We hope that our new guide, “How to be a Successful Titleholder” will become the go-to guide book for your incredible reign! One of our main priorities at Pageant Planet is to empower every titleholder in the industry by giving them the most relevant information about performing the duties that come with a title and a crown. With that goal in mind, we felt it was time to create a comprehensive guide that would give our readers everything that you need to know to be fully equipped to be the best queen that you can be, to achieve whatever your definition of success is, and to leave a powerful legacy.
From the current Miss USA to a newly crowned first time queen, we consulted state, national and international titleholders from every division and a wide variety of pageant systems from here in the US to overseas. In addition to these outstanding individuals, we are also fortunate to have input from a national director, an international director and a woman with nearly 40 years in the pageant industry as a judge, titleholder, contestant and coach.
Imagine if you had an incredible company, and this company did all kinds of cool things that helped other people. Your company was so much fun to work for and you constantly had new people joining the company who wanted to be a part of it and help it grow. Now imagine that your company was getting so successful, that you could not do all of the work by yourself, and you really needed to hire someone to come in and help you manage all the different tasks. You realized that you needed help in some very specific areas and you wanted someone that you could trust, who would care about your company and would be willing to invest in it as much as you do.
So, you created a job description and listed all the qualifications that that individual would need to have. You needed a person who fit into the company’s culture and had the same values, and you wanted someone who would promote the company’s goals and would also make the people in it a priority. This person also had to be self-motivated and inspiring to others and would be able to take initiative and be completely focused on being a giver and not a taker.
Even though this example could generally fit just about any job in the corporate world, this is exactly what being a pageant titleholder is all about. It is after all, a real job, with actual responsibilities that go far beyond the initial crowning on pageant night.
If you think about being a titleholder in this way, it will help you understand why having a plan for your reign so important.
Imagine trying to hire someone for this position. When it came time to interview candidates for this job, how would you know for sure when you found the right person?
Obviously, you would want somebody who was personable, polished and professional, who also had excellent communication skills and was easy to work with, right? It would also be very appealing if they knew all about your organization and they truly enjoyed helping others.
Well, that’s just about as far as most contestants get when they think about how they need to come across in their interview. But, what the best contestants do, (and certainly the ones who end up with the crown have mastered), is that they have developed a detailed plan for their reign, and they are excited to talk about that plan with the judges.
Think about it this way: Imagine you had two candidates in front of you who were both equally qualified, and you really like both of them. But one of them had taken the time to thoroughly research your organization, knew every one of your goals and then created a well thought out and detailed plan for what they would do as a representative with your company. They had brainstormed an entire list of potential ideas to promote your objectives and came up with possible solutions for any challenges they anticipated. And, in addition to that, they had included ideas to increase growth in areas that they were personally passionate about.
The bottom line is that this candidate had made your company their own. They invested themselves in your organization before they were even a part of it! That candidate would impress you so much because they demonstrated that they did not want the job just because of what you could do for them. They went the extra mile and proved to you that they wanted the job because of what they could do for you.
Who wouldn’t want to hire that person as soon as possible? That is the power of having a plan for your reign!
Most contestants in pageantry have heard the term, “platform”, talked about quite a bit, and they think they have a pretty good idea of what that means when they are competing to win a title.
But do you fully understand why your platform is so necessary for your success when you actually do win the title of your dreams?
You might say that a platform is important because it gives you some kind of charity to focus on or a way to volunteer in your community. That is not an incorrect answer, but there is so much more that your platform does for you.
When it comes to being a successful titleholder, your platform is the foundation for that success!
As the queen, you are there to serve your pageant system, NOT the other way around. The best queens understand this and they take their position very seriously. As the queen, you also need to think of yourself as having a leadership position, and you need to own that. The greatest leaders are the ones who embrace service.
Your personal platform, as well as the pageant’s platform, if it has one, are the roadmaps for your year of service.
Rachel James is 25 years old and lives in Austin, Texas. She has been competing in pageants since 2009 and held multiple titles, most recently being 2019 National American Miss Texas and 2020 International Junior Miss Texas. When she’s not preparing for her next pageant, Rachel is a full time freelance makeup artist in the bridal, TV and film industries, a volunteer with the Girls Empowerment Network and a dog mom.
“I first started competing in pageants in 2009; however, I won my first major state title in 2019. The biggest change I made was I finally built a platform I was truly passionate about. When I did that, I was able to set real goals for what I would do with a title and I was able to communicate those goals to the judges in interview.”
“Every successful titleholder has their own unique way of developing a platform that is personal to them. For me, I started with a blank journal and started brainstorming all the things I am passionate about. I wrote about all of my favorite things, my personal goals, my life goals and defining experiences in my life. After filling my journal with as many ideas as I could, I created my platform “I Am More” to help people define themselves by their personalities, abilities and passions rather than conforming to society’s standard of beauty. Learning to accept, respect and love myself is something that took me a long time to do because I had to do it alone, but with my platform I aim to help as many young people as I can to build confidence.”
“Having a platform before I was a titleholder is what made me a successful titleholder. And when I no longer have a title or am no longer competing in pageants, I will still be just as passionate and involved with my platform because it is a part of who I am.”
In the same way that your platform was your main marketing tool and the way that you communicated your brand, your values and your goals to the judges before you won your pageant, that same platform will become your main marketing tool and the way that you will communicate your brand, your values and your goals to the community that you’re now serving.
The difference is that you are now attempting to “level up” your platform and make a larger impact. Your goal is to think bigger, act bigger and reach more people.
But, don’t feel like what you’re trying to do is harder, just because it’s a larger goal. It’s actually going to be much easier, because now you’re not alone. It’s no longer just you trying to make your mark, or catch a judge’s eye.
Now, you’ve not only got a very attention getting title, crown and sash that announces your position and authority, but you’ve got the support, encouragement and experience of your pageant family behind you.
This is the real power of the crown! As a titleholder, you can use this power to your advantage if you’re passionate, prepared and have a plan in place!
In one of the following sections called, “Lay out a plan to accomplish for the year”, we’re going to show you how to put that plan of yours in action.
Just remember, that there is strength in numbers and the more people you can include in your plans, the better. If you need help choosing a platform, read our article 107 Platform Ideas and How to Choose THE One to get those creative juices flowing!
Your job, as the girl with the plan, is to be so inspired by your platform and your goals that you will inspire those people that you included in your plan. Getting inspired and staying inspired is really the secret to the whole thing, and every queen will tell you that. You may have to keep reminding yourself of all the reasons that you wanted to be queen in the first place. You may have to continually keep your “why” in mind, because if you’re not motivated, no one will be. Need some tips on how to stay morivated? Listen to our podcast episose 5 Ways to Stay Motivated in 2019!
Natalie Dragt, the International Junior Miss Texas Teen 2020, began competing in pageants when she was a freshman in high school, winning the preliminary pageant title to Miss Texas Teen USA; Miss Permian Basin Teen. A year later she discovered the International Junior Miss System and fell in love with the sisterhood. Last year she became IJM Miss Lone Star State Teen and placed 7th in the world at the international competition, coming home with the International Junior Miss Spokesmodel title. Natalie has spent the past two years sharing her message “Fearfully and Wonderfully made,” to 2,000 girls throughout Texas. She will spend her year continuing to share this message of loving who you are and who God created you to be, with a goal of tripling her audience before she competes at the international competition in December.
“When I started down the road of creating a platform, I was stuck. I did a lot of praying and talked with my coach about what I should do. While thinking of what I wanted my pageant platform to be I thought back to when I was younger. I thought “if I could give my younger self advice right now, what would it be? What did I need to hear as a young teen?” After thinking for a bit, my platform seemed to come together in my head over night.”
“The best advice I can give to someone who wants to create a platform is to think about what you're passionate about. What could you have benefited from either in the past or maybe even the future? You're trying to fill a gap that no one has yet in your community and or state. For me that gap was a lack of teenage role models and teenage public speakers willing to talk about this topic to groups of hundreds and thousands. Picking something that you are passionate about will in turn lead to the creation of a strong platform that will allow you to stay true to yourself.”
A lot of contestants think that once that crown is placed upon your head, your new job begins. But, hopefully, you’ve already been preparing yourself for the job of queen long before that ever happened. Hopefully, the judges picked you because you already had a plan in place for what you would do if you were chosen for the title. After all, having a plan is typically what sets the winners apart from the rest of the competition.
Immediately after you receive your title, take the time to sit down by yourself, and then again with your pageant director, and plan out your year.
Having a plan most definitely made Cheslie Kryst Miss USA 2019 look like a winner, and the fact that she had already accomplished so much as a state titleholder likely made her stand out from the rest of the competition at the national level.
Cheslie talks about how she used goal setting techniques to create a plan for her reign and how it helped her to define her own success.
“Decide before you compete what you would like to do if you win the title and put your specific goals in writing as soon as you win. Each titleholder may have different goals and different ways of measuring success, so it is important to be candid with yourself and with your directors about what you want from your reign and how you can accomplish what you’ve set out to do.”
