Having recently judged several state pageants, I had the difficult job to trying to select someone who was authentic, confident and driven. The interview portion of the process offered an opportunity to probe a bit deeper into each person, so I had more information to help me make a decision. The evening gown and fun fashion sections were difficult because there is less interaction. The audience may imagine that the judges are looking for the prettiest dress, but I was looking for someone who SHINED!
I can’t speak for every judge, but I looked for the basics first:


  • Does the dress fit correctly?  
  • Are the shoulder straps drooping or cutting in?
  • Is the waist too big, too tight?
  • Is the contestant stepping on the dress because it is too long?
  • Is the contestant adjusting the dress as she walks?
  • Is the dress too tight -pulling and creasing across the thighs?


  • Every figure is different - does the style flatter the contestant’s figure?
  • Is a chesty girl falling out of her gown?
  • Did the petite girl choose a large print that overwhelms her?
  • Is the full figured girl showing too much skin?
  • Is the dress wearing the girl?
  • Does the dress bring attention to her best feature?
  • Can the contestant walk in the shoes with a normal gait and grace?

Then I look for the “Shine” factor:


  • Is the contestant wearing a plastered on smile that never changes with a blank look in her eyes
OR is the contestant looking at everyone in the audience, moving her head, and her body naturally?
  • Does her expression change, brighten and look as though she is enjoying herself?
  • Does she flirt with the audience?
  • Does she model the dress and pose in a fluid fashion or does she walk, stop, and pose robotically?
  • Does she look like she is scared or having the time of her life?

It sounds easy to walk around in pretty clothes, but the details including facial expressions, head, shoulders, arms and hands should be practiced so that during the actual performance your mind can bask in the moment. Advice, walk in your performance shoes until they feel nature. Nothing is worse than having a wobbly moment in new shoes to kill your confidence.
Shine on,

Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012


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