Pageant tricks and tips, how to win.


I get a lot of emails from young women who are about to compete in some pageant or another, and request my advise despite this disastrous pageant moment. Let me just quickly preface, I haven’t competed in pageants since I was a little girl. I did it because I wanted to prove to myself I had the courage to get up on that stage, no matter what. And to my surprise, I won a few.

There’s a lot of pageants out there and a lot of scams. These are the top-notch pageants for young women: Miss Teen USA, Miss USA, Miss America, and America’s Junior Miss. Anything else is probably as scam or not worth your time and money.

Here’s what I’ve learned about winning a pageant:

  1. Be nice. TO EVERYONE, but don’t fake it.You never know what you say or do might get back to the judges. Be nice to everyone; especially to the chaperons, choreographers and anyone in charge.AND , YES… be nice to your competition. Don’t be fake about it, just keep your mouth shut if you’re not sure what to say. Winning isn’t a popularity contest.
  2. Workout – a lot. (But, please don’t become Nicole Riche.)I believe being active it is the true secret to winning. Give yourself a minimum of five months to get in your routine. If feel confident in your swimsuit, you’ll feel great in your gown and have one less thing to think about in interview. Just do your best to be fit but don’t let it go to your head. It’s about your lifestyle, not dieting or starving yourself last minute.
  3. Get an interview coachA pageant interview coach might be a bit pricey, but it’s totally worth it. After these sessions you’ll be able to nail any job interview. Be sure to stay up on current events, and know basic American History.
  4. Get a custom gown.Weather you make it yourself, or if you have the bucks to pay for one; this is a fantastic secret. My mom and I made my dress for Miss Missouri Teen USA, and maybe it wasn’t the best fit but I had a great story and a memory to share forever with my mom. And guess what? I won evening gown and the title. Even if you can’t afford to buy what you want, you can embellish it or create one from scratch (imagination willing.)
  5. Don’t compare yourself.You’ll make yourself crazy if you look at every other girl’s assets. Focus on your strengths, not what you wish you were.
  6. Have an opinion. (Or pretend to)I had to learn this the hard way. If you are lucky enough to get an “on-stage” question or interview, just say something… even if you’re not sure what the question is about. How you say something is sometimes more important that what you say. When answering it’s not about being right or trying to say what you think people want to hear, it’s just saying what you belive in. Also, if you can answer your question with humor you will score HUGE!
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  • mark

    this tips are very helpful .. and i’ve won Mr. mathsci… thanks..

  • kelly

    i am 12 never lost one pageant. i have been in 200 and i say to………..
    never ever stress out. pageants are fun
    pick a dress that makes you feel pretty. judges can tell when you feel good. try a ballgown they are winning dresses
    SPRAY TAN you want a dark tint but not to dark or you will look like an orange
    if you need help e mail me. . . . .. .nickicri123@gmail.com

  • mackenzie

    i want to win junior miss but i think i’m too old. the age group is 11-13 and i’m 13 and the oldest. is this an andvantage or disadvantage???????????

    • PageantQueen

      i believe that u can go, sometimes its better being the oldest because u have more chances to win.

  • Evelina

    I want to go to a pageant so much! If any of you know pageants for kids, please comment me. Or email me at evelina22sarapi@yahoo.com .

  • maddy

    thanks helped alot!!!!!!!<3

  • http://twitter.com/tattoogoddess Danielle P

    I suggest don’t do them. My sister just got finished with her first one. She did all of these steps. She is BEAUTIFUL, does a ton of volunteer work and holds a 4.0 among other things. She did not even place in the top 15! It is set up to those who have the most money and are highest up on the class totem pole ( IE Varsity and Cheerleading) get the crown. This year- Cheerleader. Last year- Cheerleader. Year before.. you guessed it cheerleader. She should have won this hands down but we don’t come from money and thats flat out why she did not place. MANY people were shocked about this. Just not friends and family. So yeah save your money and just don’t do it. It is not worth the heartache and this advice does not work.