“When I won my state title, I wrote down ten goals I wanted to accomplish before I completed my year-long reign. In the six months before I competed at our national competition, I’d accomplished six of them and achieved a seventh when I won the Miss USA title.”
“Determine what “success” means to you as a titleholder, whether that is fundraising a certain amount of money for a charity or doing a certain number of speaking engagements or expanding your personal or professional network.”
“After that, adopt a “can do” attitude (find ways to make things work rather than finding excuses for why you cannot meet certain requirements or attend different events, etc.) in order to achieve what you have set your sights on doing.’
Need help setting goals? We have a guide for that, How to Set Goals (and Achieve Them) to help get you started.
We've also got a great Podcast Episode "Goal Setting 101" that you can listen to by clicking below that will help you get aquainted with setting goals as a titleholder.
Kassie Perkins Miss for America 2020. Photo: Kassie Perkins
Another national queen with a “can do” attitude is Miss for America 2020, Kassie Perkins. Kassie is convinced that your reign will be exactly what you make of it. She should know because this southern belle had to blaze a trail in pageantry this year, being the first woman ever to be crowned, “Miss for America”. Not only did she have to set the bar with a new title and a new system, she had to do it during a pandemic!
“Being a queen during COVID 19 had its frustrations. We, as folks in the pageantry industry, are accustomed to things going a very specific way. There is a formula we have followed for years and having to recreate the wheel and be incredibly flexible with our scheduling presents frustrations. However, it is possible to still accomplish your goals!
Don’t take no for an answer and keep making the most of your year! I’ve had the great opportunity to travel to the lower 48 states this year as Miss for America. Lots of flights were canceled, lots of plans were rearranged, but I just haven’t taken no for an answer. Be creative and tenacious! It’s not always going to be easy, but this is your time and your reign will be what you make of it!”
After the shock has worn off a little bit, and after you’ve written your thank you cards and you’ve allowed yourself to have some ice cream or chocolate, set aside an entire weekend to dedicate to planning what you want to accomplish in the next year.
The first thing you need to do is get yourself a giant old school desk calendar or wall calendar, some bright highlighter pens and maybe a real honest-to-goodness paper planner, in addition to the calendar on your phone. There is nothing wrong with using your phone for scheduling appointments and for reminding yourself of all of your responsibilities, but the problem with a phone is that you cannot see everything all at once. You can eventually put your plan for your year into a calendar on your pc or laptop too, if that works for you.
Don’t overlook this low tech suggestion just yet. Using an oversized desk planner allows you to look at your entire year “at-a-glance” and plan out appearances, community service opportunities, fundraisers, seminars and events for not just you, but for your pageant too. Your job now as a titleholder is very similar to that of being a business owner because you’re not scheduling things for only yourself; you need to be thinking about the current contestants that you’re mentoring, new contestants that you’re trying to recruit, potential sponsors you want to attract, fundraising events for the pageant, charity galas and so on. And, if you’re going to keep track of all of those puzzle pieces, you either need to get yourself an assistant or you need to develop a killer organizational system.
Once you’ve got your tools in hand, it’s time to conquer the year ahead! One of the best ways to approach the planning of your year is to use the principle of, ‘beginning with the end in mind”.
To, “begin with the end in mind” is one of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” which is a very famous bestseller written by Stephen Covey. It’s about creating your plan by starting at the end of your destination, and then working backwards.
What you want to do is to envision yourself at the end of your year, as you’re about to hand over your title to your successor. You want to think back to all of the things that you accomplished, all of the personal goals that you were able to achieve, all the appearances you made, all the volunteer opportunities that you took on and all of the projects that you got involved in.
Then after you have a complete list of what you plan to accomplish, you begin to think backwards, step by step, and figure out how you are going to get there from where you are now.
Does that make sense?
It might seem a bit “backwards” and maybe even a bit overwhelming, but you’ll be surprised at how much easier it can be to reach goals by approaching them this way.
This powerful concept is used by exceptional professionals in every area of life, business and competition. In fact, many coaches use this exact technique to teach elite athletes to imagine the successful result of an event before they start competing because it gives them an edge over their opponents.
If you’re clear in your mind about all the goals for the year ahead, you’ll be able to plan out how to achieve those goals more efficiently, you’ll be able to better communicate your plans and purpose to the people around you, you’ll be able to accurately measure your success along the way and, above all, you’ll have the proper motivation to tackle your year.
After you’ve created your plan, you want to revisit your projects and your calendar on a regular basis so that you can update your goals, re-assess your vision and readjust as you go along. It would probably be a good idea to do this on a quarterly basis, so that you stay on top of things.
Believe it or not, the 12 or so months of your time as a titleholder are going to go by very quickly! And, before you know it, phone calls, emails, invitations and requests are going to begin pouring in and your calendar is going to get filled up. If you’re not careful, all of those immediate demands on your time are going to overshadow the really important goals that you had set for yourself. Remember, this opportunity that you have been given has a expiration date!
Katherine McQuade International Junior Miss Maine 2020. Photo: Kathy Whittaker
Katherine McQuade is a modern renaissance woman; She has been a model for the famous designer, Ashley Lauren for most of her young adult years, is a competitive dancer as well as a dedicated dance teacher and has been competing in pageantry since she was 10 years old.
2018 was an extremely busy year for this beautiful blue eyed brunette, as she was awarded the title of Miss Queens United States and then Miss Maine United States 2018. She then competed at the Face of the World USA competition and placed 2nd runner-up. Then she found time to take on another prestigious responsibility with Cosmos International Pageants by becoming the 1st ever Miss Cosmos United States 2018!
Finally, on July 7, 2019, Katherine added the title of International Junior Miss Maine to her illustrious resume. During the finale, held in July 13, 2019, she placed 3rd runner-up.
Donating her time to charities and important causes has always been a major priority for Katherine, and as a result, she has received the Lifetime Presidential Award for Volunteer Service for over 5,264 hours of community service. She is also the founder of “Promoting Hope – Potholders for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness” in honor of her grandmother, Genevieve Bonura. Through this platform, she has raised thousands of dollars for pancreatic cancer research.
“You have one year to make your mark and leave your legacy, so you need to map out your course of action. It is a year of service as well as a year of amazing opportunities and memories.
Whether it was my first, second or third national/international title, I wanted to make it the best year of my life – one to look back on with awe – the places I visited, the people I’ve met, the opportunities that I have received and the forging of a lifelong bond and relationship with my sister queens and National/International Directors.
At the end of my reign, I certainly was not going to be a queen who was going to look back and think I should have done more, because I made sure that I accomplished everything I set out to do and more.
Being a National and International Queen means a great deal of hard work and sacrifice, excellent time management skills and staying focused. But, also be approachable, be available, be dependable, be kind and be on time. My crown and banner have gone everywhere with me – get that banner dirty – wear your crown in the rain. The wear and tear on your crown and banner will be a reminder of all your adventures.”
Finally, if you want to take your role as a titleholder to the next level, you could also do what some queens do and create a personal mission statement for your year, just as if you were a corporation.
What’s your vision for your reign? What gives meaning and purpose to your life and the legacy you want to leave? It can be anything you want it to be. You are the one who gets to define who you want to be at the end of your year. You are the one who gets to decide the impact that you’re going to have on the world around you.
Cierra Nalani Richards Miss Collegiate United States 2020. Photo: Alexis Carter
After you’ve gotten clear about your goals and plans for the year, the next thing you want to do is to create a strategic marketing plan to reach your ideal audience, and that may involve planning our how you’re going to post on social media.
You may be wondering why it’s so necessary to create a plan for posting if you are already experienced with posting regularly on social media. Well, first of all what we’re talking about is not the usual type of every day posting, where you take a cute selfie and shoot out a quick message to your peeps, whenever the urge hits you.
We’re talking about developing a marketing strategy to support your platform and the people that you’re trying to connect with.
Now that you’re a titleholder, you have to remember two key points about your relationship to social media going forward.
The first point you need to remember that you are now the face of an organization and you are now posting on behalf of your pageant as a business, not just posting for and about yourself.
Because you are now in a place of leadership, you are attempting to “level up” and make a larger impact. Your goal is to think bigger, act bigger and reach more people. Ring a bell?
The second point, and this one is crucial, is that you are also trying to connect with a very specific audience now, not just your own friends and fans.
One thing that you can do when you start to create a marketing strategy is to create what is called, an “Ideal Client Profile” for your social media plan. This is a valuable marketing tool that is very helpful in identifying the actual people that you want to connect with.
When thinking about your ideal audience, you want to really try to put yourself in their place. Try to think like your ideal client, and get a clear picture in your head of what this person feels is important, and what kinds of things that might get their attention.
Coming up with an “Ideal Client Profile” for how you use social media can save you lots of time, and help you focus in on the message that this person is going to best respond to.
Cierra Nalani Richards Miss Collegiate United States 2020 has come up with a smart strategy for growing her audience and finding other like minded individuals who care about the same causes.
