3 Problems That Are Killing Your Pageant Interview

Don’t you hate it when you think you nailed your pageant interview, but the scores show that the judges disagree? You end up feeling seriously frustrated. Then, to make things worse, you get confusing feedback about your interview.

So, what’s a girl to do? No worries. Here are 3 Problems That Are Killing Your Pageant Interview and what you can do to fix them.

1. Freeze

When you walk into the interview room, you feel confident and ready to go. The judges ask a few introductory questions, and all is going well. Then, it happens. You get asked a question that you know you have an answer for, but for some reason, you freeze. You stand there for a few seconds of silence and finally put together a few sentences. Your heart sinks.

Has this ever happened to you? If it has, it’s a symptom that you either haven’t prepared enough content or that you’re the kind of person who likes to feel 120% confident with your content.

If you haven’t prepared enough content the fix for that is simple. You need to practice a wider variety of content in your prep, or you need to practice a wider variety of questions on a given topic during your prep.

If you’ve prepared content – you know you can answer, but still freeze – that calls for a different solution. If you tend to freeze – or maybe you’re just pausing for a few seconds before you begin your answer – you need to overtrain your content. You need to practice so much that you feel you could answer questions in your sleep.

Note: this only applies if you tend to freeze or have long pauses before you begin your answer. If this is not you, don’t overtrain. Don’t try to use a solution that doesn’t address your particular interview challenge.

2. Over Rehearsed

This is often the most frustrating feedback that you can receive as a contestant. You know you’re supposed to practice your interview, so you do. And then after your interview, you don’t win the crown, and the feedback is that you sounded over-rehearsed.

When you get this feedback, it’s important to note the feedback was that you sounded over-rehearsed. That means you have a delivery problem. You’re delivering your answers in a way that sounds stiff and inauthentic.

There are two reasons why you might sound over-rehearsed: 1) You’re pushing too much energy, or 2) your delivery is flat. These are both super common problems, especially if you’ve been competing for a while. The trick to scoring with answers that you’ve practiced over and over, is to deliver the answer as if you’re saying it for the first time.

If you’re pushing too much energy, you’ve hyped up your pace, volume and vocal tone so that you sound like you’re super duper excited. You don’t sound genuine. Speak more slowly, take your volume down a notch and speak as though you’re talking to someone in a normal conversation. Your goal here is a conversational interview style.

If your delivery is flat, that means that you don’t have the normal vocal inflections that are a natural part of anyone’s speaking pattern. You deliver your answer speaking each word at the exact same pace, with no vocal inflection. Put on your actress hat, and practice making your answer sound like a conversation with your best friend. Just pretend you’re delivering your line in your next Academy award-winning role.

5. Not Relatable

Every pageant under the sun says that they want a titleholder who is relatable. That’s perfectly understandable. They want a titleholder that people will enjoy meeting, and young women will look to as a role model. Getting feedback that you’re unrelatable is the kiss of death.

Of course, just because you get that feedback doesn’t mean that you are unrelatable. It means you come across as unrelatable. Those are two completely different things.

If you’re overly assertive, try to “take control” in the interview room or act like everything is easy for you and that you’ve never failed at anything, you’re going to get this feedback. The days of the hard sell, I’m absolutely-perfect-in-every-way interview are over.

Pageants want titleholders that project a real, achievable image. When young women meet you, they should think, “Wow. She’s a lot like me. I could enter this pageant and learn to be more like her,” instead of “OMG. She’s accomplished so much and is so perfect. I could never be like her.” If you are a high energy contestant who Feels Strongly that you Are The Perfect Choice, you’re going to need to dial it back a bit and focus on being more personable.

Remember, sometimes there’s a big difference between what you say, how you say it, and what the judges hear. To get top scores, you’ve got to think about your interview from the judge’s perspective, not yours.  So, take a deep breath and fix the problems that are holding you back. You can do it!