    • Jassynr

      Ok li pageants are not about placing it is about having fun
      And this is coming from a girl that has done school pageants and has neverd placed
      But that don’t make me ugley and sure as heck won’t keep me form doing pageants si dont
      Take this girls advice she’s the girl that is a sore looser cause it you fall you just
      Get right back up so don’t li to her okay pageant are really fun and for those girls
      That are going to do pageants and read this and this girl tells them dont do it she or her sister or what
      Ever cause they didn’t have fun I am from the south and I don’t know about y’all but
      Pageants around her are freAken FUN ok si don’t take her advice

    • Jassynr

      Ok li pageants are not about placing it is about having fun
      And this is coming from a girl that has done school pageants and has neverd placed
      But that don’t make me ugley and sure as heck won’t keep me form doing pageants si dont
      Take this girls advice she’s the girl that is a sore looser cause it you fall you just
      Get right back up so don’t li to her okay pageant are really fun and for those girls
      That are going to do pageants and read this and this girl tells them dont do it she or her sister or what
      Ever cause they didn’t have fun I am from the south and I don’t know about y’all but
      Pageants around her are freAken FUN ok si don’t take her advice

    • Jassynr

      Ok li pageants are not about placing it is about having fun
      And this is coming from a girl that has done school pageants and has neverd placed
      But that don’t make me ugley and sure as heck won’t keep me form doing pageants si dont
      Take this girls advice she’s the girl that is a sore looser cause it you fall you just
      Get right back up so don’t li to her okay pageant are really fun and for those girls
      That are going to do pageants and read this and this girl tells them dont do it she or her sister or what
      Ever cause they didn’t have fun I am from the south and I don’t know about y’all but
      Pageants around her are freAken FUN ok si don’t take her advice

    • Kayla

      Perhaps they weren’t right for your sister but they aren’t a heartache or a waste of  time. Pageants can serve as an a mazing opportunity for many girls which can help them pay for college and encourage them to become more well rounded people. One pageant shouldn’t be enough to stop your sister, and if it was, she isn’t pageant material. I am a varsity cheerleader, but I have never done a pageant. My friend isn’t a cheerleader and she has won many pageants. Of course there are girls and mothers who give it a bad name, but truly, there are people who do that for everything.  I hope your sister does more and sees what it truly can be about.
      Best of luck to the both of you,
      Kayla

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KDWDIY3EQQI5Y7ZKOMRAMA4IJY Mikayla King

    I’m new to pageantry and i don’t know where to start do anyone have any suggestions. I’m from Ohio

    • Alyssa

      Hey, I live in Ohio too. I did the National American Miss pageant last year and it was so much fun!

  • Jessicalovekats

    To any young girls new to pageantry, dont be scared! You’ll find that pageants are fun,when you get there, be social, talk to other contestants. If you are the first one to speak up in your division, and bring up any appropriate random topic, you will likely win congeniality.

    • Angie

      I will admit being a new person to the pageant would it is kind of scary but they are right, if you are yourself you can most likely be awarded with miss congeniality. I was part of the miss lake county pageant, I did not get chooses as the 3 runner ups but I am very blessed to have been awarded both miss congeniality and the community service award. Don’t give up because of a bad pageant experianc, I believe everyone will have ther time with a crown on there head someday!!!

  • Alli Maria

    Hey, I see many young girls and there comments. I must say that if you win the pageant thats wonderful but if not, continue to go on. But if there are any girls in NC that needs a pageant/modeling coach. Please Contact me. I have had the training, and I cant wait to help other girls!

    • Hayleecates

      i would really like your help! i have been in plenty of pageants, i have tons of gowns, but ive never won and i am pretty. some people tell me im very beautiful. im smart, outgoing. but i dont know what my problem is..

  • savannah

    im new and im going to be in the fair ground pageant so im a little nervous! but im just glad i can do this with my bff!

    • kendra

      hey good luck and keep doing pageants. i have done them since i was 3 months old and im still going!!!!!!!!!! the little pageants are no big deal tell your self you are worth it and you can do anything if you set your mind to it. make sure to be your self and let your personality shine through!!!!!!!!!! good luck!!!!!!!!

