Ask any titleholder what her secret to success is and more often than not she will tell you that she worked with a pageant coach. Most pageants have three to five areas that contestants will be judged in, evening gown, swimsuit, interview and some systems have a talent portion and or a fun fashion/modeling portion. Entering a pageant not only requires a financial investment, but a commitment to prepare. How you prepare is a huge factor in where you will be standing come coronation time.
When choosing a pageant coach you should first decide what area you feel you need help with. Most contestants would probably agree that the most common area they could all benefit from pageant coaching is with interview skills. The interview portion of a pageant is the time when the judges are looking at how well spoken you are, if you have a dynamic likeable personality, if you are able to think on your feet and if you are comfortable speaking with someone you just met. A title holder is expected to represent her pageant system, interact with the public and make public appearances which may include public speaking. Most systems are looking for the person who will be a good representative of their system and that is why interview is such an important portion to prepare for.
The evening gown portion of a pageant is the time when you can show your personal fashion style, your ability to choose a gown that fits you well and looks great on you. It’s also important to choose a style that is age appropriate and suited to the system you are competing in. Teen contestants should not choose gowns that are too mature in style, Miss contestants should not choose gowns that are too youthful and of course the little ones should not be wearing gowns more suited to teens and this is where a pageant coach can help, from helping you choose the right style and fit for your body type to choosing a color that is flattering to your skin tone. Same thing goes for swimsuit and fun fashion/modeling wear as well as an interview outfit. Beyond wardrobe choices you will need to decide what hairstyle and makeup is most flattering as well as what accessories and shoes you will need. Remember, makeup for stage is different than makeup for interview. Some systems allow you to have your hair and makeup done professionally, while others require you to be able to do your own hair and makeup. These are all things a pageant coach will be familiar with and if necessary can arrange for a professional makeup and hairstylist for you or to give you lessons so that you can do it yourself.
Once you have chosen your competition wardrobe, you will need to be comfortable wearing it. This means walking on stage in your evening gown and swimsuit in high heels, and being comfortable doing it. This is where poise, stage presence, and walking are important. A pageant coach will work with you to assist you with each of those areas. Preparing for this will build your confidence and confidence is a winning quality when it comes to pageants. Chicago, Illinois pageant coach, Jonathan Abernathy of Platinum Images Styling and Pageant Coaching says when it comes to walking on stage, you can practice no matter where you are or what you are doing. He says to “create the wind,” and “practice makes perfect so no matter where you are, the world is your runway.”
Whether you win the title or not, pageant coaching, much like pageants themselves, teach you life skills. The ability to interview well (think future job interview or college interview), public speaking, making good fashion choices for your body type, being comfortable in uncomfortable situations and most importantly self confidence are all skills you will need throughout your life so it’s an investment in your future and yourself as much as in a pageant so even if you don’t walk away with the title, you will walk away being the best you that you can be and we can ALL benefit from that!
Thought for the day…..there are a lot of misconceptions about pageants and the girls who compete in them. What I have learned from my pageant experiences are that the girls involved are for the most part, GREAT GIRLS. In some ways, it’s almost like a sorority and I have met some of my best friends at pageants. Pageants encourage contestants to volunteer and to become in involved in their communities and can help them earn scholarship money for college. At the end of the day, it takes a LOT of courage to be a contestant in a pageant. It’s not easy to get up on stage in front of a ton of people and walk in evening gowns or swimsuits with high heels, answer questions on stage or be interviewed by the judges. So the next time someone rolls their eyes when you say you are a pageant girl, just smile, turn around in your tippies and walk away. It takes a ton more courage to be a pageant girl than it does to be a pageant critic!
My next blog in the pageant series will feature some of my favorite pageant gown trends for 2016!