Need extra pageant help? We’d love to coach you to your next title! Click here for more information.
The Basics of Pageantry
When I tell people that I compete in pageants, it’s usually assumed right off the bat that I have a talent and that I compete in the swimsuit portion of competition, both of which aren’t exactly true. Basically, pageantry is like a huge umbrella.
Pageantry has different systems that lie within it. It gets a little tricky to explain systems, but the easiest way to think of it is to think of every pageant system as an independent pageant that has its own judging criteria and areas of competition. Some of the most well-known systems in pageantry are as follows:
-The Miss Universe Organization (USA, MUO)
-The Miss America Organization (MAO and MAOTeen)
-National American Miss (NAM)
-International Junior Miss (IJM)
-Miss Junior High, High School and Collegiate America (MSHA)
-USA National Miss (UNM)
-Royal International Miss (RIM)
Which One is Best for You?
Competing in any system is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to connect with driven, passionate girls in your local area or state. As I mentioned, each pageant has its own way of judging and its own areas of competition. For example, the Miss America Organization requires that every contestant have a talent. This mandatory portion of competition then accounts for 25% of final scoring.
Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields performing her dance solo at Miss America 2017
The majority of pageants have the essentially the same competitions: formal wear, interview and either fun fashion, personal introduction, athletic wear, or swimsuit.
When it comes to picking a system, the best way to go about it is to research, research, research! Research the past winners in your state pageant as well as the national and international winners. Research which outfits seem to do well and which dress styles are most popular. Sometimes, even certain colors tend to do well in certain systems.
International Junior Miss 2017 International Royalty
2. Consult an Expert
I would definitely recommend talking to someone that knows the pageant scene in your area. Whether it’s a coach, a long-time competitor or a titleholder, you can never go wrong with getting more information about what it’s like to compete in your state. Pageants definitely vary from state to state and from system to system. Get as much information as you can before you compete! You can never be too informed.
3. Consider Financial Obligations
Pageantry can definitely get pricey, but it does not have to be! It is definitely possible to find less costly alternatives to all pageant necessities. Some systems do tend to cost more because of the mandatory advertising fees, travel fees and/or sponsorship fees that may or may not be included in the prize package. Here are some fees to keep in mind when deciding on a system:
-Hair and makeup
If this seems like a lot to handle, don’t worry! There are plenty of different ways to fundraise if you cannot meet all of the financial needs of the pageant that you want to do.
The best way to pick a system is to do your research and pick whichever feels right! Try a few systems and see which one works the best for you. Visiting pageants and is also a must! This way, you can see how the entire production is put forth and how it looks from the audience. If you’re struggling to find a system, do not stress! You will find one– it just takes a little perseverance and patience.