  • Jennifer Hernandez

    im not so pretty but i wan to beat my sister for miss junior huntland and i need help can anyone help

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KDWDIY3EQQI5Y7ZKOMRAMA4IJY Mikayla King

      Be confident in your self everyone is beautiful in their own way.

  • Courtney

    Okay I am about to be in a pageant…Nothing huge (Unless I make it to state!) So your hints work for like mongo pageants but what about the ones where you start out like County ones? I mean thats where I am starting…I mean everyone does right? And you dont have to have a gown or coach but you do have to be good so how would you came about winning that? I mean don’t get me wrong your hints and tricks where totally AWSOME but again Im not so sure I can get there unless I win the smaller ones.

  • cat

    For the very first teen pageant, should be go local, small town or what?
    We live in the second largest city in the state and it is very very tough competition. we would like to start somewhere smaller. Any advice

  • Sonya

    hi i am about to have a pageant and it will be my first one. I have searched for tips and I would like to thank you for the tips. I think it will help me a bunch.

  • blenda

    I am a mother of a young lady that thinks being in a pageant is wonderful. She is a tomboy threw and threw but still like the glitz. She wants to do a talent but at 8 she is still finding herself any suggestions with that. Also how can i help her work out her stage jitters and improve her personal interview. The Pageant i have her in is National American Miss. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

    • kendra

      hi im used to doing pageants. i have been doing pageants since i was 3 months old! i have done many. im only 12 but i know alot. have her do something she likes to do in her own time or have her do something that she is diffidently know for! have her do something thats rare

  • alisha

    hi im alisha. i am13. i love pageants and ive been doing pageants along time as well and have held many titles. im doing ms national miss soon if you know anyone who wants to be in a pageant let me know alishamarie93@aol.com thanks

  • confused

    when i was in a pageant for interveiw they asked me what my performance would be on american idol and i wasn’t prepared to anser that question so i said to little too late by jo-jo because i can hit the high notes very well.While i ansered this question my bff was sitting right next to me and i stole her anser!After the interveiw she asked me why i said her anser and i told her that it was the first thing i had in mind .After that i told her that i meant to say the song who i am because the song means that i am fine with who i am and yes i may be clumsy but that ok.At the end of the pageant i got 2nd runner up and she didn’t place so now she will not talk to me what do i do!!!!

  • Aubrey Singleton

    I am about to particpate in the miss texas teen pageant, do you have any good tips on how i can practice being more poise

  • http://patrilususnaturae.deviantart.com Epiphani

    I agree wholeeheartedly with PWS. I wish there were men’s pageant’s too! I don’t see why women are the only ones who get to feel pretty. ^ ^ Men are beautiful too.
    Actually I’m hosting a sort of internet pageant:The Mr. Emo Pageant.
    It’s going to be fun and only for boys!

  • Brandi Sprague

    My five month old daughter got overall runner up and prettiest hair in a local qualifing pageant and is now going to states. This is our very first and I just was wondering if you know what they are looking for in the infant competition? Also, what hair styles do they look for?

  • rachel

    some of this information DOES help. i have competed in about 5 pageants and i have one next week and one on march 24th, 2007 which is the one i REALLY want to win because its my school pageant and i will be competing against the preetiest girls in my grade. it is also a really great way to do community service and influence others to do it too.the pageant next week is preety big too. it is miss atlanta christian and i work with a mission trip in atlanta and i really want to promote it if i win. it will also give me a HUGE confidence boost for miss dacula (the school pageant) and miss christian georgia. pray for me and the other contestants to do well!
    thank you
    Rachel

  • Amanda

    That is really great advice for girls I really want to win a pageant so bad I go to DBMS in Blanchard,Louisiana and I was in Miss Patriot Belle and a girl named SarahYoung won and she was so happy and as a matter of fact we both got the same interview question and I got 2nd runner up and Miss photogentic I was so happy but i still wanted to win the crown but I was really happy in what I got I am going to compete with sarah in Miss RedBud and I am really happy and then on March 23, 2007 I will be in Miss Poke Salad in Blanchard I want to win so bad I already have confidence but if I win any of these pageants it will lif my spirits even more and in Miss Redbud there is a scholarship for all queens and that would be really nice I want to prove to people that i can do this and I want tp prove to myself that i can do this thanx for the tip I hope i can utips in pageants hopefully I can win atleast one time I love doing pageants I love gettin dresses and getting dressed up its really fun thanxxx!!!!!!!!!!