Cierra Nalani has held the titles of Miss Relay for Life, Miss Queen for a Cure, International Junior Miss Washington, USA National Miss Washington, National United States Miss Washington Collegiate & Miss Collegiate United States. Her platform is Cancer Research & Prevention: Raising Money & Awareness for the Cure.
“Be intentional with your hash tags and tagging other accounts; this is the best way to authentically grow your audience and to find other like minded individuals who care about the same causes. I also try to post something every day; whether this is platform related, a throwback of competition, or just a cute photo in your crown and sash, it keeps your audience engaged. I also utilize stories. I find a lot more people share to their stories versus their profiles because it is temporary. By sharing items on your story you are able to disseminate information with low commitment. This is a wonderful avenue for those who like to keep a certain aesthetic on their page.”
“Pageantry is a wonderful opportunity for networking. For example, I just happened to write on my story that in my 17 years of working with cancer patients that I’ve never specifically worked with children with cancer. By putting this out there, I’ve received many requests from various places whose mission is eradication of childhood cancer. The more people you meet, in person or online, the more likely you’ll come in contact with the person or information you need. Soak up every opportunity to learn from and connect with others (and always be willing to give as much as you take).”
International Junior Miss Texas Teen 2020 Natalie Dragt also discovered her best marketing strategy through her own personal experiences.
“After being teased for years about my height (5’10), my red hair and having acne, my confidence and self esteem dwindled in junior high. I hated the fact that I stood out and that I didn’t look like the typical junior high girl. I envied my friends for their appearances and picked their features apart in my head to make myself feel better. Later in high school I found out that some girls wished they had my height for sports or some girls had wished they had my red hair. I was shocked that the girls I envied for their appearance were doing the exact same thing as I was.
I learned a few years later that junior high is a time where no one is comfortable in their own skin. That is why I chose the junior high age group to focus my attention on. Because I learned so much from my own experiences I wanted to share that with younger girls. I talked to my coach and she loved it. She brought up the bible verse “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” and I knew that was what I wanted to develop my platform around.
Once I decided upon my platform I had to learn to promote it. Figuring out where my audience was located was the easiest part for me since my age range is about 10-15. Social media is filled with young girls looking for someone to look up to along with parents eager to get their children to follow accounts that are safe for young eyes. Based on my marketing strategy, I have built my Tik Tok account to the point that I have over 100,000+ followers along with my Instagram that is standing at 4k.
Creating a schedule as to when to post is also very helpful. Each month I create a schedule that tells me what I will be posting each day. This keeps me from forgetting what I need to post and keeps me on a schedule so my followers can learn to rely on seeing my posts each day.”
Want to learn more about the importance of social media and how ot can make or break your time as a titleholder? Listen to our podcast episode "Social Media Guidelines: How One Post Cost Someone the Crown" by clicking below!
Kennedy Thomas Miss Alabama Earth USA. Photo: Ty Myrick
Centering your reign on your platform is really about personalizing your platform, and making it totally and uniquely your own. By doing that, your platform will always be an energizing and motivating force in your life that you will never tire of. When your platform is a reflection of who you are, then making appearances, volunteering and supporting that platform by performing community service will never feel like work to you.
But, it all has to start with you and the change that you want to make in your little corner of the world.
All of the titleholders that we spoke to felt like their platform chose them, not the other way around. Because their platform is so personal and is so central to their lives, finding ways to grow that platform has come pretty easily and effortlessly.
Another theme that seemed to come up a lot was the idea that you should strive to become the ultimate expert on your platform, or at least the one person in the room who knows the most about it. By becoming the go-to expert, your credibility and value is increased dramatically!
Kennedy Thomas, Miss Alabama Earth USA 2020 brilliantly explains how to do just that. Kennedy may be new to pageantry, but she started her pageant journey off strong by winning a state title right off the bat and placing in the top 10 at Miss Earth USA. She is also a junior attending Oglethorpe University studying Biology and Chemistry with the hopes of attending Medical School. Kennedy is also the CEO/Founder of Hearts for Barks Animal Humane Association.
“When choosing a platform, be sure it is on that which resonates with you and excites you. Nothing is worse than developing a platform with the hopes of making an impact when you, honestly, have no interest in the subject matter. The internal conflict that comes with not being true to yourself, your passion and your brand only adds more of a challenge when competing. When you have a platform that you truly care about, the act of educating others is no longer a task, but rather an opportunity to share.
Once you've selected your platform, decide what aspect of the subject you'd like to focus on. In the world of pageantry, particularly in pageants that represent specific causes, there is going to be a crossover of topics. The Miss Earth USA pageant system’s focus is on promoting environmental awareness, conservation and social responsibility.
If you really want to standout, then dig deeper into an issue, deeper than the average, and just when you feel like you are on to something, take it one step further. For example, if the subject of interest was on air pollution, rather than discuss the broad topic, narrow your focus to a smaller sub-category such as how air pollution affects mental health.
Next, make the ultimate leap, zero in on an even tighter focus point, perhaps focus on which social-economic groups are exposed more to air pollution and as a result have a higher rate of mental health issues. Narrowing your focus area now makes you a subject matter expert on a topic that is less likely to have been discussed in great detail with your audience.”
Centering your reign on your platform and making an impact on your community does not have to be an overly complicated undertaking at all. The following two young ladies are wonderful examples of teenage titleholders who created extremely personal platforms, which were born out of their life experiences. They both approached their year of service as if there were no limitations, coming up with simple, straight forward ideas and solutions that made the most of their individual talents.
Madeleine Johnson International Junior Miss Connecticut Jr. Teen 2020. Photo: PG Photography-Lisa Schaaf
Madeleine Johnson is the 2020 International Junior Miss Connecticut Jr Teen and she is 15 years old. She got her start in the pageant world by modeling with American Girl at age 6. Now, she is a two-time National Service Ambassador, Be Strong Student Ambassador, Adoptee Influencer and the founder of her own platform: “Love Branches Out”, which supports kids in foster care and adoptees like her.
Madeleine's journey with pageantry has allowed her to hold multiple titles including: Miss Chandler HSA ’20, Pageant Door Teen Photogenic June 21-27, UNM Arizona Jr Teen ’19, UNM Phoenix Jr Teen ’19 and Quarantine Queen Princess. She has also competed/placed in NAM and AZ Cinderella.
“I would advise a new titleholder to reflect on what they want to do to make an impact on their community, and make a plan centered on it. Once you decide what you want to focus on, find organizations you can work or partner with, reach out to places and ask how you can help. You could even start your own donation drive or charity event, or create your own project like I did.
As an adoptee myself, I built my personal platform, Love Branches Out, knowing that I wanted to help other adoptees and kids in foster care. I made my platform (and therefore my brand) my own by creating my logo, website and Instagram that matched my personality. I also designed the impact of my platform to go with my story and what I am passionate about. I think it’s extremely important for you to be both enthusiastic and relatable to what your platform is going to be about. After all, you will be the voice of your platform, so you have to love what you’re doing!
The ultimate goal of my platform is to be able to help kids in foster care, and break the stigma towards foster and adoption services. To do this, I reach out to local foster charities and collect needed items such as clothes or school supplies.
I also started my service focus called, “Cards of Encouragement”. Cards of Encouragement are different kinds of cards; inspirational, holiday or birthday and “just because”….that I make myself!
I create them to help brighten the days of the kids in foster care. So far, I have created over 100 each month, and my goal is to have completed over 1,000 cards before my upcoming international pageant in December.”
Olivia Brown Junior Miss Cosmos United States 2020. Photo: George Anthony Wakefield
Olivia Christie Brown is 14 years old and is the current Jr Miss Cosmos United States 2020. Her big sister was very involved in pageantry, so when she was just 9 months old her pageantry journey began. Over the last 13 years she has competed and won many titles including: Little Miss SC United States, Preteen Galaxy International, USA Legacy National, Jr Miss Folly Beach and finally, Jr Miss Cosmos United States. By following her goals and leading by example, she has received four Presidential Gold Service Awards in recognition of her community service and project work and for the nearly 700 accumulated service hours.
“I live in South Carolina where some pretty big storms created some really horrific devastation. Two years ago, my home was one that was damaged and I feel like it was during this time that I really grew to understand not only generosity but humility and the blessings that a stranger can have on another human being. Losing your house, not having food, not having someone to just take care of you is scary and sometimes embarrassing but for me, it was an experience that led to the creation of my platform, “Liv to Serve”.”
“One of my most recent and favorite projects was to create what I call, “A Blessing Box”.”
“A Blessing Box is a simple box that my dad and I created. We placed them in my church parking lot, and around my community. We call it “Livs’ Lil Pantry”. My family, members of our church and people in the community stop by to add a non-perishable item that other community members, who are in need, can stop by and take out a blessing or two or three.”
“I am really proud of the many service projects that I have been part of some big and some small, some taking a lot of time and others just a few minutes of my day.
