Pre- Pageant- Prep!

I have received many emails and Facebook messages from potential International titleholders asking for advice, tips, and tricks when preparing to compete in a pageant.

“Friendly Completion” is there really such a thing? 

Personally, I love sharing the knowledge I have gained through competing. I didn’t hesitate to share a few posing strategies, and backcombing techniques with my fellow competition at both the state and national level. I think it is so much more rewarding to share your advice and knowledge and help the girl next to you perform at her best, than compete against someone who may not be performing at her best. For example, one of my favorite new pageant friends, Miss Haiti International 2012, did not expect to make it to the top 10 on finals night. She was so thrilled and thankful; tears were streaming down her face when she was called. However, as we lined up backstage to compete in onstage interview, she realized hadn’t prepared anything because she didn’t think she would even make it that far in the competition! When she told me she wasn’t prepared I started panicking for her. I wanted her to do well because she was such a wonderful titleholder and would certainly make an excellent Miss International. Literally, 30 seconds before she went on stage I helped her figure out a few specific speaking points that would impress the judges and she totally nailed it and the crowd went wild! I was so excited for her and the competitive edge of pageantry was completely absent from my mind. I was simply proud of my fellow pageant sister and wanted the best for her. I think that is what defines a queen; looking out for others, helping and giving with no concern for yourself, making sure you are a person of integrity and true character, always putting others needs before your own. I easily could have said, “your didn’t prepare? Too bad for you…” but that just would not have rested comfortably on my heart. Miss Haiti thanked me over and over for helping her and she was equally supportive of me during the rest of the competition. Being nasty, sizing up the completion or deliberately leaving a fellow pageant sister out to dry, is just not what pageantry should be. Pageantry is a place for women to unite and be rewarded and recognized for their intelligence, accomplishments, and beauty. We need to stick together and support one another instead of tearing each other down and constantly comparing. If you act his way, you will be missing out on creating sincerely loving friendships you could never find anywhere else than a pageant. Pageant girls are a breed of their own and making friends with women who are passionate about volunteerism, education, rhinestones, and stilettos, is just plain fabulous! If most of you are like me, my non-pageant friends are like, “…Ummm why are you so dressed up...?” Pageant girls, NEED pageant friends. Trust me. So, be nice, make friends, and sincerely care about the success of your competition. It makes it that much sweeter when it is your time to shine.

Perfecting Preparations

1 year – 6 months before:
Make a website! It is so important and one of the first things you should do when entering the international system. By having a website (that is kept up to date) you can open doors you never expected. I like and . both of these sites make is easy and user friendly to create and edit your personal website. Make sure you set the settings to “google searchable”. If you can afford it, pay a little extra for the memberships that allow you to make your own domain name for example, or that way, when your name or title is googled by judges, sponsors or appearance coordinators, they will find you! I have had so many appearances randomly pop up because people found my website. My Teen MN Gabby Taylor's website was found by WCCO News when they googled “cheerleading injuries” and she ended up getting to do an interview on the news. Way cool! It might seem like a pain in the butt and time consuming but it is so worth it. I also suggest linking a blog to your personal website so judges can see what you have been doing and hopefully you can impresses them with all of your involvement in the community or platform. When I wanted to be Miss MN Intl, I copied everything the current Miss MN Intl was doing. I wanted to show the judges I capable of doing her job, and was already doing it! Choose to act today, for the job you want tomorrow. Watch videos of past International pageants. I went to the International pageant when Jurnee Carr and Ciji Dodds were crowned to figure out what exactly the International system was looking for in a queen. I watched past videos of the state Intl competition constantly, like seriously, all the time, everyday. I knew the video so well, that when I got to the actual competition, it felt familiar. I already knew the walking routines and the way the show was set up so when I actually performed my mind wasn’t distracted with, “where am I supposed to stand?? Which way do I exit the stage? Do your homework ladies, study past queens as much as possible.

Clean up your Facebook. I know many girls don’t think about their Facebook but anything can be found on the Internet. If you have any inappropriate or un-queenly photos, quotes, or comments, delete them. When you become a titleholder, you are always a titleholder, on stage, off stage, at home, out with friends, even at the grocery store. You represent and will create an image that reflects on all titleholders, all pageants, and most of all, you. By creating a positive and neutral persona online, will help your chances with the judges because they do look for websites and Facebooks. In the past, I have judged pageants and looked up every contestants Facebook pages, twitters, instagrams... pretty much anything I could find on the internet about them. Boy was I surprised! Some girls had underage drinking photos, and other very inappropriate things I probably shouldn’t mention here.. but the point is, it completely turned me off from some of the contestants that I felt would make great titleholders based on their paperwork, bios, and platform work. Because I found some bad pics and status updates, I ended up not giving them high scores because I felt they were irresponsible in their “real life”. The point is, be the queen, all day, every day, in all aspect of your life.

