Pauline Long’s pageant tips: Why it’s important to aim at being Miss Congeniality
19th May 2009: As founder of Mr and Miss East Africa UK beauty pageants I have been in the industry for only a mere small fraction of a decade but it feels like forever.
Each year as I unveil different judges on the panel I tend to develop an unlikely habit of twiddling my thumbs and biting my nails seconds before the winner is announced. Will it be the right person? Will she posses the right attitude, what about the inner beauty? The truth is half the time; I wanted to expel all my judges at the 11th hour for two reasons; first for putting me through this terrible ordeal and second for judging beauty based on meeting the girls on the night in question.
However, after sitting on the panel to judge some beauty pageants and witnessing the crowning of several others I have come to a conclusion that anyone can become a beauty queen or king; in fact the only barrier between you and the crown is your attitude. Well, if you are planning to enter a beauty pageant or you are currently in one then consider this your lucky moment as I share with you some vital tips on how to be a successful contestant.
Pauline Long’s pageant tips:
1. It’s not your talent or your intelligence that will win you the crown but your stage presence; enter a pageant with a victorious attitude.
2. Beauty shines through in your smile, always smile, smile, smile and never get tired of smiling.
3. The judges job is to scan you, so it’s only fair for you to scan them back, don’t be shy.
4. Never give up at your first failure to win a crown, be a winner not a quitter and try another pageant you might be lucky.
5. Do not compare yourself to other contestants as we are all special in different ways; the only person being judged is you.
6. Never rehearse your speech, be real and let it flow from the heart. A rehearsed speech will get your ideas and speech muddled up hence you end up looking and feeling fake.
7. You don’t always have to have straight A’s, just find that unique skill and quality that will make you stand out from the crowd. Apply yourself diligently and you’ll find you have all it takes to scoop the crown.
8. If you want to be liked by the judges you must like yourself first, be comfortable in your skin, colour, weight and other physical features. I have met people who want to enter pageants but feel they need to loose weight first or they need to grow their hair long, my advice is be happy with how you look and find a suitable pageant.
9. Know and say exactly why you have entered the pageant and not what you think the judges want to hear.
10. There is nothing ugly like an unnatural smile, always think of something funny that will bring out your natural smile.
11. Treat your interview with the judges like a job interview but remember the interview is not an interrogation; the judges just want to get to know you better.
12. Practice makes perfect, so practice your walk and standing posture regularly.
13. Do not be afraid or feel intimidated to seek help and guidance from a contestant who is better than you at walking and posture.
14. While on stage pretend that you have already won the crown and you will be amazed how this will boost your confidence.
15. Most Beauty pageants support a cause, are you really prepared to join in and support the pageant’s cause? If so, then do your research and equip yourself with relevant information.
16. Be prepared to talk the talk and walk the walk, many times I have heard contestants saying how they will do absolutely anything to support a cause but never really implement it. Mark my words, judges are tired of empty talk so be real and don’t promise what you can’t deliver.
17. Beauty pageants are about elegance; master your elegant and slow walk for the evening gown.
18. Practice on your high heels everywhere whether you are going to the corner shop or just a room next door in your home.
19. Have enough sleep and plenty of rest and avoid late night parties the night before the contest as bugs under your eyes will not do justice to your face.
20. Have some moral support in form of a relative or a best friend back stage, pour out your frustrations to this person if things are going wrong on your part on the contest day and whatever happens DO NOT extend your frustrations to the pageant team members and contestants as this will only make you look ungraceful, ungrateful and ugly. You don’t want to be responsible for creating a tense mood that will affect everyone, do you? Keep your calm at all times especially hours before the pageant.
21. You never know what the judges will ask you, so be in tune with the current affairs and what is going on in the world around you.
22. Watch video clips of previous pageants in order to gain tips.
23. Whatever you do have a lot of FUN, make it fun, enjoy every moment of the pageant experience from day one to rehearsal sessions to the contest day, after all you have got nothing to lose. JUST HAVE FUN.
24. Judges don’t care and don’t want to know how much you have spent on your outfit, accessories, shoes etc....so don’t go blowing all your money at Harrods in the hope of winning. Always shop around for bargains.
25. Go straight to the point and avoid being irrelevant and vague when asked a question by the judge.
26. Remember the judges and the audience are human beings just like you so address them the same way you would address a friend in full confidence.
27. Fake tans, fake eyelashes, wigs, weaves and general make up are all personal choices but whatever you do, make sure you work with a professional to help you perfect in your look. Appearing on stage looking like spitting image of a clown will not fetch you the crown let alone smiles from the audience.
28. Before the winner is announced, everyone is a winner so have the winning spirit throughout the contest as the crown may just land on your head any minute.
29. Every contestant in the pageant is in it to win it and that includes you but remember winning is not everything. Always aim at being MISS CONGENIALITY, genuinely pleasant and humble to everyone including the contestants, the team back stage, the organisers, the media, the photographers, and everyone involved. This title will take you places and will open more doors for you than the actual winner of the pageant.
30. Be victorious, be smart and have something unique to offer and most importantly be PASSIONATE about wanting to win the crown, it is the first path to success.
By Pauline Long