Preparing and Practicing
1Watch interviews from past pageants. It’s hard to be confident when you don’t know what to expect from the interviewing process. One of the best ways to prepare yourself is to watch the pageant interview section from past years. There are many recordings of major beauty pageants on online sites like Youtube or pageant websites.
- You can also try to get in touch with the organizers of the pageant if you are competing in a small or local pageant and see if they can connect with recordings.
- If you can’t find footage from your particular pageant, watch interviews from similar pageants to see the kinds of questions that are posed to the contestants.
2Talk to former contestants. No one knows what the interview process is like better than people who have already been through it. Get in touch with former contestants either through contacts you may have or by connecting through email or social media. Ask them what interviewing was like for them and request advice.
- Ask the former contestant if there was anything about the interview that they didn’t expect, and ask them what goes on behind the scenes.
- Ask the contestant if they were asked any challenging questions, and what advice they would give you for answering more difficult questions.
3Find out the interview procedure for your pageant. Every pageant does the interviewing process slightly differently. Make sure that you understand exactly how the pageant you are competing in does the interview.
- Make sure you know the length of the interview, as well as the number of questions usually asked.
- Also know what time the interview is and how the interviewing process fits in with the rest of the day.
- Finally, make sure you understand the judging system of the interview. Many beauty pageants have a panel of judges that assess your answers based on multiple criteria. See if there is a copy of a rubric or scorecard that judges will use that you can view to prepare for the interview.
4Review your paperwork. Many pageants require their contestants to submit paperwork to compete in the pageant. The paperwork is often the first resource that judges turn to when formulating questions for individual contestants. The judges draw information from the paperwork and ask questions relating to what the contestant wrote about themselves.
- Because paperwork is often used as a tool for formulating questions, it’s good to review what you wrote. This can give you a good idea of what questions you may be asked to answer.
- For instance, if you wrote that you love working with animals in your bio, you may be asked in your interview what laws or regulations you think there should be in place to stop cruelty to animals.
- If you wrote that you love painting, you might be asked a question about why the arts are important to society.
5Get up to speed on current events. Beauty pageants aren’t all glitz and glamor: contestants have to prove that they are up to date and knowledgeable about politics and current events. Follow all the major stories in the news, both nationally and internationally, as well as major issues of the past decade. Doing so will make you feel more prepared and confident as you head into the interview.
- Make sure you know your opinion on controversial subjects like gun control and national security.
- Also be informed about local issues and politicians, especially if you are competing in a local pageant.
6Know your brand. Think about what differentiates you from your competition. Decide what parts of your personality and talent you want to emphasize. Then think about how you can incorporate these points into answers to common pageant questions.
- For instance, maybe you are a sporty girl who was a tomboy growing up. Emphasize how sports helped you grow as a person, and aim to talk about how critical sports and other extracurriculars are in school systems.
7Hire a coach. Many beauty contestants hire a coach to prepare them for the pageant interview. In large competitions like Miss America, practically all contestants have a coach. Even if you’re competing in a small or local contest, a coach can be an invaluable resource that can be a source of comfort.
8Practice. Practice your answers to common interview questions. Hold mock interviews with your coach or with a trusted mentor. Even though it’s only practice, speak and hold yourself as you would for the real interview. Practicing will make the real interview feel more familiar and less scary.
- Record yourself answering mock interview questions, then review the tapes. With each practice round you do, try to improve on aspects of your performance.
Acing the Interview
Have confident body language. Positive body language not only makes you look confident; it can also help you to feel more at ease. Stand up straight, keep your chin up and push your shoulders back. Even as you step into the spotlight, if you hold yourself with confidence you will feel the part too.
- If you are sitting during the interview, sit up straight in your chair or even lean slightly forward. If you lean back, you will look too casual.
2Smile. Even if you’re nervous, remember to smile during your interview. When you first walk into the room, smile and make eye contact with each of the judges. Like your body language, a smile can actually make you feel happier and more confident.
