6 Words That Shouldn’t Describe You
One of the most common questions in pageantry is “What three words best describe you?” I’m always shocked and then horrified when this seemingly simple question dupes a smart contestant. They typically respond with words that family or friends have used to describe them and don’t think through the impact of those words. You can be in the running for the crown and tank yourself with just this answer. Since I never want that to happen to you, here are 6 Words That Shouldn’t Describe You.
Contestants who work hard often describe themselves as a “perfectionist” as a badge of honor. You’re trying to let the judges know that you always do your best. But what the judges hear is that you refuse to accept anything less than perfection.
And if you refuse to accept anything that’s not perfect they’re concerned you might be a pageant diva who seems nice in the interview but is difficult behind the scenes.
So, skip “perfectionist” and go with “hard worker” instead. You’ll send the right message without the negative connotations.
2. Control Freak
Sometimes you refer to yourself as a control freak when you’re talking about how hard you worked to prepare for the talent or fitness competition. The judge asks, “How did you prepare for the talent competition” and you say, “I practiced 5 hours a day because I’m a control freak.” So cute – not.
So, let’s talk about the difference between a perfectionist and a control freak. A perfectionist is someone who pushes themselves to be perfect. A control freak is someone with an obsessive need to control themselves and others.
When you refer to yourself as a control freak, you give the impression that you’re going to be bossing around everyone who comes in contact with you. This does not paint a pretty picture of you as the next titleholder and I’m sure it’s not the real you.
OCD is an acronym that you might use to describe something that you want to be “just so.” The judge might ask if you have any unusual hobbies and you might say, “I love to spend Sunday afternoons arranging my closet because I’m OCD about having my outfits perfectly organized.” Ha, ha, right?
But Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a serious mental illness. You wouldn’t refer to yourself as “mentally retarded” during your interview, would you? (Note: you should never use the r-word.) Referring to yourself as “OCD” is not appropriate either unless you struggle with the disorder. Our society has developed a better understanding of the struggles associated with mental illness, and you don’t want to give the judges the impression that you think mental health is a laughing matter.
Okay, let’s be clear here: all pageant contestants are competitive. If you weren’t competitive, you wouldn’t have entered the pageant. But, some contestants are more competitive than others. You might be the kind of contestant that works hard to achieve your own personal best. Or, you might be the kind of contestant that will do anything to win.
Unfortunately, when you use the word “competitive,” the judges assume that you’re the do-anything-to-win type. They decide you must be super competitive otherwise you wouldn’t list it as one of your defining qualities.
You’re probably trying to tell the judges that you’re a hard-worker, determined, motivated, or dedicated. Stick to those adjectives and skip the I’m-a-psycho-pageant-girl description.
Typically, when you describe yourself as “loud,” you’re trying to tell the judges that you find joy in everything you do and that you’re not afraid to stand out in a crowd. Unfortunately, what you’re really telling the judges is that you only like fun, frivolous things and that you like to be the center of attention 24/7. I’m absolutely certain that’s not you.
Instead of “loud” use words like “joyful,” “positive,” or “cheerful.” Those words definitely sound more like you.
6. Talkative/Like to Talk
Okay, this one is never a good choice. I bet if your employer or teacher described you as talkative or said that you like to talk, you wouldn’t take it as a compliment. They’d be saying that you dominate any conversation and don’t have the sense to know when to stop talking. So why are you describing yourself this way in pageant competition?
Instead of “talkative” describe yourself as “friendly,” “outgoing,” or a “good communicator.” I would probably describe you as delightful, but that’s just me.
Remember, the judges are analyzing every word you use. Whether it’s a word on your contestant bio or words you use during your personal or onstage interview. Words can mean different things to different people, so it’s best to use words that will show you in your best light.
Because everyone shines in their best light and you will too!