Katarina Van Derham
Tips on How to Win a Beauty Pageant
Since I was a teenager, I always loved beauty pageants. I remember following all of the contests around the world. I even made a scrapbook of each year’s winners. Eventually, I entered a couple of small pageants myself which made me understand the pressure young women experience as a contestant. I never imagined later in life I would end up judging these competitions as I have now for nearly ten years.
Many people don’t understand the bigger purpose of beauty pageants. Here are a few reasons why I believe it is positive for young women to enter beauty competitions:
- Girls make friends for a lifetime.
- It creates a sense of sisterhood.
- They learn to become team players.
- Pageants develop healthy confidence.
- The potential for travel makes young women more well-rounded.
- Competition builds strength of character.
- It builds poise and grace.
- Young women learn to become well-spoken.
- Pageants build compassion through work with various charities and organizations.
As you know, many young girls struggle with insecurities: the need for validation, self-worth, the list goes on and on. Beauty pageants are good in helping overcome these struggles.
Since I’ve judged hundreds of young women, I’ve taken a few notes where I feel my observations might help you. If you are planning to enter a pageant, I want to help increase your chances to succeed with these helpful tips!
- Overall Appearance: Inside and out
People like to say, “inner beauty is all that matters”. However, when it comes to beauty pageants, this is not quite true. Your inner beauty has to equal your outer beauty, but you will get judged first on your overall appearance. There is nothing worse to me than when I see a potential winner, who is drop dead gorgeous, open her mouth and say something unattractive. Unfortunately, she’ll get crossed out on my board. It is important to understand that both outer and inner beauty is expected.
Believe it or not, hair is a big deal. Because it is a woman’s crowning glory, your hair must be healthy, soft, shiny, and perfectly styled. Do not show up with over-processed hair. If your hair is thinner and needs help, use good quality hair extensions and clip them in. Avoid using permanent hair extensions because these get overused on a daily basis. As a result, the texture of the extensions doesn’t match your own hair. And often the hair extension doesn’t move in the same direction as your own hair. This will make it appear as though you are wearing fake hair. Clip-in hair extensions are much easier to keep your hair looking healthy and natural, and they tend to blend better with your own hair, if put in correctly.
When you are on stage, makeup can be a bit heavier because you are far way from the audience and you want to make certain your features pop. However, I am not talking about wearing heavy, theatrical makeup, but be aware of the lighting on stage. When you are in rehearsal, show up with the makeup that you plan on wearing during the finals. Take some selfies or record a video of yourself. This way you can check to see how your makeup looks on stage. For the actual event, you’ll know if you need to adjust your makeup.
Glowing skin is so popular these days. However, using too much shimmer and highlights can make you look like a sweaty disco ball. Just remember, when lights hit your face, you want to sparkle, but in the right amount and in the proper place.
You can go heavier with blush.
For your lips, if your lipstick is too nude, it will make your mouth disappear from your face. Make certain the color you choose makes your lips stand out. And if you have smaller lips, don’t be afraid to use a lip liner to create the illusion of fuller lips. Finish with lip gloss.
When it comes to eyes, definitely wear false eyelashes, and use shimmer eye shadows to add sparkle on the lid and matte in the crease.
Keep your nails natural. No claws or French manicures.
For your pageant wardrobe, make certain to choose styles that compliment your body, not what you think looks best on someone else. Show off your figure and if you have larger breasts don’t make it too obvious. Wear something that makes you look elegant, yet sexy. There is a reason why contestants wear chandelier earrings. Once again, you are on stage. People see you from far away. And you want to wear jewelry that stands out, but not too much like Joan Collins in Dynasty!
For some reason, I still see lots of stripper shoes when I judge beauty pageants. While they might be appropriate attire for strip clubs, they have no place in a serious beauty pageant. Unless the pageant has a shoe sponsor, bring shoes that are preferably tan in color, the classic nude pump. If you need a little height, a platform 1 ½ “ or less, is suitable. No wedges, ankle straps, or patterns. Remember, the focus needs to be from your feet up to your head, not on your shoes.
You are young and I understand you want to have fun and you should. But since you are on your phone all day anyways, why not subscribe to a news site? The world outside is more fascinating than you might think! You could even find yourself liking politics, environmental issues, or world affairs. Understanding the world around you, at least to some degree, will give you confidence when you are on stage. If you are well-rounded, this will help you answer the most difficult questions during the Q&A portion. You might not understand it completely, but you will still come out on top if you are a well-rounded individual. The judges understand that you don’t know everything. No one does. But it is all about how you handle the question without losing it.
Carry this knowledge with you throughout your life even when the lights are off and the show is over. You will understand later how much these experiences have shaped you as a person for the rest of your life!
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