Carly Kidner Ohio Quarter Horse Congress queen after pageant onstage interview.Carly Kidner, Miss Rodeo Ohio, always delivers great answers to her pageant onstage interview questions!

It happens every weekend; contestants obsess about answering their pageant onstage interview question. But you don’t need to worry. Just follow these tips to avoid a meltdown during your pageant onstage interview!

1. Slow down your heart rate and relax. The excitement of hearing your name called for the Top 5 is almost always overwhelming. But, you still have to focus and answer that last pageant onstage interview question. Take deep, controlled breaths and repeat to yourself (in your head, not out loud) “relax, breathe, slow down.” Say it over and over again while the other contestants are answering their questions and you’re waiting for your turn. This will help you focus, slow down your heart rate, control your breathing. Now you’re in the right mindset to deliver a killer answer to your final pageant interview question!

2. Make sure you understand the question. Many contestants are so nervous about the onstage question that they don’t listen closely to their question. Be sure you understand what the question is about. And make sure you heard both the beginning and ending of the question. Why? Because the ending can completely change the nature of a question. If you don’t understand or missed part of the question, flash your best beauty queen smile and politely ask the emcee to repeat the question. Understanding the question can often be the key to getting a top score for your onstage interview.

3. Listen for clues during the question and think it through. No matter how much you prepare, occasionally you will be asked about a topic that you didn’t study. If you listen carefully to the question, you can glean enough information to deliver an answer that makes it sound like you’re totally familiar with that topic. 

For example, if your question is, “A recent report shows that in 40 percent of American families with children women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?”  Even if you knew nothing about this subject, if you listen for clues you will notice that the question is about women being the primary wage earners in families, yet they still are still paid less than men doing the same job. Obviously, this sounds unfair, so you can easily develop an answer based only on the information in the question. You might way, “While women have had some success in the workforce, I think we can all agree that there are still some glass ceilings. There is still a wage gap in compensation for men and women on the job. I think we have made some great progress, but there is still progress to be made. That’s why there are programs like the mention the name of your pageant here whose goal is to mentor and empower women in their career achievement.”

So when you are ready for your onstage question, remember these three tips to deliver a winning answer!