April 18, 2018

Competition Preparation Tips

Preparing for a pageant is a crazy process. There are tears and laughs and moments of throwing your hands in the air and moments of pure happiness as you finally perfect that note, or spin, or that toss. This blog post is all about my tips and tricks for preparing for a pageant, and what I did to prepare for local, state, and national competitions.

Firstly, I’d like to discuss interview and onstage question. The interview portion of the competition for teens is eight minutes long, with questions ranging from the contestants’ favorite color to her passion for her platform to President Donald Trump’s tweet from three hours ago. The most important thing in interview is for the contestants to be herself and nobody else. However, the contestant should be able to present herself and her views in a professional manner. For me, I was always scared for political questions because my viewpoints are definitely on the extremist side of things for some topics. As I interviewed more and more, political questions soon became my favorite type of question, because I learned I can rock my viewpoints confidently, as long as I communicate them in a professional and calm manner. For questions regarding a contestants’ platform, this is a great opportunity for her to show her passion and drive for the cause. Each platform is unique and special to each girl, so the judges want to know why you chose this topic to promote and what you will do in order to promote this platform. If you haven’t done this already, my biggest tip is to plan for your platform as if you are Miss America or Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. What organizations can you work with to help promote your cause even more? What goals do you have for this platform? If you want to speak to a school in every county in the state about your platform, express that in your interview. Sure, it’s just a want right now, but that want can become a reality thanks to the Miss America Organization. There is nothing that is too big of a dream.

Next, I’d like to discuss talent. This is a difficult one to generalize for all girls to take a lesson from, but I know the most important thing is entertainment. I’m going to be completely honest, as a violinist, if another classical violinist had watched my competition performance they probably would have cried. The advantage of a judge’s panel means that most likely very few of the judges are professionals in your talent. Rather, they look for entertainment. Technique is important in pageantry, yes, but not the most important. When it came to my violin performance, I made sure that I sounded good quality wise, because that is still important, but I made sure to perfect my movements, from the kicks and stomps to the eyebrow raises and smiles. This I know is for sure about an instrumentalist, but I can’t say for sure the same for dancers and singers about technique. But just know that entertainment comes first, because that is what we as contestants do.

Now we move to fitness. Whether it’s swimsuit or push-ups in fitness, I think the most important thing is sass. You are up on that stage, and that takes a lot of guts as it is. Remember you are one of a kind, you are unique, and you are confident. Each and every movement should be one of certainty and strength. Rock your body because darling you are gorgeous! I spent time working on cardio training, even though that has nothing to do with the actual stage time. That is what I felt least confident in for my physical body, so by empowering myself about what I was most insecure about, I was more confident in myself overall. Work on what you need to work on to make yourself more confident, because I promise you, everyone in the audience is impressed with you, no matter how your body looks.

Lastly, the grace and elegance of evening gown. I’m going to be completely honest with you all; this has always been the competition that I struggle with, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. I’ve worked hard to improve my evening gown walk, and while it may not be the best, it certainly is something that I’m proud of! Honestly, to start off with, practice walking around with a book on your head. I did this for the longest time to get myself used to keeping my chin up and back straight. As someone who is unusually tall (even more so with 6” evening gown heels), I’ve grown accustomed to looking down, but it is extremely important to keep your chin up and parallel with the ground. Additionally, make sure to walk smoothly and gracefully. To do this, I made a pattern for myself to follow, because I think in patterns and numbers. I simply remembered “thigh, knee, calf,” as I was walking. With that phrase, I mean that the leg your stepping with should always lead with your thigh, then your knee, then your calf. Feet should be place one in front of the other to achieve that look of grace and elegance. Some of these tips may work for you, some may not – try them out! Practice in a mirror and see if you are happy with how it is looking, because the more important thing is to look confident and happy with yourself.

Overall, I cannot stress the importance of being yourself when you compete for the pageant. It shows through in competition, and the judges see that you are truly there to better yourself and your community, which is what the Miss America and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Organizations are all about. Practice hard ladies; hard work pays off in the long run! It may not be with a title, it may be with a dancing scholarship or a new job – it all helps individuals develop.


Grace Stanke

Miss Wisconsin’s Outstanding Teen 2017