How to Impress a Pageant Judge

By Toni Hoy

Things Needed

  • Videotapes of pageants
  • Steam iron
  • Chair
  • Microphone
  • Large plastic storage containers

How does a panel of judges decide which girl in the lineup gets the highest marks? Set yourself apart and capture the judges’ attention. Dedicate time to prepare in every area of the competition to gain the maximum number of overall points, which will increase your chances for coming out on top. Expect nerves and prepare to overcome them. Discover the tricks of the trade to gain the best chance of winning the crown, complete with title and fabulous prizes. “Preparation and practice equal a strong performance,” as noted by the Pageant Club.

Watch previous winners. Borrow or purchase pageant videotapes and watch them. Take special note of contestants who place. Detect what makes them distinctive. Notice stride, stance, arm movements and posture. Learn from those who don’t place by detecting weak areas and avoiding the same mistakes.

Display confidence by knowing who you are. Give a polished and confident introduction. Take a firm stance on issues. Research current events. Form clear opinions and rack up points by solidly supporting your opinions. Deliver your ideas with confidence. Speak loudly and clearly into the microphone.

Contemplate each area of the competition, building on your strongest traits. Show off a great figure in the swimsuit competition with a flattering suit. State your introduction confidently. Have fun with your modeling routine. Appeal to the audience with your talent routine. Play up your best attributes.

Polish your appearance. Clothes should be well fitting without showing too much skin. Queen Keyolanda Quarterman coaches contestants to choose color, cut and style to fit your personality.

Make a list of items that you will need to take to the pageant so you will be prepared for anything. Include a hand steam iron to eliminate last-minute wrinkles. Grab a sewing kit for emergency repairs. Bring extra makeup and hair-care supplies for last-minute touch ups. Throw in a few extra pairs of pantyhose in case of unexpected runs. Store items in large containers with items clearly labeled so you will be prepared for quick and chaotic clothing changes.

Inspect your final look from head to toe. Smooth out makeup lines. Hide panty lines and watch for exposed undergarments.

Present yourself with poise and confidence. Practice your runway walk often. Walk confidently but naturally. Keep arm movements natural and subtle. Sit pretty during your interview. Cross your legs at the ankle instead of crossing over the knee. Place hands on your lap, one of top of the other. Check your sitting and walking positions in a mirror to inspect the best stage presence.

Tip

Judges are not necessarily interested in your answers, so a controversial answer is usually fine as long as you support it. They are more interested in your knowledge, confidence level and delivery than your personal point of view.

Warning

Break in each pair of shoes that you plan to wear on stage. It is difficult to concentrate on other aspects of the contest while wearing uncomfortable shoes. Practice your runway walk in competition shoes to avoid awkward balance and potential missteps. Don’t overdo hair and makeup. The judges want to see the real you.

About the Author

Toni Hoy has written articles on child welfare for “Rise Magazine.” She has made presentations to state departments, legislators, and advocacy groups on mental health care. Her video, "He's My Son" is gaining national attention. She holds a B.A. degree in communications from Thomas Edison State College.