I have helped raise over $445,000 for the American Heart Association, collected over 10,000 pounds of pet food for a local no kill shelter, collected supplies for victims of domestic violence, feeding local police and firemen (feeding the fearless) and collected recyclable bottle tops to create Buddy Benches to name just a few. However, Livys Lil Pantry is the thing that I am most proud of and I thank my title of Jr. Miss Cosmos US for this opportunity and for the opportunity to do even more.”
Need ideas on community service projects that you can complete as a titleholder? Check out our article "Service Project Ideas for Pageant Contestants" where we list several projects you can do.
Kassie Perkins Miss for America 2020. Photo: Miss for America
Being a titleholder is an ongoing balancing act of trying to reach your own personal platform goals, while also representing your pageant and furthering the goals of the pageant’s platform and charities. For a lot of titleholders, incorporating your pageant’s platform into your reign, while giving attention to your own platform can be a bit of a challenge, and in 2020, that task got even tougher.
During the Covid-19 Pandemic, the majority of the pageant community struggled with finding ways to continue to support their platform goals, simply due to the fact that everyone was practicing social distancing, and for many months everyone was on lock down to some extent.
Miss Collegiate United States 2020 Cierra Nalani Richards, describes how the queens in her system came up with an ingenious idea for continuing to support her pageant’s national service project this past year.
“While the National United States Pageant doesn't have a national platform, collecting pop tabs for Ronald McDonald House Charities is our National Service Project. Because RMHC have been closed to the public, we’ve been focused on collecting pop tabs for their recycle program versus actually working in the houses. Because these children are “immune system compromised” they need to be protected from the public during the pandemic. By continuing to collect pop tabs, we were able to support their fundraising every time we ate or drink anything from a can! For my personal platform, we have also gone virtual. Utilizing social media has been incredibly important in keeping the momentum of our events going, even if they look different this year. Critical programs like Road to Recovery and Hope Lodge still need funding. Cancer hasn’t stopped and neither will we.”
Miss for America 2020, Kassie Perkins, is the very first woman ever to be awarded the National title of “Miss for America”, because the pageant is brand new, recently created by the long running and extremely popular Mrs. America system. Miss for America was designed for ladies of any age who are unattached; single, widowed, or divorced.
Kassie began her journey with her platform, “Page Ahead” supporting Childhood Literacy, nearly ten years ago. She always had a passion for education and literacy and knew that the best way to overcome the financial hardships that she was faced with as a child was through education. Kassie received a full scholarship to college that afforded her the opportunity to chase her dreams and passions in Nashville!
Through Kassie’s personal platform, “Page Ahead”, and her partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, she has spoken with over 60,000 young readers across Tennessee. She has raised over $30,000 for the Imagination Library, wrote and published her children’s book “Where there is a Will, there is a Way”, and advocated for childhood literacy in Zambia Africa. Kassie loves visiting schools and talking with students about how education begins with literacy and how education changed her life!
“I believe that incorporating your pageant’s platform into your reign is such an important topic that we must address as titleholders. How do we advocate for the organizations we have partnered with as state titleholders AND our national platforms.
I am so very thankful for the opportunity to grow my personal platform of Page Ahead, which supports childhood literacy as a national titleholder. However, knowing that I don’t only support my platform anymore and that I also support the platform of my organization, "The Victoria’s Voice foundation", I wanted to get creative and learn about how to best support both this year.
For me, it was an easy commitment as my father had been in active addiction for 20 years and in recovery for 5. Victoria’s Voice supports addiction prevention, awareness, recovery and destigmatization. I was ready to help in any way the organization would like to have me and worked independently to set fundraising goals and do positive and impactful work in the addiction/recovery community.
Knowing that I was not just supporting my platform, but also the platform of the Miss for America organization in tandem with mine was the first step to creating a beautiful blend between the two and delegating my time appropriately.”
Beckie Takashima Miss Washington for America 2020, shares the same national platform as Kassie does and she says that when it comes to incorporating your pageant’s platform into your year of service, sometimes you may have to be creative and help people see the connectedness if it is not completely obvious.
“Many platforms are interconnected without even realizing it. My platform of “Unity in Community” strongly ties in to my pageant system’s national charity, the Victoria Siegel Foundation because drug abuse and mental and physical health all go hand in hand. Without strong social ties or being active in your community, one may find it easier to succumb to drug and alcohol abuse. The two are not the exact same cause but can often draw from one another.
I really focused on working with family friendly festivals so it was only fitting that I partnered with Macaroni Kid, a national organization that focuses on children. I believe no matter what your platform is there is always a charity or two that you can partner with and help promote on social media and at events throughout the year. Sometimes you may have to be creative and help people see the connectedness if it is not completely obvious. Many times for me once I get started talking to people about the heart of my platform being fighting loneliness and in turn fighting drug and alcohol abuse or physical and mental health issues they always empathetically state, “Yes! This is so true!”
We will get into more about social media later in the guide, but for our purposes here, it’s important to always be consistent in your social media posting by always using your pageant’s mottos and hash tags. Every pageant has a motto or a tagline, such as the Miss Universe motto, “Confidently Beautiful”. And, every pageant today has a hash tag or series of hash tags that they use.
Creating partnerships with service organizations is a very similar approach to obtaining sponsors, so you may want to read that section too in order to gain a better understanding of how to go about this process. You’re trying to form relationships with other individuals who share similar values and goals as you do. But, in the case of organizations that are dedicated to some form of service, you have to remember that you are offering them your services as well.
Of course, we should point out that your approach to creating partnerships may differ depending on what kind of a titleholder you are.
For example, your goals are going to be very different depending on whether you are a state, national or international level titleholder.
If you are a national or international titleholder, then you have to master the ability to “up level” your platform and promote it on a much larger scale than you may have done previously. It’s going to be important that you find partnerships and organizations that understand what you’re trying to do and who are a good fit.
Miss Royalty International Teen 2019 Rosa Grippa keeps it very simple. She says that just showing up is a great way to start making connections!
“The most important thing to remember about being a titleholder is you are now the representative and face of everything that pageant system stands for and strives to be. A pageant system is no better than its royalty, which is why the competition process is so rigorous. Directors want women who will stand out and stand up for their causes.
Just going to service organization events can be a great way to start making connections. Wearing your crown and sash to one of these events is a great conversation starter!
When you first become a titleholder, it becomes apparent very quickly how much public speaking you will have to do. I quickly found out that I needed to learn ways of being a better communicator and develop more ways of keeping an audience engaged. All your sister queens and formal royalty are there to help you become the best titleholder you can be, so make sure you use that resource often.”
2020 International Junior Miss Connecticut Jr Teen Madeleine Johnson creates relationships by connecting with service organizations that have a common thread to her personal platform.
“Once you have developed your platform, you will need to decide what you are going to accomplish, with or without a title. Reach out to organizations that relate to your platform and don’t be afraid to get involved, start collecting donations, and promote your platform as much as you possibly can!
When you meet the owner/leader of a possible organization, make sure you feel comfortable with them and that your values match. My best advice would be: trust your instincts, just because you can work with an organization doesn’t mean you have to if it doesn’t feel right.”
Cierra Nalani Richards, Miss Collegiate United States 2020 advises adopting a positive attitude towards seeking out partnerships.
“Reach out without fear of a “no.” You’ll be surprised who’s excited to help, for example, my local automotive repair shop is happy to put up posters/flyers for me and has even sponsored me since my very first pageant! Don’t let yourself become discouraged if organizations don’t respond or say they cannot help at this time. If the interaction is positive they may reach out again in the future or connect you with another person or business who would like to create a partnership.”
Every pageant is different in how they go about handling their titleholder's appearances and every director is different in how much freedom they allow you to have.
Some directors are very hands on, while others give their queens the ability to do pretty much whatever they wish. Your pageant director and your pageant system may have a lot of ideas and plans in place for you and your year of service, but in most cases, it is still up to the titleholder to be prepared to book her own appearances and go about setting up her partnerships with other organizations that she wishes to work with.
This may be a bit of a shock to some contestants when they end up winning their dream title. They may have been under the impression that the pageant arranges for all appearances and service opportunities, and all you have to do is show up with your crown and sash. But the truth is that finding those appearances and networking is going to be up to you beautiful!
Miss for America 2020, Kassie Perkins admits that having to not only find your own appearances, but having to book them yourself can be a real challenge, especially with a national or international title. Sometimes you need help, and this lady knows what she’s talking about since she spends about half of her week on the road travelling to appearances and events!
“When beginning your journey as a national titleholder, you may find that booking your own appearances and scheduling can be very time consuming. I know that I couldn’t have spent the last 365 days without a lot of help, most of all from trusted friends and family. One of the best decisions I’ve made as Miss for America was to employ a part time assistant. This individual helps book appearances, travel, works with sponsors and gives me the freedom to “Queen” while I trust that the back office things are being taken care of. Every girl needs a little help sometimes!”