  • SARAH

    Well thats good advice and I had never won a pageant till this year at DBMS yeah I was surprised. Everyone kept saying that this other girl was gonna win but i ended up winning it was a great experience. Now i am gonna be in Redbud and im kinda nervous………

  • laurie taylor

    my daughter 13 was selected for state finalist in ohio being held col, ohio in july. this is first time could you tell me how many contestants from each state compete in the differnt stages and any tips at all will be helpful thanks for your time god bless. laurie taylor

  • Laura

    Hey these are some awsome tips!! Im a state finalist for the miss american coed teen pageant and its my first one..do you have any specific tips on what i should do?

  • corey

    hey, i really like your advice and ‘m runnin for miss jr teen for ohio in the pagent, i’ve never been in a peagent before and i’m really nervos, and could u gimme some tips?

  • Tara

    Hey! I am formally Miss Pumpkin 2006, and Miss Starburst USA queen. Alot of the pageants in my county are primarly based on the way you present yourself. The pageant walk is a must…do you have any tips on your presentation on-stage? Thanks a million!

  • Megan

    That’s really some great advice, sometimes I do believe the pageants that are local are rigged in some way or another, especially if your not from the area! I dont know how many times, I have been backstage and hear girls talk about how they know the judges or their related to them or something, it’s really quite depressing, I want to be judged fairly no matter what, I want someone to beat me b/c their better, not b/c of who they know!!
    *Crawford*

  • Julia Wilson

    I love your advice! It’s real, not like the other “advice” you get that pretty much says the same thing ya know? Most of what people say you should already know, even if you’re not in a pageant. I say thank you because this really helps. So, ” Thank You” !!

  • nicole

    Thanks for the tips…they are helpful….i am a Hostess for Little Miss Mississippi Crown 2006….after being her hostess her mom who is now the director wants me to particpate in the competition…i want to and have thought about it tons…but the only thing is my talent…i dont know what to do..let alone trying to figure out a platform and all that goes with it….i honestly think it would be alot of fun to be apart of the pageant instead of being backstage this time…..

  • Shelby

    This coming years Miss Junior Teen pageant in NE. will be my first pageant ever, and lets just say…I’m a little bit on the nervous side on what kind of talent would catch the judges’ eyes. I’m a country girl..(hard core) haha, but I have a good voice, but I’m also a very good dancer. Would singing “These boots are made for walking” or “Before he cheats” by Carrie Underwood ( with wearing cute boots) ;-) and have a little dancing part in one of the songs be good? I need some help… :-)

  • Melody

    Hi Miss Meek, I am about to compete in Miss Teen Moore County, which is preliminary to the Miss Teen USA pageant and I am singing, “Do You Believe In Magic?” Though, I don’t know which songs the judges prefer, a slow ballad or an upbeat song. A couple years ago I competed in the same pageant but sang, “Colors Of The Wind,” and I did not place.

  • Audri

    At kast years National American Miss Pageant I was 4th Runner-up. Any tips on how I can improve my scores and become Queen for Oregon this year???

  • Kimberly

    Im running for Miss Recreation and i have to write a essay on ” How Does Parks And Recreation Impact the Quality Life in San Antonio” Any tips?

  • PWS

    Hello larissa,

    Thats some great advice !!!! I got an Idea ! How about a Pagent for Guys,
    with a more masculine design…I could see it now Mr.America….Mr.World
    and for the southern folks Mr.Get er Done……Maybe Just maybe it would work I think the Gals would watch and well everybody knows an aspiring wanna be that could get the exposure they need.
    I nominate the Gotti Boys they are very Handsome and smart…You could be a Judge….OK OK LOL…. its Just an Idea !