gain likability.
4. Do Your Research
Continually study current events and stay on top of the news. Onstage questions typically surround current event topics; therefore, educating yourself will help you show up prepared. Not only should you gain the knowledge, but ask yourself what your opinions are on the issue. Knowing how you feel about something will help you articulate your stance when facing the onstage question.
While the onstage question can be a high anxiety point of the process, know that everyone feels the same way. We are all only human, and taking the question one step at a time can help you communicate to the best of your ability.
5. Be Yourself
As cliche as it sounds, be true to yourself. It radiates confidence if you stand firm in who you are and what you believe. The girls who win often don't need the title; the title needs them.