So, let’s assume that you have done a fair amount of thinking and planning about what you would do if you were to become queen, and you’ve got a bunch of ideas in your head that you just haven’t figured out how to implement yet.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a crystal clear plan in place for your appearances and service opportunities. You most likely have some things that you would like to do and some ideas of what you wish to accomplish, and that’s a great place to start!
Beckie Takashima who was recently crowned Miss Washington for America 2020, began practicing the art of creating appearances before she ever won her state title. She experimented with the principle of “Acting As Is”, and it ended up paying off big for her!
Beckie has not been involved in pageantry for very long, but she’s had a fascinating career so far and has made quite an impact. Ironically, Beckie first discovered the world of beauty pageants by competing in the Mrs. Division. After her marital status changed, she decided to enter the newly created “Miss for America” system, a sister pageant to the long running and extremely successful Mrs. America pageant. Miss for America was designed for ladies of any age who are single, widowed, or divorced; essentially just unattached.
“My pageantry plan for the past year before I won the state title revolved heavily around living my life “as though I already had the state title”. I set a goal for myself to complete at least 50 appearances! I wanted to know what it would be like to do so many appearances and I wanted to see if doing that was something I genuinely enjoyed. It was important to me that I ensure that I even wanted the state title in the first place. Of course I had a blast getting very involved in my community and enjoyed every minute.
Many times I find events already taking place and will send the organizer a message asking if it is ok for me to make an appearance or even volunteer. Once they say yes I will verify that it will be ok to wear my sash and crown to the event and then I also mention that I will help advertise their event on social media.
I always offer to find more volunteers for them if they need it which they often welcome. I invite the other girls in my pageant organization, my sash sisters, to come along with me or I might even invite my own family members to help. I cannot recall a time when I had someone turn down me wearing my sash and crown. Most community leaders are very welcoming of the pageant community and understand we are only trying to make a difference and support their event.”
For the most part, your primary purpose at an appearance is to be a representative of your pageant system, and your secondary purpose is to promote your own personal platform. An appearance may or may not involve volunteering or working at an event. It may be as simple as showing up in your crown and sash and socializing with people, or signing autographs and taking pictures. So, when you think about what you’d actually like to do, really try and broaden your definition of what an appearance means to you.
Along with the nature of your appearances, you need to make a decision about how many you want and can comfortably do within a given amount of time. Can you commit to doing one appearance per week? Or do you need to be more conservative and only do a couple per month?
You should sit down with your pageant director and have an honest conversation about what is expected of you and what you can actually take on. If you’re going to school, or have a full time job or other time consuming responsibilities, you have to be able to balance all of those things and not allow your queenly duties to be overwhelming. But, at the same time, you have to honor what you agreed to do as a titleholder.
When you are thinking about the type of appearances that you want to focus on during your reign, think about the type of appearances that you want to do as well as the type of organizations that you want to get involved with.
Do you want to engage in public speaking opportunities? If so, you can target schools, civic organizations and service organizations.
Do you want to just be there and not spend so much time speaking? If that’s your goal, then try to find modeling or fashion show opportunities, ringing the bell for the Salvation Army during the holidays or even find a parade to ride in.
If you’d like to visit other pageants and be visiting royalty, you can either offer to be a judge, or just go and encourage the girls who are competing.
Get your calendar out and start doing research, making phone calls and sending emails as soon as that crown hits your head. You don’t want to spend too long trying to figure this stuff out because it could take many weeks, or even months to set these things up before hand.
If you really want to be able to market yourself professionally, you’ll want to invest in putting together a press kit. A good press kit can do wonders for your branding and will help you look legitimate. A press kit contains a press release, a headshot, a one-page bio, a letter of introduction from your pageant director on official pageant letterhead and any other supporting documents and materials that can help you to book appearances.
Also, if you are hoping to leverage your pageant career into a profession in the entertainment industry in the future, as a journalist, an actress, a television host, or anything along those lines, you should seriously consider putting together a “Reel”. A Reel is an industry term for a sample of your on camera work. This is especially important if you wish to make appearances where you are serving as a Master of Ceremonies or in some other kind of official hosting capacity.
If you want to seek out potential public speaking gigs, then putting together a recorded collection of prior speaking engagements would be very wise, as well.
And, while we’re on the topic of networking like a pro, every time that you are at an appearance, make it a goal to book an appearance from that appearance. There is no greater time to set up future opportunities than when you are in the moment, and already making an appearance.
Your pageant director will most likely go over how they expect for you to behave at the appearances you make on behalf of the pageant, and in fact, you may be required to sign a contract that stipulates how you must behave at those events.
Contracts often say things like, “Titleholder agrees not to drink or smoke in sash or crown or show drinking or smoking on her personal media page during her reign. Titleholder agrees to act in a manner that is publicly acceptable as a role model during her year as it pertains to public safety, laws of the land and will conduct herself with class and dignity on both her public social media postings and a queen’s page, and even in her private life.”
Those kinds of rules are very common language in pageant contracts, but you also want to think about your overall behavior and how you, carry yourself and treat people that you come in contact with all of the time.
For example, you should always arrive in a timely manner to pageant events, pageant rehearsals, sponsor’s events or generally any event where you have been asked to represent your pageant system. You should always show up beautifully groomed, looking professional and in full makeup and hair as appropriate to a pageant queen and the type of event that you are attending. You should be dressed in the type of attire that best fits that event, and you should be sensitive and aware of how conservative the event is.
For instance, if you are attending a benefit or gala for a hospital, school or is related to children in some way, dress formally but leave the sexy cutout gowns at home. Every event has a tone or a feel to it, and you have to be really conscious of the nature or the expectations of each event.
And, as always, if you are representing your pageant, you are an employee and you are working! You should remain drug-free and alcohol free at all times!
In addition to these guidelines, as a role model, you should always go out of your way to be kind, professional and to not use profanity in person or on social media. You should also be very careful about not affiliating with or “lending your title” or the name of your pageant to any one political party as all pageant organizations endeavor to remain nonpartisan in nature.
It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway, that any bullying of an individual or organization or defamation of public figures, elected officials, or profuse, consistent profanity on your social media is never acceptable, and can be cause for immediate dismissal from your title.
In addition to the basic rules of how to behave, there are some other guidelines about behavior that you may not have thought about.
Cierra Nalani Richards Miss Collegiate United States 2020 learned a valuable lesson about how a titleholder should behave, regardless of whether she is at a “formal” appearance or just going about her life. As a titleholder, you are always a public figure to the people who meet you, no matter where and when they meet you.
“Please be in the moment every time you are asked about your title/system. When I was coming back from nationals I had been traveling nearly 10 hours and I went to a sandwich shop in the airport. The cashier was so excited to meet a “beauty queen” but I was so tired I kept our conversation very surface level. While I was not rude I’ve felt bad about this ever since. I may be her only experience with a titleholder so I want to make it a positive one, and even if I’m the millionth she’s met I’m still representing not only myself but my system every time I’m adorned with my crown and sash. If I could go back I’d tell her more about nationals and what it’s like to win because she obviously wanted to live vicariously through me at that moment and it is my job as a titleholder to share my passions with my community.”
It’s bound to happen at some point in your journey to the crown. You attend an appearance and something goes south. It might be something minor, it might be something that has a consequence, it might be something really horrific and in all reality, it might be your fault!
Oftentimes when we are at an appearance, we are by ourselves and do not have our director or other staff member on hand. What do you as the titleholder do in those situations? The best advice that we can give to you is to remain calm and be professional at all times, to the best of your ability. If you can do anything in the moment to repair or fix the issue, then by all means, go out of your way and make the effort to do so.
The sooner you can contact your director or pageant staff to inform them about the issue, the better. You should never try to handle something that is not within your range of responsibilities, so don’t hesitate to notify the appropriate person. And, never, ever make a promise to anyone that involves something out of your control.
Most things that go wrong during an appearance are minor and can be fixed easily. The most challenging situation to deal with however, is when whatever went wrong is because of something that you did.
Rosa Grippa, Miss Royalty International Teen 2020, has some very wise advice if you ever find yourself in that predicament.
“Personally, I have never made a big mistake or had something major go wrong, as a titleholder, but I know plenty of people who have. Making a mistake is all about taking responsibility for what happened and doing everything in your power to fix it. Whether that be sending an apology email, making a big public apology to your social media following, or simply apologizing to your director. If you can make amends and make up for what you have done, you will have no problem moving forward. Depending on the severity of the mistake, you may have to suffer some severe consequences, but the important thing is that you hold your head high and learn from the mistake.”
Cierra Nalani Richards, Miss Collegiate United States 2020, vulnerably shares her personal story of handling a difficult situation with respect and communication.
“I took part in an appearance that I would have never considered harmful but my director did inform me it was against my contract. It was really a challenging situation because I felt like I was no longer worthy of my title and felt extreme embarrassment that I’d never be viewed the same. By speaking with my director about why we saw the situation differently, we were able to understand each other’s sides without assuming. Finding that common ground is extremely important because if we would have swept it under the rug, there would have been tension between us for the rest of my reign.”
