Miss USA how to win a pageant

How To Win a Pageant With 3 Questions

Pageant contestants tend to be pretty smart. So, when you enter a pageant, you probably ask a lot of questions. What is the expected attire for my interview? Do I need to do my own hair and makeup, or can I bring my makeup artist? You ask questions because you want to be fully prepared to compete at your very best. It makes perfect sense.

But, if you’re not consistently placing or winning, you might not be asking the right questions. Instead of focusing on wardrobe requirements and other competition details you need to take a strategic approach. Here’s how to win a pageant by asking yourself 3 questions:

1. Am I Spending Too Much Time on How I Look?

It’s easy to get caught up in the glamour of pageant competition. After all, most winners look beautiful, right? But, winners know that they can’t just rely on their looks to capture the crown. Even if you’re competing in a traditional “beauty pageant,” they’re not just scoring you on your appearance. You’re primarily judged on your skill level.

Don’t believe me? Think about the last Miss USA pageant that you watched. USA describes itself as a traditional beauty pageant. Okay, so they should pick the most beautiful girl, right? How do the judges do that when easily 80% of the girls look absolutely stunning? They make the cut based on skills. Gone are the days when you can just be a pretty girl who smiles and wins.

And just so there’s no confusion, let’s talk about what those skills are: public speaking/interviewing skills, on-stage modeling, and the ability to control your emotions during the pageant competition.

I know it’s hard to “see” the skill level that elite contestants develop in order to win. It’s much easier to be distracted by the glitz and glam. But if you want to win, dedicate yourself to improving your pageant skills.

2. Are My Skills Top 5 Level Skills?

No one likes to admit they’re not perfect and pageant contestants are no exception.  But almost every single contestant underestimates the skill level required to win and overestimates their personal skill level. You will never win if you don’t understand this principle so let me repeat it: most contestants think they’re more skilled than they are, and they don’t accurately understand the skill level required to win.

In today’s pageants, judges are looking for a contestant who can do it all. You can’t just rely on one area of competition to capture the crown. So, look at all the areas of competition for your pageant. Which areas are your strongest? Which areas offer the biggest opportunity to increase your scores?

Wait…what? Okay, which areas are your strongest. You get that, right?

Then, which areas offer you the most significant opportunity to improve your scores? Notice that I didn’t say, “which is your weakest area of competition?” Why? Because I don’t want you to think of it that way. Something may feel like an area of weakness, but it’s actually your best opportunity to boost your overall score.

Statistically, it’s much easier to improve low or average scores than it is to improve higher scores. So, if you’re already consistently getting 9’s and 10’s in talent, there’s not a lot of room to add to your total score. But if you’re getting 7’s and 8’s in personal interview, you’ve got more room to improve your overall score.

If you improve your score by 1 point per judge you can pull yourself up into the Top 10 or Top 5. Who knows, you might even win by just one point. It happens all the time.

3. Am I Developing the Mental Toughness Needed to Win?

A positive competition mindset is a hallmark of an elite contestant. In sports, it’s referred to as mental toughness. You need mental toughness when you’re at the pageant, and your emotions start to spiral out of control. Perhaps you’re worried that another contestant has a better platform. Or, you’re concerned that another contestant has a better wardrobe.

At Miss USA and Miss America, I’ve seen talented, intelligent, and qualified state titleholders emotionally check out before Prelims even begin. They’re so overwhelmed by the stress of rehearsals and living with their competition 24/7 that they lose their focus. If you’re not in control of your competition mindset during the entire pageant, you’re not going to get a positive outcome.

So, work on your mental toughness on a daily basis. Practice maintaining a positive attitude when something goes wrong during your day. Don’t fly off the handle when you read an unflattering comment about you on social media. Don’t panic when you learn that one of the contestants did three appearances in one weekend. By practicing your mental toughness on a daily basis, you’ll be ready to perform at your best during the stress of competition.

Great contestants become great titleholders. That means that to achieve your goal of becoming a great titleholder, you’ve got to become a great contestant first. And great contestants ask smart questions. Ask yourself these three questions, and you’ll have a better shot at winning a pageant.

You’re going to be FABulous!