Picture of pageant vampires

Have you ever felt excited about registering for your pageant and then within a couple of weeks you feel depressed and worried about your ability to compete? Preparing to compete can be fun, but it can also feel overwhelming and confusing. Pageant vampires can drain you of enthusiasm and energy and leave you feeling exhausted. Here are some do’s and don’ts to escape pageant vampires as you prepare to be your very best at the competition.

1. Steer Clear of Crash Diets. It’s important that you arrive at your pageant feeling relaxed, prepared, and focused. The #1 pageant vampire is an unrealistic crash diet. If you’re following a diet that completely eliminates carbohydrates your body won’t be able to create serotonin. And you need serotonin for the pageant because it’s the primary “feel good” chemical in your brain. Additionally, if your diet limits calories to less than 1000 calories per day, you’ll feel tired and on edge. And if that’s not bad enough you’ll also experience ‘fuzzy brain’. When you’re not taking in enough calories, it impacts memory recall (answering a question for which you have a prepared) as well as critical thinking (answering a current events question). Try to avoid the crash diet pageant vampires to get the top scores you need to win.

2. Avoid Last Minute Packing and Errands.  You should never, ever wait until the last minute to run final errands and pack. All your training and prep won’t mean a thing if you arrive exhausted because you haven’t slept in 24 hours. Start your errands and pre-packing two weeks prior to your departure. Allow one full day or afternoon/evening to run errands and do miscellaneous shopping. Make a list of your rehearsal, activities and rehearsal wardrobe needs. Double and triple check your list to make sure you haven’t forgotten something. Then pull together your outfits, complete with accessories, and set them aside to be packed. Your goal is to finish the bulk of our packing 7 days before you leave for your pageant. That way you can relax and pamper yourself in the final days before your competition.

3. Avoid Complainers. At any pageant, there are people who complain. Contestants complain about the schedule. Choreographers complain about contestants who don’t want to practice the opening number over and over. And staff complain about the contestants, who are the reason that the staff is even there. But winners don’t complain and they don’t listen to those who do. Complaining means you’re focused on things you can’t control. Instead of complaining, choose to respond wisely to situations that are less than ideal. When the schedule changes, show that you can easily adjust. When the choreographer wants to run through the opening number again, smile and take your place onstage. After all, during your year as the titleholder, schedules will change, appearances won’t be as expected, and people will make unrealistic requests. Showing you can handle a few bumps without complaint demonstrates that you’re ready to be a great titleholder.

4. Create Your Positivity Kit. You can’t expect to handle the stress of competition if you don’t practice staying calm under pressure. You probably feel some level of stress every day. Some situations might feel just a little difficult. Other situations may feel so overwhelming that you want to throw in the towel. The important thing is to create coping techniques to help you relax and refocus. Maybe you like to write in a journal. Or perhaps you do a little inspirational reading. Maybe listening to music helps you regroup. Just like you need to practice walking in heels, you need to practice how to effectively deal with stress. Once you’ve identified one or two systems that work for you, take your Positivity Kit with you for easy access during the competition. You’ll be surprised by how helpful this one little tip will be in maintaining a positive competition mindset.

5. Hang Out With Positive People. You’ve probably heard that saying that you’re the average of the 5 people you hang out with. It doesn’t just apply to everyday life – it applies to pageant competition too. At every pageant, there will be contestants who are excited to be there, hopeful about their chances, and supportive of others. This is absolutely the group you want to hang out with. It’s hard to maintain a positive attitude if you’re surrounded by negativity. Negativity is the black hole of competition. Contestants go there, but they never come back. Don’t befriend contestants who obsess about how they’re doing at the pageant and need constant reassurance. And contestants, pageant moms, and pageant fans who gossip about other contestants should be avoided like the plague. Once you’ve crossed over to the dark side, it’s virtually impossible to radiate your inner beauty and capture the crown.

So after you sneak a few Halloween treats and put your costume back in the closet, start thinking about your next pageant competition. Pageant competition should be fun and exciting. It should not be disappointing, like that icky piece of candy you got from the house with the creepy decorations. With a little planning and strategic thinking, you can escape these pageant vampires!