The best way to appreciate your sponsors is to use them and then tell other people about them!
Think about it this way….if you had a fantastic product or a successful business that you’d invested all of your time, money and energy into, and then you donated that product to help or support a well known pageant girl, wouldn’t you want her to use that product or tell people about that business? Of course you would! You’d expect her to not just take advantage of using your product, but you’d also expect her to take pictures with your product or tell her family and friends about it and you’d also expect to see her promoting your product on her social media platforms.
When you view sponsorship this way, you get much more personally invested in coming up with ways to promote your sponsors every chance you can. After all, your sponsors are fellow business partners, not just with your pageant or director, but with YOU. They may be making considerable financial donations to your pageant, to your pageant’s scholarships or to your charities and because of that; you owe it to them to show them how much you appreciate their help.
Madeleine Johnson International Junior Miss Connecticut Jr Teen 2020 goes out of her way to build relationships with her sponsors.
“Sponsors are a blessing through doing pageants, whether you find them on your own, or they are through your system, it is important to support, promote and thank them for all they do. Writing thank you notes is a great first start, and continuing to promote them through shopping and posting is a must when being a successful titleholder. When posting, make sure it is clear who your sponsor is, so that others are able to reach out to them. Personally, I try to use my sponsors as much as possible, shout them out on stories and posts and build relationships with the incredible people who run the businesses.”
Try to think of ways that you can advertise on behalf of your sponsors throughout your reign. When you compete at the national or international level, invite your sponsors to provide gifts of their products for your contestant gifts. If you travel to other pageants to make appearances or perform judging duties, donate your sponsor’s products to the prize package for the new winner, or just give them as gifts to the outgoing queen or even the director. During the year when you need gifts for birthday or holiday presents, try to think of ways to use your sponsor as a resource and give their products or a gift certificate for their services.
When you view your connection with your sponsors as if you are a representative for their brand, you are bound to come up with all kinds of creative ways that you can show your appreciation and increase their business at the same time.
Autumn Adams Miss Georgia Earth USA. Photo: Ty Myrick
Obviously, photos, posts and shouts outs about your sponsors and what they give you or do for you should be a regular part of your social media posting. This kind of marketing goes a long way towards showing the sponsors and the pageant staff that you not only have a community supporting you; you also appreciate everything they do and provide for you as well.
But, in addition to posting photos, be sure to make your posts really personal, and not generic. Talk about how your sponsor’s products or services make you feel, or contribute to your self-esteem or well being as a titleholder.
If you have a wardrobe sponsor, then take photos of you wearing their clothing while you’re at an appearance and talk about how their clothing makes you feel like a million bucks! If you have a hair care or makeup sponsor, make a video of you doing your hair or putting on lip gloss before an event and describe the quality of the products and how they help you to not only look your best, but make you feel like a queen!
If you have a sponsor that provides services for you, like a dentist, esthetician or professional tanner, then make a point to talk about how confident you feel when you are talking to the public because you now have such a sparkly white smile, or because your acne prone skin is now blemish free. Carry your sponsor’s business cards with you to give out to the people you meet, and mention their websites or promotional specials from time to time on your social media.
Autumn Adams Miss Georgia Earth USA found a way to promote her sponsors while working on her tan!
“Promoting your sponsors on social media is always important because that serves as free marketing for them. However, it is even more important during a pandemic. Businesses are taking hits, so we can do our part in supporting their services. I usually have a “Thank You” post then continue posting their products when I use them. For Miss Earth USA, we are sponsored by The Clean Earth Project. When I went to the beach, I made sure to take 5 minutes to snap and post a picture of me using their reusable cup. If you are getting spa treatments, you can walk your followers through the entire process from check-in to the actual treatment. Gain the most information you can then present that information in an attractive way to your followers.”
It might be a good idea to schedule “sponsor appreciation posts” each month ahead of time, so that you don’t forget if things get hectic. The worst thing that you can do as a titleholder is to neglect those important relationships with the people who helped you achieve your dream, or who support you while you are living out that dream.
The El Nido Palawan Reusable Cup. Photo: The Clean Earth Project
The best way to get sponsors for your pageant is to just put yourself out there and ask!
We know, we know. It’s not the easiest or most comfortable thing to do, and you may feel awkward and self-conscious about it, but we can confidently say that the more often you do it, the easier it’s going to get.
I do strongly suggest asking businesses you already naturally frequent. They are much more likely to financially support you since you are familiar to them and not a complete stranger walking in off the streets asking for money. Think out of the box, like your realtor, mortgage lender, dentist, etc. Oftentimes for sponsoring your pageant expenses it will need to be small family owned businesses since corporate companies often have a lot of red tape and can only donate to 501C3 and often don’t unless you endure a grueling process of reaching out to their corporate office and spend many weeks waiting for a response. I have had more luck with chain type businesses as far as collecting raffle and silent auction items. These are just my experiences so by all means attempt every avenue available to you!”
If you need more information on how to obtain a sponsor, check out our article "10 Ways to Effectively Gain a Sponsorship".
Like it or not, when you become a titleholder, you become a public figure. And, regardless of whether you have a local, state, national or international title, if you have a fancy sash with the name of a city, state or country on it, then you have now agreed to publicly represent that locality.
At the same time that you are juggling those objectives, you are also the main person who takes on the responsibilities that come along with the job, of being “Queen”.
Those responsibilities include things like fundraising, making appearances, promoting your pageant system, mentoring contestants, obtaining sponsors, serving and volunteering in the community and supporting your director to meet his or her goals.
You may have also entered into a contractual agreement to become a representative of the pageant system that you have entered. And, that contract that you signed will likely have some rules and requirements that you must adhere to
Along with those responsibilities come some significant rules of conduct and behavior. These rules not only apply to your behavior publicly but also on social media, because social media is also a public forum. In fact, what you put on social media is perhaps more important than what you actually do in real life because those posts and images reach more people than your immediate social circle and everything that you post is permanent. It exists on the internet for all to see for eternity.
Therefore, if you are now an official titleholder, you have to consider a lot of things that you may have not considered before, especially when it comes to marketing and posting on social media.
IJM Titleholders Doing a Shoutout to Sponsors. Photo: Natalie Dragt Facebook
If you are a state, national or international titleholder, it’s very likely that your pageant system has already set up a specific social media account just for you and your year of service. In the past, this would not have been the case, but in today’s electronic age, modern pageantry depends on the marketing power of social media.
Once you win your title, you may be given your own website, social media platforms and unique email address and you will be expected to use them. In fact, you may have to sign a contract that specifies that you agree to post a minimum amount of times per month on your titleholder social media accounts, and that discipline is going to be crucial throughout your reign.
But, if you hold a local title, like for a city, town or smaller region, you may not be guaranteed a titleholder page that your pageant creates for you. In that case what should you do?
Opinions vary about whether or not you should have a titleholder page, depending on the level of titleholder you are. There are definite pros and cons for creating a titleholder page or account on Facebook or Instagram. Unless your pageant director says that you must have a social media account specifically for your title, you should think through what the responsibilities of having a titleholder page are going to mean. Because, if you’re not going to dedicate the time to using that page, you can end up doing more harm than good.
Obviously, there are benefits for having a social media page, other than just your personal account that you had before you got your title. What are those benefits, you ask?
The Pros of having a titleholder page
The downside of having a titleholder page
Even though we’ve laid out the pros and cons for you about having a titleholder page, we can say that every single titleholder we spoke with insisted that it was a must!
For Autumn Adams Miss Georgia Earth USA, having a titleholder page supports a strong brand.
“I 100% believe you should have a titleholder page on social media. A social media page allows you to brand yourself as the new “Miss XYZ”. You need people to know who you are and what you stand for. My Miss Georgia Earth page is all about my platform “Act Where You Are”. I want to empower other people to take the small steps in the fight for climate change. A titleholder page also allows you to separate your personal life from your title. You do not want posts of your boyfriend on your titleholder page, but you can post that picture on your personal page.
This DOES NOT mean you can post whatever inappropriate content you want on your personal page. You are still representing an organization and you want to present yourself in a way that will be a great ambassador. Another positive aspect of a titleholder page is that you are creating a path for your successor to prompt their platform. It is important to empower the women who follow our reign.”
International Junior Miss Texas Teen 2020 Natalie Dragt says that having a titleholder page helps her stay organized and up to date with her posting schedule.
“Social media is also where I market my pageant system. Having a titleholder account for your social media’s I feel is a necessity. I felt that I began to almost annoy my following on my main account with posts about sponsors and everything pageant related. So I created my pageant account. I find it so important to create a schedule for yourself that tells you what you’re going to post each week. Whether it’s one week of shouting out sponsors or the next week giving pageant advice, staying active is a necessity. I try my best to post once a day but not anymore than that! I’ve found that it is very easy to lose followers by flooding their social media feed with posts. By doing this, not only do you make your sponsors feel appreciated but it shows your directors you’re serious about you’re title.”
