Preparing for a pageant is a lot like preparing for a marathon. Training starts months in advance, with many hours dedicated to practicing a number of different competitions. On top of practicing, contestants must stay healthy, eat and drink right and mentally prepare – among many other things! With the many elements to juggle, it’s likely you may be either over or under compensating when it comes to your pageant preparations. Here’s is a list of eight of the top mistakes you may be making and to be aware of as you prepare for your next big pageant.
1. “Get'cha head in the game” The mind is a terrible thing to waste! One of the most important things to do before you start on the pageant prep journey is to get your head in the game. Think about what you’d like to get out of this pageant experience and develop your to-do list from there. Perhaps you’ve scored low in interview in the past, making this your top priority. You’ll be able to pull your strength to increase your score with how you mentally prepare yourself. The power of positive self-talk can elicit a dramatic shift in both your pageant preparation and performance. Feeling overwhelmed, unsure and nervous will only cause you to manifest these negative thoughts in the interview. Even if you do feel all of the above, tell yourself otherwise. You don’t have to believe it at first – and you won’t – but with repetition and time, your mind will catch up and start to believe the positive messages! (Read: How to Use Positive Affirmations to Win a Pageant) "The biggest thing that I learned this summer was that when I make a decision related to a pageant, I need to stick with it, even if someone has a different opinion," said experienced pageant contestant Grace Myler. "If you start to second guess yourself, you lose your focus."
Because Troy Bolton says so. Photo: giphy.com
2. “Let’s get physical” Work it, girl! The benefits of working out and physical activity not only will help you rock that swimsuit but increase your overall energy and positive outlook. Even if there is no swimsuit competition or you are just blessed to be a size zero with little to no effort involved, you can still reap the many benefits of working out. Exercise decreases stress and anxiety, helps you get better sleep at night and even improves your memory! These are all key ingredients to a successful pageant prep. Don’t forget to hit that gym or use a fitness app. I love Sworkit, which is available for download in the iTunes store. Make sure you’re incorporating proper rest, nutrition and hydration, while you’re at it! Beauty starts from the inside out. Drinking water is the number one tool to keep in your bag of beauty secrets. Don't forget to reward yourself for a job well done! (Read: The Best Workout Moves to Build a Pageant Body)
Do your best at the gym, but allow yourself a couple rewards now and then! Just don't go overboard. Photo: giphy.com
3. “There is no wrong or right – just write” There it is: magazine one. Newsletter two. Maybe a few PDFs or Word documents to fill out and return. Welcome to the overwhelming world of what can be pageant paperwork! Because it can be extensive, don’t wait until the last minute to start writing. Many pageant contestants worry about what to talk about on their pageant resumes or paperwork. While this is definitely a legit concern, the only way to start is to simply begin. Staring at the paper won’t get it done any quicker (trust me, I’ve tried). Just pick up the pen or keyboard and start writing. When you’re done, take it to a coach, friend or parent for proofreading and suggestions. They’ll help you fine-tune as needed! (Read: 5 Secrets to Keep Your Pageant Paperwork More Interesting)
Kermit loves pageant paperwork. Photo: giphy.com
4. “I feel pretty, oh so pretty” And you darned well should! After all, you’re entering a pageant, right?! I think hiring a professional hair and makeup artist is one of the more important aspects to consider not only while competing, but in preparations as well. This gets overlooked because many contestants may think they are a) skilled enough to do it themselves b) won’t have time during the weekend or c) cannot afford this luxury. I use to think these things as well until I hired my first professional HMU team. In preparing, they went the extra mile and reviewed my outfits beforehand, consulted quite a few times via phone and even did a trial run. During pageant weekend they not only inspired me to do my very best, but they laid out a perfect timeline to get me ready and had me everywhere on time. Not having to worry about my own hair and makeup was absolutely priceless. (Read: Top 10 Pageant Makeup Artists of 2016)
Don't let this happen to you! Consider hiring a professional hair and makeup artist. Photo: giphy.com
5. “Show me the money!” One mistake you might be making is allocating your money to the wrong places, especially if you are on a budget. Your most important fees to consider are the entry fees and lodging. Those are costs you can’t escape. Don’t start shopping for your dress or splurging on extravagant items until you know you can pay your basic fees. So many contestants simply save up and pay for items on their own. Securing sponsors isn’t always on the forefront of their minds. I think many ladies are doing a disservice to their bank accounts when failing to consider the mutually beneficial relationship that sponsorships create. There are many businesses out there who still love to sponsor pageant contestants; you just have to get creative and know where to look. The best tip I have is to ask people you or your family regularly do business with: hair stylist, dentist, orthodontist, doctor, house cleaners, trash or recycling company, grocer, nail salon, home builder, etc. (Read: Pageant Sponsorship Do's and Don'ts) A few years ago, I worked really hard on sponsorships for my daughter and was able to secure about 75% of the total cost of her nationals trip covered by sponsors (including both fees and some in-kind services). If you're looking to raise additional funds for your pageant email, firstname.lastname@example.org. We have developed a systematic way to help girls raise money for their pageant.
