Miss Universe with judges.

Recently I saw a social media post from a pageant contestant. In the post, the contestant bitterly complained that the judges ‘just didn’t understand why she would be a great titleholder’. It was clearly all their fault. Based on her negative, blaming post, I can easily guess why the judges didn’t vote for her.

Don’t get me wrong: I totally understand the disappointment that comes with not winning. It’s crushing to invest so much time and energy in competing and not walk away with the crown. I’ve hugged contestants until they stopped crying and commiserated late into the night over a loss. When a contestant doesn’t win, everyone on the support team feels her pain.

But, if you go into your pageant expecting the judges to intuitively know why you should be the next titleholder, you’ll be disappointed. It’s not their job to be your mother. You can’t realistically expect them to know about all the things you’ve done at your many appearances. There’s no possible way they can read your mind and understand your impressive plans to promote the pageant. And they’re not there to be your biggest cheerleader.

The judges are there to evaluate your ability to be the titleholder based on the skills you display. They should ask tough questions about the topics the director indicated would be covered in your interview. They should expect you to behave appropriately if they run into you in the elevator. Lastly, they should score your onstage skills based on what they see, not based on your potential.

And it’s your job to be prepared to get top scores from the judges. It’s just that simple. If you want top scores, you must take time to prepare. Time and time again I’ve seen a contestant with less natural talent and ability out-train her competition. She beats the beautiful girl with the seriously expensive wardrobe. The girl who spent a ton of money on hair/makeup and headshots doesn’t stand a chance next to her. And she also beats the girl with the most ad sales and people’s choice votes.

I’ve seen it happen many times. The contestant who was ‘so going to win’ is a runner-up or doesn’t even make the Top 5. The contestant who isn’t quite as flashy and seems a bit quiet is over overlooked…by everyone but the judges. She seems to come out of nowhere to capture the crown.

The prepared contestant takes time to develop a pageant prep plan months before the competition. She honestly evaluates her strengths and weaknesses. Then, she finds resources to help her improve in her areas of weakness and continues building her strengths. When she slips and falls, she’s picks herself up, checks her sparkly shoes and gets right back in there. I can tell you from over 15 years as a pageant coach, with preparation there’s nothing she can’t do.

For your next pageant competition, make sure that prepared contestant is you. Make a prep plan and then work your plan. Soon the audience, other contestants, the judges, and your mother will be applauding as you capture the crown!

What’s your best pageant prep tip? Leave your tip in the reply box below.