For Miss Washington for America 2020 Beckie Takashima, having a titleholder page was a major part of her Marketing and Public Relations campaign, and it also helped her to maintain strong boundaries between her personal and pageant life.
“I absolutely believe you should have at least one titleholder page. I started with Facebook, but recently started an Instagram. This helps people follow you and the judges get to know you before your short time with them in interview at your pageant. It is easy for everyone to see the work you’ve done throughout the year if you are sharing it on your page. Judges aside, it is also insightful for fellow contestants to be able to see what work you’ve put into your reign so that when you win it logically makes sense to them and they will genuinely be congratulating you without questioning “why her?”.
For me it was especially important to have a public pageant page because one of my passions is inspiring people in my community to get out there with me and join me in volunteering at organizations that I am passionate about. I have shared volunteer needs on my page and have had followers sign up for a shift or two! It is a great recruiting tool for both community members to volunteer as well as future contestants for your pageant too!
I keep my personal page and public pageant page very separate. I do not believe that a public pageant page is a place for politics, religion, or photos of me just hanging out in my backyard. My pageant page is very much a place of service to my community and a place to come to for an uplifting or motivational message. I protect the children that are at my events by always asking parents for permission before I post photos on my pageant page as well. We need to be very mindful when posting photos of minors especially in these times when child sex trafficking is such an issue.”
Miss Washington for America 2020 Beckie Takashima Photo: Jennifer Lloyd Photography
International Junior Miss Texas Teen 2020 Natalie Dragt discovered that autograph cards made it easier to promote her system.
“I’m so blessed to have such incredible pageant directors. Kathy Whittaker and Amanda Cave have supplied me with autograph cards. At first I thought to myself “who would want my autograph?” Well first off with my reign I’ve found that little girls look up to us pageant girls like we are princesses. Giving out autograph cards makes them so happy! I feel that autograph cards are an easy way to promote your pageant system. By simply handing out a card with your pageants systems name on it, your autograph and headshot it’s almost like giving people a little brochure of your pageant system.”
2020 International Junior Miss Connecticut Jr Teen Madeleine Johnson cannot be without her autograph cards!
“I have autograph cards that I attach to gifts, thank you notes, and have at the ready when volunteering. Through my pageant system, International Junior Miss, I have been blessed to have APJ Visions be our sponsor for autograph cards, spirit posters and pageant ads, and would recommend you contact her for all your needs! I find that they can be helpful when trying to expand your platform and meeting new people”.
As a titleholder, you may have signed a contract that requires you to post regularly on your pageant’s social media, as well as on your own titleholder social media pages. Most pageants will ask their state and regional queens to post a minimum number of times per month promoting their title, platform and about the pageant itself throughout her reign.
Ideally, before you signed anything, you thoroughly read through and understood the requirements of any contract that you signed. It’s your job to know if you have a minimum number of posts to make each month.
But, beyond the requirements, it’s really up to you how often you should post. The bottom line, when it comes to social media engagement, is that you need to be consistent. Posting on a regular basis, is much more important than the actual number of times you post. You need to discuss this with your pageant director and then really be honest with yourself about what you can comfortably do.
You likely had a life before you became “Miss Fabulous”, and you probably have lots of other responsibilities in addition to your queenly duties. You will need to learn to balance all the different areas of your life, and not get burned out in any one area.
Setting up a “posting plan” ahead of time, might be one of the most helpful things you can do for yourself. Or, you could make a decision that you will post on specific days at specific times if that is easier. As long as you are showing up regularly for your fans, followers and for the pageant, then whatever works for you and your schedule will be just fine.
Rosa Grippa Miss Royalty International Teen 2020 echoes the idea of creating a posting schedule to master your social media.
“Making a posting schedule can help you stay connected with your target audience. Your plan could be to talk about sponsors the first week of every month, a sister queen spotlight the second week, a community service post the third week and anything else you think would help grow your social media page.”
“It is very important to keep your social media active and relevant. Make posts weekly or however often your titleholder contract states you must post. Keep up to date with trends and big things that are happening within your pageant system. Share posts from your system’s main social media page, make extra posts for holidays, take some time to thank sponsors and much more. You always want to make sure your followers are kept up to date with all things happening in your system, with you and your community service and for any upcoming events that might be on interest. A good rule of thumb is to always check your posts for grammatical errors and to stay away from anything controversial. Your titleholder social media page is no place to talk drama, political opinions, or anything of the sorts.”
Madeleine Johnson, the 2020 International Junior Miss Connecticut Jr Teen utilizes the “stories” feature on her social media, while also highlighting important posts.
“To keep up with posting, each week I suggest you make a list with what you need to post on each of your accounts. While I don’t think there is a minimum or maximum amount of times you should post, I suggest posting at least once a week on your titleholder page, and multiple times on stories. I make sure to post on my story frequently and create highlights so my feed doesn’t get overwhelmed. Having highlights also allows others to quickly see what’s important to you without reading a lengthy post.
To keep your account looking clean and orderly, make sure you plan ahead, use appropriate language, pictures, and videos and are happy with the overall look. Many apps allow you to preview the layout of your feed, which is helpful for planning. At the end of the day, make sure to check with your system on their rules with posting, as some tell you how much (or little) you should post. If you are an aspiring titleholder, follow these same guidelines as judges will be looking to make sure the next titleholder has a polished look on social media.”
International Junior Miss Titleholders Doing an Instagram Challenge to Promote their System. Photo: Natalie Dragt Facebook
Marketing your pageant is one of the most important jobs that you have as a titleholder. When you won that crown and sash, you were also given the position of being the main Public Relations person for your pageant and your overall pageant system.
This may be a whole new experience for you, especially if you have gone from a local title to a state title. And, the pressure of those PR responsibilities can get even more intense the higher up you go in the system.
But, don’t sweat it. Just because your responsibilities increase, it doesn’t mean that your Marketing and PR strategy has to get super complicated. It’s really all quite doable!
When we talk about marketing, we’re really just talking about communication, and you obviously know how to do that, or you wouldn’t have been given the job of titleholder.
So communicate! Use the social media platforms that you like the best to talk about anything and everything having to do with your pageant. Talk about why you’re involved with this particular pageant and how the pageant is benefitting you. Talk about what you’ve learned and how you’ve changed and grown throughout your experience. Talk about the fun events, parades and volunteer opportunities that the pageant is providing. Discuss all the great friends that you have made, and how nice everyone is.
Always talk about the pageant director and their staff in a positive and favorable light. Share your personal experiences with them and shower them with praise publically. Share how organized, supportive and caring they are because by doing this, you’re demonstrating gratitude to these individuals who are your partners in pageantry, and you’re promoting these people in a professional way too. Your “testimony” about the pageant’s staff will have a far reaching affect on contestants who may be interested in signing up with your pageant and your opinion will even affect the pageant’s ability to bring on potential sponsors.
In addition to sharing your thoughts and feelings on social media, it’s necessary to learn to live your life as a titleholder publically in front of the camera. People want to know what you’re up to and they want to see your life. There have been lots of folks who helped you get to where you are and they enjoy being a part of your success.
If you want some concrete ideas for how to take advantage of marketing on social media, check out the special section we created, “How can you use social media to market yourself and your system?”
Meanwhile, before we go any further, you need to know that Pageant Planet has so many ways to help you market your pageant!
How Pageant Planet can help you to market your pageant:
First of all, before you do anything else, set up a FREE personal profile on our site. This is one of the most foundational ways that you can be visible to the pageant industry. Then, once you have made a profile, submit yourself for “Titleholder of the Day”! You get to create your own video, and you can talk about your platform, your pageant and the different charities and causes that you support.
If you're a pageant girl we can help you succeed in pageantry through our VIP Coaching program and daily coaching articles. Our VIP Coaching Program is a custom virtual training program that is designed to help you succeed in interview, wardrobe selection, paperwork, platform development and to help you gain clarity in the other areas of pageantry where you may be unsure. Through our custom software we train you specific to your system and age division. To learn more click here.
During the winter, you definitely want to get involved in our “Annual Best in Pageantry Awards”!
This is our version of the Academy Awards for the pageant industry, and it is one of the most exciting ways to promote yourself, your director, your pageant and the pageant’s staff.
When it comes time to compete, you can even suggest to your director to run your pageant’s, “People’s Choice Awards” through us! That’s right, do that! And, we take care of everything!
Potential pageant contestants are everywhere! All you need to do is keep your eyes open and tell your story.
Recruiting contestants does not have to be super complicated at all. Just be aware as you are going about your day and pay attention. When you are out and about getting your hair and nails done, tanning, going to the grocery store, working out at the gym, attending church. There is really no end to the places that you might meet other ladies who would like to hear about pageantry.
You might even come up with an idea to help your current contestants get inspired to go out recruiting. Why not create an incentive contest with your director? For each contestant that signs up for the pageant, you can give the girl who recruited her a percentage off of something, like admission cost or a ½ page ad in the program book!
Miss Washington for America 2020 Beckie Takashima uses her business cards to connect with other women in the community that she feels might want to join her pageant.