Just like Jerry says. Don't be afraid to go ask potential sponsors for help. The worst they could say is "no!" Photo: giphy.com
6. “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!” Want to compete at peak performance over pageant weekend? Hire a pageant coach! I see many newer pageant girls go into the weekend with so much potential and natural talent. But at the same time, so many beginner mistakes being made left and right. That’s okay – we’ve all been the new girl, but you don’t have to be if you enlist the help of a professional during your preparations. Coaches will be honest about your strengths and weaknesses and provide constructive feedback to put your best foot forward. The truth may sometimes be hard to hear, but that is what makes winners win. Being able to admit their weaknesses and pushing through to overcome obstacles. So grab a coach and start practicing! (Read: Do You Really NEED a Pageant Coach?)
Oh but you can. Pull up your big girl pants and listen to your coach! Photo: giphy.com
7. “Cause we are living in a material world, and I am a material girl” Pageant contestants certainly have great taste in wardrobe! I’m never short of impressed with all the amazing things I see on stage, especially in evening gown and fun fashion lately. With so many contestants out there really upping the amp on wardrobe, you’ve got to be competitive in that area. I’m not saying you need to go drop thousands upon thousands of dollars on a brand new wardrobe, but you do absolutely need to be pulled together. Don’t skip a visit to your professional seamstress. If you think it fits, or you aren’t sure – it probably doesn’t. Anything you buy off the rack likely has some small element that could be altered to fit your specific shape even more beautifully. Spend the extra time and money to ensure your entire wardrobe (including check-in and rehearsal items) fit you smashingly. (Read: 5 Signs Your Pageant Seamstress is an Expert)
Work that wardrobe, girl. Photo: giphy.com
8. “Girl’s just wanna have fun” Don’t lose sight of what is really important when preparing for your pageant: have fun! Of course, placing well and hopefully winning the pageant is a priority. But you shouldn’t dread the preparations or have the process feel like work. Be sure you reward yourself for a job well done as you continue to reach your goals. (Read: How to Have a Memorable Pageant Experience Even if You Don't Win the Crown) Don’t forget to lean on friends, family and sponsors as you prepare. Tackling your preparations alone will feel isolating. Practice your speech in front of your roommates. Go for runs with your cheerleading teammates. Go on wardrobe hunts with your best friend. Pageants should be one thing if anything: FUN. Keep your eye on this at all times, and you can’t go wrong.
Take your preparations seriously, but don't forget to have a little fun while you're at it. Photo: giphy.com
Going Forward Pageant preparations certainly can involve many aspects and can get long and tiring. Prioritizing the most important things, staying on track and being healthy and rested are important ingredients to your preparation recipe. Rely on your friends, family and coach to help get you through and keep you grounded. And if you don’t have a coach yet, think of consulting one during your next preparations. Coaches are great mentors, full of constructive feedback to help you achieve the best approach to the crown. If you haven't found one yet, there are so many great resources in our directory. Pageant Planet also offers one-on-one coaching and mock interviews, with packages starting at just $19 a month and a 30-day money back guarantee – you can't go wrong!
Her tip is: "Enjoy networking and remembering you are competing against yourself not others!"Learn More