The post-pageant slump is real, especially when you didn’t take home the title. After doing your personal best at a pageant, it can be confusing trying to figure out what you can improve on for next time. In this post, we break down the top 10 most common reasons why contestants lose their pageant:
1. Weird arms in walking competitions
There are a lot of common mistakes that are made in walking competitions like Evening Gown, Casual Wear, and Fun Fashion including uneven or unnatural swinging, floating arms, or arms that aren’t swinging at all. Usually all it takes to fix this is an awareness of the issue, so try taking a video of yourself while practicing so you can correct it before pageant weekend.
2. Bad hair or makeup
Contestants have a lot of flexibility when it comes to doing their hair and makeup on pageant weekend. You can work with sponsors, bring a friend to help you, or do it yourself. Regardless of what route you take, you should make sure your makeup is appropriate for the pageant.
the judges are usually sitting pretty close to you. Make sure it doesn’t look too cakey! Check out this post if you’re looking for some makeup inspiration.
Your makeup should always be age appropriate (no dark lipstick for Pre-Teens!). It’s important to remember that some pageants have a rule against contestants under the age of 13 wearing makeup.
Your hairstyle should complement your overall look. You can wear it up, down, or a mix of both. Regardless, it should be out of your face so the judges can see you clearly.
3. Dress didn’t fit right
Judges aren’t judging the dress, they’re judging how the girl looks in the dress. The most important thing to keep in mind when working on your wardrobe is fit. Make sure each piece of clothing is tailored to fit you properly. A cheaper dress can look like a million bucks if you get the alterations done right!
4. Spoke too fast
Interview is arguably the most important area of competition in a pageant; its where judges fall in love with a contestant. The conversations you have with a judge can be the difference between Top 15 and Top 5 and 1st Runner Up and Winner. Because interviews are only a few minutes long, you may feel pressured to speak faster than you usually do. Don’t do this! Speaking too quickly may make it harder for the judges to understand what you’re saying. It may also be taken as a sign of nervousness when judges are looking for a Cool, Calm, and Confident queen.
Take some time to record yourself practicing interview questions under timed conditions. After awhile, you’ll get a sense of how long your answers should be to stay within the time limit.
5. Used too many filler words
As mentioned above, pageant interviews are short, so it’s your responsibility to make every word count! Filler phrases like “Um” “Like” and “You know?” may be stealing precious time away from the important things you have to share.
Weeks before your pageant, you should start practicing interview questions with your parents, siblings, friends, roommates, etc. Have them snap whenever you use a filler word so you become aware of how often you use them. Using a lot of filler words may be a sign that you need to speak slower!
6. Didn’t communicate why you’re the right girl for the title
This is a big one! Your number one goal for pageant interview should be to communicate why you’re the right contestant for the title. It’s great if your interview is engaging, fun, and full of jokes, but if you leave the room without making the judges think “That’s my winner!” you may be risking the title.
It’s also possible for your interview to be too serious; your job while preparing for your pageant is to find a healthy balance between seriousness and fun. For your next pageant, try to come up with a solid reason why you’re right for the title (along with evidence to support that claim!) and aim to share that with the judges during your interview.
If you need help crafting your winning pageant interview answers and figuring out why you’re the perfect fit for the title you’re competing for, check out our coaching page. We’d love to help you with your pageant journey!
7. Not age appropriate
Age appropriateness is big in popular youth pageants like NAM, UNM, HSA, etc. State and national titleholders are representatives for their age division, so it’s important you follow the guidelines for your age division. This means no high slits for divisions younger than Teen, no strapless dresses for Pre-Teens and under, and no heavy makeup for contestants 12 and under. It also works the other way; Miss contestants should look like Misses, not Jr. Teens.
National titleholders are given dress guidelines to follow throughout the duration of their reign. If you’re ever confused about what’s considered appropriate for your age division, you should look to your state and national titleholders for guidance. What’s considered age appropriate may vary across systems, so be sure to do your research ahead of time.
You can bring your wardrobe questions and concerns to us! Learn more about scheduling a coaching with us here.
8. Didn’t look like the queen
You’ve got to look the part to get it! One of my favorite pieces of advice comes from Lu Sierra who said, “You want to look so good that other contestants confuse you for the outgoing queen.” We like to call this the Returning Queen Test. Your pageant wardrobe should make you look and feel like the next queen.
Judges gravitate towards contestants who look ready to wear the crown. Pageant girls are always selling their old wardrobe on Facebook, so join several pageant resale groups and keep your eyes peeled! If you can’t find a piece of wardrobe that makes you feel your best, look into getting custom made clothing (it can be cheaper than retail if you know where to look!).
9. Not relatable enough
As mentioned earlier, titleholders are representatives of the girls in their city, state, and nation. Your job as a titleholder is to promote your pageant system and its values in your community. Potential contestants should want to be your friend; you should be someone they would want to talk to and go shopping with. This helps pageant systems recruit new contestants, which is why relatability is such an important trait for titleholders to have.
I used to struggle with this in the past, as I was always so excited to share my achievements. The most effective way to overcome this challenge is by providing context to your accomplishments (Why do they matter to you? How did you achieve them?) and being vulnerable in your interviews. People bond over telling stories, so be sure to tell stories in your own interview.
10. It wasn’t your time
Then there are those times when you did everything right and still didn’t take home the crown…
Sometimes the hardest thing to hear is that it simply wasn’t your time. When entering a pageant, you have to make peace with the fact that you’re paying for an opinion. There are things you can do to increase your chances of winning (practicing often, doing your research, etc.), but the decision is out of your control at the end of the day.
But one “No” should never stop you from trying until you get a “Yes.” Dreams take a lot of time, effort, and energy to achieve, but they’re always worth it in the end!
The Queen Next Door is here to help you achieve your pageant goals. We offer various coaching services for all age divisions and areas of competition. See our coaching page to learn more about how we can help you prepare for your next pageant.