As we begin a new Miss USA pageant season, I would like to get an early start with all the ladies looking to qualify next year. When a young lady is competing for a pageant that is a beauty pageant (such as the Miss USA pageant) you may hear the following: "Be yourself." "It is your inner beauty that matters." "You don’t have to spend a lot of money to compete." "You have a slim body, so your body looks fine." These statements may be partially true, but they can be misleading and do not acknowledge the reality of what it takes to become Miss USA.
So, I say it now and I say it loud, "Don't get it twisted, it is a BEAUTY PAGEANT!" For those of you that have the hopes and dreams of becoming Miss USA or Miss Universe. . . here's a reality check. It is a beauty pageant. Facial beauty matters, your body proportions matter, your height matters, your fashion sense matters, and your inner diva matters. This is the harsh reality, and when you get over it, and acknowledge the reality of the Miss Universe system, then you can prepare for the ultimate prize. As I have stated many times, preparation is the key to success. So let’s explore what it takes to compete successfully in the Miss USA pageant system.
Miss USA 2019 post-crowning. Photo: Miss Universe Organization
1. You must take a strong look in the mirror and look at yourself realistically—from facial features to body proportions. Determine what parts of the external you are aesthetically pleasing and what you feel will need some work.
2. Once you determine which facial features are your better assets and which you are not happy with, seek assistance to determine hair styling, color, and makeup options. If you feel that a feature such as your nose or jaw line is hindering your facial beauty, then you may want to seek out cosmetic surgery. I will address this later.
3. Are you slender? Are you full figured? Are you flat chested? Are you a hard body? Are you soft? Do your buttocks jiggle when you walk? The answer to these questions matter. Having a good fitness level is very important, but it is not enough. Your body proportions and overall look are important. Example: Some dancers have very muscular legs and fit abs. They are in great shape; however, if their shoulders and breasts do not balance out their muscularity, then they will not look proportioned on stage. Seek professional help to get a fitness and body-contouring program that can help you make proper physical adjustments.
4. If you are under five foot six inches, you are at a disadvantage. However, I have had girls under five foot six compete on the national stage. Please understand if you are short, you can win, but you must be twice as good to do so. If two girls are equally matched, the taller girl will win. Accept that reality. If you are short, your body must be in top condition, you must have flawless hair and make up, your clothing must be stellar, your modeling must be perfect, and by all means, nail the final questions. Otherwise you are getting first runner up to the girl that is equally as good and five foot nine. A great example of this is Tara Connor, Miss USA 2006.
5. Interview competition is not about being smart. For the ladies crossing over from the Miss America System, save your platform information and current events knowledge for onstage question as you will not need it for Interview Competition. In most state pageants, the interview is less than three minutes long. The purpose is for the judges to assess your personality and ability to hold a conversation. However, in the onstage question, the judges want to assess your knowledge of current events, social issues, or matters that you find dear to your heart.
6. Cosmetic surgery is an option you should not take lightly. If you do not need it, do not get it. Only you can make that determination. Only you will know if your nose pulls too much focus, if your teeth not being straight hinders your smile, if your breast size does not balance your body correctly, or if your ears stick out too much. Unfortunately, no fitness trainer, talent coach, or communication specialist can help you with this issue. If you decide to take this route, please do it for self-improvement and not just for a pageant, as it will be a decision affecting you for the rest of your life.
7. Miss USA is a beauty pageant as well as a modeling competition. Your modeling technique and stage presence is very important. If you have not been trained in runway modeling, get some training. A great body and fantastic clothing mean nothing if you do not know how to present them.
8. We have seen many contestants blow their chances of winning with the Onstage Question. The best example of this is Carrie Prejean, Miss California USA 2009. In short, she was asked if other states should legalize gay marriage, as the state of Vermont had. Many would say that she lost Miss USA because she stated that she was against gay marriage. This is not true. She lost the pageant because she simply did not answer the question directly. She stated that she “did not want to offend anybody,” but she felt that “marriage is between one man and one woman.”
She was not asked her stance on that; she was asked should other states do the same thing. Her presentation and bigoted tone did not help her either. At the 2009 Miss Virginia America pageant, Caressa Cameron was asked a similar question. Caressa also stated that marriage is between a man and a women; however, because she answered the question directly and was respectful and compassionate with her tone and presentation, she went on to win Miss Virginia and to become Miss America. The overall point here is simply to answer the question and respectfully justify why you feel the way you do.
Miss USA seems to be the one pageant that I get asked the most questions about race, ethnicity, height, weight, clothing, and overall subjective matters. The reason why this is the case is that at the end of the day, the Miss USA pageant is a beauty pageant. There is nothing wrong with this. The problem is that some do not want to look at the Miss USA pageant for what it really is. This list of tips should prepare you for the reality of Miss USA.