Avoid the Pageant Mistakes Smart Contestants Make
Recently I worked with a really smart contestant. She graduated from college with honors and held multiple leadership positions in a variety of organizations. Success comes easily to her. So, when she entered a pageant she assumed she’d be successful at that too. She didn’t practice her interview and only took one walking lesson. She decided want advice about avoiding pageant mistakes because she believed she was intellectually superior to her competition. And a high IQ automatically means you’ll win, right?
Wrong. The skills necessary to win a pageant have nothing to do with your IQ. To win you can’t rely on what you know, you must demonstrate what you can do. So, if you’re one of those smart contestants who thinks that you’ll just waltz in and capture the title, think again. You’ve got to avoid these pageant mistakes to make your dream come true:
1. Don’t Procrastinate Your Prep
When things come easily to you because you’re smart, it’s tempting to put off your pageant prep. You think, “Success comes easily to me. I excel at everything I do. Pageant prep isn’t that complicated. I’ve got plenty of time.” Umm…you don’t.
Just because you’re #1 in your class, captain of your sports team, and have gazillion hours of community service doesn’t mean that you’ve mastered the skills needed to get top pageant scores. Pageants require subtle skills that have less to do with achievement and more to do with knowing how to market yourself as the best choice for the title. The skills are so subtle that when you watch a pageant on TV, you think those abilities just come naturally to that contestant.
So don’t procrastinate just because you’re a quick learner and have a track record of accomplishments. Starting earlier than you think you need to is the best way to avoid making pageant mistakes.
2. Don’t Focus on Only One Area
You probably have one area of competition that comes easily to you. Maybe you’re a whiz and onstage modeling. Or maybe you really work your talent and connect with the audience and judges. So, since you get lots of positive feedback about that skill you tend to spend most of your prep time getting even better at that particular skill. That’s a strategic mistake.
You’ve got to train all areas of competition. Pageants are like a decathlon. The decathlon is a track and field competition that includes 10 different events. You’ve got to run, jump, hurl a javelin through the air, and demonstrate your best pole vaulting skills. Could you win if you just focused on your favorite event? Nope. You’ve got to spend the majority of time training the skills that don’t come easily to you. Yes, that means less prep time on skills you already do well and more prep time on the competition areas that aren’t easy for you.
3. Don’t Get Coaching
Sure, you’re smart. You watch YouTube videos to learn new skills. And sometimes you’re able to figure things out through trial and error. But if you want to achieve your full potential, you need someone to mentor you along the way. Does anyone win the Olympics without a coach? No. And if you’re shooting for a big title you’re going for a gold medal in pageantry. Winning contestants realize that they don’t know everything and that they can achieve more success with a coach.
4. Don’t Practice
I totally understand that you might be one of those lucky people who rise to the top without practicing or preparing. Maybe you graduated as class valedictorian without ever cracking a book. Or maybe you win every dance competition you enter without any extra classes or coaching. Kudos to you!
But it would be unwise to assume that winning a pageant will be as effortless. You may have heard the saying, “Training beats talent every time.” Well, it’s true. If you don’t practice your skills I can almost guarantee that you’ll be beaten by a slightly less talented contestant, in a less expensive evening gown, who trained her way to the crown. She made sure that she achieved her highest potential as a contestant and you should too. Practice really does make perfect.
5. Don’t Understand the Importance of Their Visual Brand
One of the things the judges will consider when scoring you is whether or not your appearance is a fit for the pageant’s visual brand.
What’s a visual brand? A pageant’s visual brand is their preferred titleholder “look”. Some pageants have an “All-American Girl” look. Other pageants go with a “Hollywood Red Carpet” look. And some pageants go with a “Glitz & Glam” look.
You will need to create a visual brand that is consistent with the visual brand of the pageant. I’m not talking about whether you are tall or short, blonde or brunette. A visual brand is much more than that. It’s the overall look of the pageant titleholders. Take a look at the last 5 titleholders to discover the visual brand of your pageant. Then decide how you can interpret that look in a way that is genuine to who you are as a person.
It’s tempting to think you’re such a smarty-pants that you can think your way to the title. But that’s a sure fire way to end up making pageant mistakes. You can’t out-think your competition, but you can out-train them.
You’re going to be FABulous!