6 months – 3 months before: Appearances appearances, appearances. If you haven’t already, which I hope you have, you should be obsessed with finding new and creative ways to promote your platform. It is crunch time. Make sure you have or will be involved in three big deal events or campaigns related to your platform. The judges will want to know what you have been doing and being able to list three things you are proud of is necessary to keep in your interview rolodex. Continue updating your website and blog! And start shopping for the perfect wardrobe and competition pieces. If you can, attend a trunk show and speak to fashion reps about upcoming trends and styles. Order your dresses with enough time to alter. Some gowns can take up to 10 weeks to arrive plus you might need alterations so start at least 11 weeks before for wardrobe. Start a great work out and diet plan. Follow my blog in the next upcoming weeks for details about wardrobe and fitness.

3 months -1 month before: Finalize wardrobe and work on alterations. If you are like me and you have an uncommon body shape, mine being short and stubby, get your clothing fitted by an alterations or seamstress. Even a quarter of an inch can make a huge difference when on stage. Make sure the hem of your gown and long dresses actually touch the ground. There is nothing I hate more than an evening gown that is too short and shows your shoes when you are standing still. Your shoes should only be visible when you are walking. To keep from stepping on the hem, practice walking before with your competition shoes on. Lightly flick your foot out as you step to keep the gown from creeping under your feet. More information about evening gowns next week. Keep working out and sticking to your diet! Set fitness and diet goals to keep you motivated. I had a goal to be able to bench press my own body weight by the time I got to nationals because I though it would be a cool fun fact. It really kept me excited to get in the gym every day and even though I didn’t quite reach that goal, at least I got close. (90-pound bench press, woop woop!) At this point you should be living and breathing pageant. I highly suggest mock interviewing. I started working on my interview and public speaking skills about 9 months before my pageant and it paid off! Even if you think you are well versed on your platform and a confident speaker, you still need to practice. Also you should be making final edits to your paperwork, bio and platform sheets. Make sure there are no typos!! And remember, the judges will critique how orderly, comprehensive, and well written you paperwork is. I even give extra points for paperwork printed on high quality paper. Its just another chance to show the judges how dedicated, prepared, and qualified for the title. Make you paperwork reflect who you are as a professional.

1 month- 2 weeks before: Make a list of all the events going on during the week of the pageant. Make an excel spreadsheet of all the different events matched up with the dress, undergarments, jewelry and shoes you will need. This seems excessive but trust me, when you only have 10 mins to change and be ready for the next event, it s important to be organized. I even had separate garment bags associated with each day of competition with everything I needed in them that day. Tuesday, I grabbed the garment bag labeled Tuesday, laid everything in it on the bed, and then referred to my spreadsheet between each event to make sure I had the right dress, and accessories. It made everything move quickly and without stress.  If you aren’t familiar with pageant hair and makeup, meet with a professional. I know I tend to like trendy make up rather than flattering stage make up so learning how to do my make up differently was difficult. With the help of a professional to point out why a thin eye liner instead of a thick liner for example, was better for my face, helped me create a new and more polished look.

1 week before - a few days before: Get really strict with diet and working out. This is the time to make sure everything is in order, you are prepared in every aspect and you are ready for a crown! Practice interview questions like a crazy person. As silly as it sounds, I interviewed myself in the car constantly. Talking to myself seems silly but it helped me keep my thoughts and bullet points organized. I also made sure that I could answer the same question multiple ways while still getting the same information out. In the past, a judge has literally asked me the same question twice in a row just to make sure I wasn’t memorizing my answers. Make sure you are keeping your skin moisturized and clean. I have terrible oily skin and constantly break out so I was doing face masks and deep exfoliations every night to make sure my skin was flawless during completion. What you do to you face, now, is how it will look next week.

The day before: Get a spray tan, drink tons of water, and get a solid night of rest. Pack up your wardrobe in the car and keep your social networks, sponsors and supporters updated with your progress. Take pictures of yourself getting ready and preparing. I have a picture of myself in front of my thousands of bags of luggage before leaving for nationals, and a picture of my tiny car jammed with all those bags as I drove out of the driveway. It is one of my favorite memories. Live in the moment and be thankful for where you are in your life. Cherish every second of this incredible journey.

For the next few weeks I will be getting more in depth with all areas of pageant competition such as evening gown, fun fashion, fitness, and interview. Keep following to get Miss Internationals best tips and tricks! :)


Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012


Popular Posts