Interview is your first and only one-on-one interaction with the judges. A strong interview is essential to winning any title. However, a Miss America interview, whether it be at the local, state or national level, is one of the most challenging. After all, the organization is the largest provider of women's' scholarships in the world. The woman selected as Miss America receives a $50,000 scholarship.
Miss Hawaii 2021 Top 5. Photo: Instagram via @poi_planet
This is in addition to any scholarship money won during the preliminary competitions as well as during the local and state competitions. With this much money on the line, the judges are going to make sure a contestant is well-spoken and articulate. One of the keys in preparing for interview is to know the system. Each system is looking for a different type of girl and therefore has a different type of interview. Some may be a panel while others are round-robin. Questions may be geared towards current events and your resume or the judges may want to know more about your personality. (Read: How to Prepare for a Local Miss America Pageant)
Before getting into the common questions asked during a Miss America interview, it is important to understand how the Miss America interview works. The interview counts for 25% of a contestants score.
Miss America follows the traditional panel style. At the local level, the panel consists of five judges. State pageants may have more. The national competition has two panels of judges; one for the preliminary competition and a star-studded one for finals night. Each judge has to be certified by the Miss America Organization in order to serve on the panel. When you walk into the room, the judges will be sitting behind a long table. You will walk to the podium and stand behind it.
The interview lasts a total of 10 minutes and is timed by an auditor. The first 30 seconds are reserved for opening questions. The following nine minutes consists of the judges firing questions at will. There is no predefined order and the judges may not ask the same number of questions. Some judges may ask many questions while others sit back and simply observe your answers. You will be asked different questions based on your platform, resume, current events and the progression of the interview. (Read: 10 Common Questions Asked in a Miss America Interview)
For the final 30 seconds, you will be stopped by the head judge and allowed to either finish answering the last question if you have not done so or give a closing statement.
1. Tell me about your platform.
Miss America puts a strong emphasis on community service. Miss America serves as a national goodwill ambassador for the Children's Miracle Network, the organization's national platform. Considering this role is a crucial part of holding the title, the judges will want to see how well you advocate for your own personal platform.
When answering this question, it is important to state the name of your platform followed by a one or two sentence explanation that gives an accurate summary. Follow the statement up with how you have advocated for your platform. For example:
"My platform is called 'Be the Change.' With my platform, I aim to increase volunteerism within the community and show the importance of giving back. I have partnered with a local youth center where I help coordinate volunteer programs for high school students. I also run multiple social media pages where I help connect friends and followers with volunteer opportunities."
Miss Hawaii 2021 Contestants in Interview. Photo: Instagram via @mwokhawaii
2. "Why do you want to be Miss _____?"
If you prepare no other answer for interview, prepare this one. While this is a common question among many systems, and it holds quite a bit of weight in a Miss America interview. Again, the organization puts a huge emphasis on community service. You need to understand the community and how you can use the title to help better that community. Research the area you will be representing. What is the community known for? Is it a city that never sleeps or a small, rural town? What are the problems affecting the community and how is the community addressing them? Also research former titleholders. How were they embraced in the community? Did they make a lot of appearances or only a handful? How can you fill the shoes of the previous titleholder and what can you bring to the title?
Once you have these questions answered, you can start preparing your response. The most important thing is to be honest and hit on the points mentioned above. For example:
"I want to be Miss City because I love this community. Through my platform, I have been able to engage with members and officials who welcomed my platform and ideas with open arms. With the title of Miss City, I hope to continue to build on these connections, raise even more awareness about volunteerism as well as use my platform to help individuals further engage and experience this unique city."
3. "I see here that you love (insert hobby). Tell me about that."
This one comes directly from your resume. This type of question is used to A.) see if you are telling the truth and B.) learn more about your personality.
When answering this question, the "why" is the most important. What about this hobby made you fall in love with it? Share those personal details with the judges. After all, interview is the only chance you will have to talk about it in length. For example:
"I absolutely love dancing. I had a lot of energy as a child, so I started taking lessons when I was four. I started out in ballet and over the years have studied jazz, lyrical, contemporary and hip-hop. However, ballet has remained my favorite. When I am dancing, I feel like I can conquer the world."
4. "What are the four points of the crown and which do you feel is the most important?"
As with any pageant, the mission statement is important. It explains the systems morals and values. Miss America sums up their mission in the four S's: style, scholarship, service and success. The 4 S's are called the "four points of the crown" since the Miss America crown has four distinct points.
For this question, there is no wrong answer. As long as you know the four points, what they mean and can articulate your answer, you will do great. For example:
"The four points are style, scholarship, service and success. I believe service is the most important because what we do for others is greater than what we do for ourselves. My life mission is to leave a positive mark on the world and leave the world a better place than it was when I found it. I plan to do this by dedicating my time and effort to those who need help. I may not be able to change the world but if I can help one person a day I know that maybe I have changed their world."
A Miss America interview is tough. The judges have the job of choosing not only a titleholder but an ambassador for the community. Download our 233 Questions below for more questions you'll be asked in your next interview.