Experience is the best teacher, but if you’re a newer contestant, experience is the one thing you may lack. This may cause you to make some mistakes without even realizing it. Fortunately for you, many of these things are easy to fix with a little practice. But you have to become aware of them first! In this article, we cover 10 of the most common mistakes new contestants make—and how to fix them.
1. Not memorizing speeches ahead of time
Many pageants have required or optional areas of competition that require some amount of memorization, especially Spokesmodel, Personal Introduction, and Actress. Personal Introduction and Actress must be memorized ahead of time as you won’t be given your lines onstage. Although some Spokesmodel competitions allow you to keep a copy of your speech onstage, you are far more likely to place if you have it memorized.
Pageant weekend is far too hectic to memorize something! You should start memorizing your speeches weeks, or even months, before your pageant. Once you memorize, you can then focus on delivery, which is just as important as the content.
If you need help writing a personal introduction or picking an actress commercial, we can help! We can also coach you on delivery. Click here to learn more about coaching.
Attention new contestants! We want to help you achieve your dreams in pageantry. Let us coach you to your first title. Services include personal introduction writing, walking and turning help, and all-around pageant preparation. Click here to learn more.
2. Not getting your Evening Gown tailored
Judges don’t score contestants on the dress, but how contestants present themselves in the dress. You can’t present yourself well if your gown is too big or too long, so get it tailored! The fit of your wardrobe matters more than the wardrobe itself. Finally, make sure your gown is age-appropriate and floor length (no, not even high-lows).
Still looking for a gown? Here are some of our favorite online and in-store retailers.
If you need help picking out a dress for the Evening Gown competition, we offer 30 and 60 minute training sessions. We can work on wardrobe styling, walking, and turning to get you the highest score. Packages are available! Click here to learn more about coaching.
3. Swinging your arms unnaturally
It’s common to see arms swinging unevenly in new contestants (even I used to do this)! Sometimes one arm is swinging normally while the other isn’t, both are only swinging at the elbows, or neither are swinging at all. This looks different for each contestant, which is why it’s so important to record yourself with a tripod when practicing your walk ahead of time.
If you need help with any of your pageant walks (evening gown, active wear, fun fashion, or casual wear), don’t be afraid to reach out! Our training sessions are beginner-friendly, and we’re always looking for new clients. Click here to learn more about coaching.
Don’t know why you haven’t taken home the crown? Here are 10 (Possible) Reasons Why You Lost Your Pageant.
4. Doing turns when you don’t know how
Unless you come from a modeling background, it’s unlikely you’re coming into the pageant world with a number of turns up your sleeve. That’s okay! You don’t need turns to win a pageant. I’m going to say that again for emphasis: you don’t need turns to win a pageant.
You should only incorporate turns into your routines when you can nail them consistently. Besides, the only thing worse than doing an ungraceful turn is doing an ungraceful turn and falling.
If you want to learn how to turn, I offer coaching sessions that focus on turning basics. My sessions are beginner friendly and I strongly encourage first-time contestants to reach out! Click here to learn more about coaching.
5. Wearing heels you can’t walk in
The vast majority of contestants wear heels in all areas of competition, as many pageants require them to do so. If you’ve never worn heels before, maybe 6-inch ones aren’t the best idea. You should only wear heels you can actually walk in! These are walking competitions after all.
Don’t be afraid to start small, especially when we can’t see your feet (my first gown heels were 1 inch tall)! With time, you’ll train yourself to walk better in heels. Finally, the most important thing is to practice. Always break in your heels before pageant weekend!
I recommend first-time contestants should start with a comfortable, 4-inch platform heel. If you’re looking for more recommendations, check out our post reviewing the best pageant heels.
6. Forgetting it’s a beauty pageant
Let’s get real for a second: this is a pageant, after all. Therefore, it’s important for you to look and behave like a queen at all times. This means showing up (at least) 15 minutes before activities start and looking presentable whenever you’re outside of your hotel room.
Make sure you fill your wardrobe with cute casual outfits you can wear around the hotel, to your hair and makeup appointments, and at rehearsals. This includes rompers, casual dresses, or cute skirts. Try to avoid jeans and sweatpants!
If you need some wardrobe inspiration, check out our Pinterest here. We offer full wardrobe advising services (competitions, appearances, rehearsals, etc). Click here to learn more about coaching.
7. Focusing too much on the competition
This one may come as a shock, but it’s the truth! The only thing you’re promised at the end of the day is the experience of pageant weekend. You should make the most of it by enjoying every moment and getting to know the staff, outgoing queens, and fellow contestants.
Focusing too much on the competition may keep you from the crown. Judges want to crown a contestant who is enjoying themselves, and you can’t do that if you’re thinking about winning all of the time!
If you’re struggling to develop a more wholistic mindset, check out this post about enjoying yourself at Nationals. If you want to talk with us about your mindset challenges, you can book a 30 or 60 minute training session with us. Click here to learn more about coaching.
8. Disorganized packing
There are a lot of things you need to pack for pageant weekend. If you don’t pack in an organized manner, you risk losing track of an earring or a pair of shoes when you need them most! I love a good set of cute packing cubes to help you stay organized.
For help with this, check out this post on how to pack for Nationals. You can also schedule a 30 minute session with us and we’ll walk you through pageant packing, step-by-step so you don’t forget a thing. Learn more about coaching here.
9. Recreating their prom look for Evening Gown
All pageant dresses can be prom dresses, but not all prom dresses can be pageant dresses. Believe it or not, there’s a difference! Pageant dresses require much more thought and intention. If you’re still confused, check out our guide to succeeding in evening gown.
Prom makeup is usually very flashy and too distracting for a pageant setting. You want to stick to neutral tones and smokey eyes, but nothing too heavy! Here are 9 makeup looks you can use for your next pageant.
If you’re unsure if your Evening Gown look is right for a pageant, you can schedule a 30 or 60 minute coaching session with us! If you want help with wardrobe styling in all areas of competition, we recommend getting the Princess Package Package. Click here to learn more about coaching.
10. Constantly touching your dress and hair
One thing that always makes me (and the judges!) cringe is when girls have to hold up their dress or constantly move their hair out of their face onstage.
Your dress should be tailored to your size and height, so there should be no need to carry or adjust it as you walk. Your hair should be styled in a way that it doesn’t fall in your face; the judges want to see you, not your hair!
If you’re unsure how to style your hair in such a way or are looking for some help with picking out a wardrobe, you can schedule a 30 or 60 minute session with us. Packages are available! Click here to learn more about coaching.
Already corrected these mistakes and still don’t know why you haven’t taken home the crown? Here are 10 (Possible) Reasons Why You Lost Your Pageant.
If you do any of these things…
Most contestants have done one (or a few) of these things, so you’re not alone. It’s okay to make mistakes, that’s how we grow!
If you need help or are unsure about anything, you should look into being coached by us. We offer 30 and 60 minute sessions for contestants who have a small problem they want to correct and a Queenie Package for contestants who are ready to take that next step in pageantry.
We strongly encourage first-timers and contestants who have yet to win their first state title to invest in the Queenie Package so we can help you prepare every step of the way. Click here to learn more about coaching.