3Give your answer while looking at the judges. When answering questions, make eye contact with the person who asked you the question and talk to him or her. This will make it feel more like you are having a conversation than giving a speech, and should make you feel more comfortable. The judge may even respond by nodding or smiling as you are talking, which are encouraging gestures that will help you feel less nervous.
- It will also make you look more personable and natural if you speak to the judges.
4Be yourself. Don’t put pressure on yourself by trying to act like someone you’re not. Being authentic and real will make you more memorable than saying the things that you think the judges want to hear. Still, try to show yourself in the best light, but do so in a way that stays true to yourself.
- For instance, if you are asked what your favorite book is but you’re not a big reader, give an answer that allows you to segue into a topic that interests you more. For instance, you could say, “I love reading classic plays like A Streetcar Named Desire because theater is a passion of mine. I see plays around my city whenever I can, and I especially like musical theater.”
5Think of the interview as a chance to share yourself. You can gain a lot of confidence by shifting the way that you think of the interview. Instead of think of it as an interrogation or a way to judge you, think of the interview as a way for the judges and audience to learn more about you.
6Don’t feel like you have to know all the answers. One of the most common fear about interviews is being asked something that you don’t know the answer to. Remember that if you are asked your opinion about a subject you don’t know very much about, it isn’t the end of the world. You can still form a reply that leaves the judges impressed, as long as your answer shows a level of intelligence and thought.
- For instance, if the judges ask you for your opinion on a conflict or war you don’t know that much about, talk about it in a general sense by saying something like, “That’s a good question. This is a topic I’m still researching and learning about, and it’s upsetting to hear about the devastation that this conflict is inflicting on this part of the world. All I can hope for is that each side of the conflict can put aside their differences and compromise with each other to stop the cycle of violence.”
7Don’t dwell on the last question. Even you feel like you botched a question, don’t let it get to you. Move on mentally and give your whole attention to the question at hand. If you keep thinking about how you messed up or could have done better, the rest of your performance will suffer.
- If you mentally move on and give great answers to the rest of your questions, it’s likely that no one will even remember the question you messed up.
8Keep your answers short and sweet. The longest answer isn’t necessarily the best answer. The fact that a few succinct sentences are enough will help you to keep focus and stay calm throughout your interview.
1Choose the right outfit. Dressing to the T can give you an enormous confidence boost. Pick an outfit that you know you look good in and that is also comfortable. In general, wear an outfit that is fashionable but isn’t overly glamorous. For instance, wear a tailored blouse and a skirt instead of a low-cut evening dress. If in doubt, dress as though you are going to a job interview.
- Don’t wear something like a dress with straps that fall down, or extra high heels that you’re not comfortable walking in. You don’t need the anxiety of having a potential wardrobe mishap on top of your nerves about the pageant.
- Make sure that your hair and makeup is also foul proof. Don’t use eyeliner that smears or put your hair up in a style that isn’t secure.
2Get there on time. Nothing can make your heart race like being late to something important. Even if you are feeling fine about the interview, if you get there late you may feel flustered and anxious, which will affect your performance and drain your confidence. Make sure to give yourself enough time to get to the interview, and even try to arrive a little early.
3Try to relax. Before something nerve wracking like an interview, it’s common for your mind to race out of control. Once you arrive and are waiting to go on stage, do something calming like listening to music or doing meditative exercises.
- Decide what is most relaxing for you. Some prefer to keep to themselves when nervous, while others like the distraction of talking to others.
4Take deep breaths. In the few minutes before the interview, try to relax. Take deep, slow breaths, thinking about the fact that you are thoroughly prepared for the interview and have done everything you can.
- You can also try thinking positive and empowering thoughts. Examples of these are: “This interview is going to go well” and “I am an impressive contestant.”
5Don’t compare yourself to the competition. Right before your interview, you may hear other contestants interviewing and answering questions. Don’t psych yourself out by comparing yourself to them or questioning your interviewing strategy based on their answers. Stay focused on your plan and try to keep a clear head.
- Remember that all contestants are usually asked different questions, so don’t obsess about how you would answer one of their questions.
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