“I made business cards which were extremely helpful this past year. I feel that people took me more seriously and were able to search me on social media later once they got home and had a moment. I also put my email address on the card and often would get people emailing me photos of me that they took at an event which was extremely helpful. I also printed recruitment cards to hand out to women I saw in my community. Even though they may not sign up, it lifts their spirits and can be a huge confidence boost because at the top of the card it says, “You’ve been spotted! You could be the next queen!” I know receiving that card on a random day out running errands would make my day!”
And, if you're a pageant director we are your recruiting partner. Daily we receive 1,000s of visitors who are looking to compete in new and local pageants. Through our directory girls can search for pageants based on zip code, age division and keyword. Let us help you create a successful pageant by creating a profile.
2020 IJM Connecticut Jr. Teen Madeleine Johnson with the "Cards of Encouragement" that she creates. Photo: Madeleine Johnson
Social media is one of the best things to come along for those of us involved in pageantry, because social media is the ultimate personal publicity tool.
There are virtually endless ideas and opportunities for marketing yourself and your pageant on social media, and the best news is that most of those ideas are free to do!
As a titleholder, you are responsible for marketing yourself and your pageant, but that doesn’t mean that you always have to do everything all by yourself. One of the coolest and most effective ways to market your pageant is to get together with fellow queens in your system or all of the contestants who are competing in your pageant, and do something on social media together.
When you work together in this way, you can really make an impact!
One idea that has gotten very popular in the pageant community is to do “Takeovers” of Instagram or Facebook. One of the best ways to do this is to plan ahead to do a “Takeover” featuring each individual queen or contestant on a given day. All you need to do is put together a schedule ahead of time, detailing which girl will post on which day and time, and release that schedule to the public on your titleholder page and the pageant’s social media platforms.
Then each girl will be able to create her own video and she can talk about things like her platform, the city or area that she represents, her personal interests and hobbies, fun facts and even why she joined your pageant.
Another popular social media marketing idea that works for contestants or fellow queens is to do a group posting project where each participant is given a series of questions to answer or a list of topics to post about, and this is typically done over a specific period of time, like a week or a month. These are sometimes known as “Instagram Challenges” or “Posting Themes”.
If you want to use your group posting project as a publicity tool to attract new girls to get involved with your pageant, then give your group a list of questions to answer about their experience with the pageant. You could set it up any way you want to. If you wanted to do this project over a week’s time, then you could give them five questions to answer over a five day period. Each day they answer the question for that day and post it on social media.
Here are some possible questions to ask:
Why did you sign up for this particular pageant?
What have you learned about yourself since entering this pageant?
What is your most favorite part of competition and why?
How has this pageant made you more confident?
Post a picture of a happy memory or a positive experience that you’ve had while being a contestant.
Post a photo of someone who has made a difference in your life from this pageant.
Describe one of the most memorable events so far in your pageant experience.
Post a photo of at one of your favorite appearances.
If you competed previously, how have you grown since that experience?
Group posting projects are an excellent public relations tool for your pageant system, they create camaraderie and a sense of purpose for your contestants and they can also attract a lot of potential new contestants to your pageant if you do them the right way. It all depends on the type of subject matter that you ask your group to post on or write about.
Another great idea to try with your contestants is to do a Google search on “national days” and “national months” and then plan to tie in some of your social media posting with these special themes in mind.
For example, September 8th marks International Literacy Day and the week of February 17 is National Random Acts of Kindness Week. There are so many national and international days, weeks and months out there to celebrate or bring attention to, and they cover the gamut of silly to serious! You can plan far in advance to create posts that are fun, empowering or informative or even promote a related platform or charity. There are actually websites that curate special days, like www.daysoftheyear.com. These sites can save you a lot of time when you’re trying to come up with days related to your platform or other interests.
(Since we’re on the subject of special days, don’t forget that April 8th is “International Pageant Day”! That just happens to be the day that Pageant Planet celebrates its birthday!)
What a fantastic way to bring all of your pageant contestants together to promote not only your pageant system, but each of your contestant’s individual platforms and causes.
These ideas are all very powerful marketing tools that will reach a larger audience, while still being a lot of fun for the contestants to be involved in. They will go out of their way to promote anything that they are involved in and they will also enjoy the camaraderie of being a part of the entire project.
Cierra Nalani Richards Miss Collegiate United States 2020. Photo: Alexis Carter
Cierra Nalani Richards Miss Collegiate United States 2020 views everything through the lens of preparing for her national competition.
“Everything you do as a state queen should benefit your journey to nationals. When I’m working in my local community with my platform, I’m considering how to take it to the next level, or if I’m buying appearance clothing I’m considering if it’s nationals worthy. The end goal should be representing your state to the best of your abilities at your national competition.”
Rosa Grippa Miss Royalty International Teen 2020 says that keeping up with your state queen responsibilities and preparing for nationals at the same time does not have to be difficult if you think creatively.
“It is all about prioritizing your responsibilities. Keep representing your new state title as you prepare for your national competition in ways like taking your followers and social media along with you on your journey. Going to find that perfect dress for nationals? Take your crown and sash with you and take a picture with your new dress (Make sure your dress is in a dress bag. We do not want anyone to see it before nationals). Headed to the nail salon to get some acrylics before the competition starts? Take a picture with your nail stylist and tag her in your post. Keeping up with your state queen responsibilities and preparing for nationals at the same time does not have to be difficult if you think creatively.”
Autumn Adams Miss Georgia Earth USA believes that if you are being the best titleholder you can be right now, then you are naturally preparing for the next title.
“Be Where Your Feet Are” is my motto for preparation. You want to be content with the title you have while working towards the next title. This means that you are working to keep the current work and the dream chasing balanced. If you are being the best titleholder you can be right now, I believe you are naturally preparing for the next title. You are getting in the rhythm of interviews, events, social media posting, and staying well informed. These are all aspects that are necessary for the next title. When you think you have done enough, do one more thing to prepare.”
The personable, winsome and effortlessly beautiful Miss Georgia Earth USA Autumn Adams candidly and humorously shares her love of “Doughnuts, Dentistry and Competing for Her Dream” in this enjoyable Q & A during the Miss Earth USA pageant.
(BTW, at the end of this interview, Autumn mentions her pageant interview that we previewed LIVE! on Pageant Planet!)
Miss Earth Beauties: Miss Georgia Earth USA Autumn Adams
Autumn Adams Miss Georgia Earth USA knows the value of working with a dedicated pageant director.
“I worked with my director the entire way to Miss Earth USA. Nic Blaize ensures her titleholders are well prepared and confident. I trusted her advice, so I asked for it every step away. Let me tell you – best decision. She pushed to think outside of my comfort zone. Now I am the new Miss Earth USA Water. If you truly trust your director, then I would make sure you are have open and honest conversations. If you build a good relationship, then I think the preparation will be easier because you have a support system.”
If you're a pageant girl we can help you succeed in pageantry through our VIP Coaching program and daily coaching articles. Our VIP Coaching Program is a custom virtual training program that is designed to help you succeed in interview, wardrobe selection, paperwork, platform development and to help you gain clarity in the other areas of pageantry where you may be unsure. Through our custom software we train you specific to your system and age division.
To learn more click here.
We have gone out of our way to create top notch courses, guides and articles in every area of pageantry and pageant preparation that we can think of to assist you in your journey to the crown. After you're done reading this guide, why not hop on over to our website and check out our guides from everything from "Interview Preparation" to "How to do your Hair and Makeup"!
They're all waiting for you here!
Nic Blaize. Photo: Nic Blaize Facebook
Onica “Nic” Blaize is a former titleholder (Mrs. Georgia America 2016), a Life Coach, Blogger and Executive Director of the Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee Earth USA Pageants. Nic is also the owner of Inspire Gravity Consulting and Nic B Cosmetics.
This is a series of exercises that Nic created and uses with her own titleholders and clients. It is intended to help queens prepare for competition, especially those who are approaching their national pageant competition to focus in on their brand, their goals and their personal vision.
You’ve won your state, now what? How do you capitalize on the winning formula that you used to win your state title? The judges obviously got it right when they chose you. They saw something in you that made them think that you would be a great representative of your state at nationals. How do you transport your brand from what you presented at State and make it ready for a national stage?
Having a brand that people trust and one that is a true and honest reflection of the titleholder can give the titleholder an opportunity to make their mark and be impactful. The best brands begin with authentic and ends with impact.
Your brand is perhaps your most valuable asset. It is what will make you stand out in a sea of contestants. While your brand may not be a unique concept (others may use your style or attributes); your brand needs to be authentic, that is the only way you will stand out. Your brand can be described as your reputation, your visibility in your field or industry, relevancy, ability to influence, your level of impact…
YOUR 5 WEEK JUMPSTART PLAN STARTS RIGHT HERE
This step in the process should consist of you discussing where you are at the end of the 5 weeks (right before nationals). You should be checking in with your coach even if you feel confident with where you are. It is a good practice to talk it through to ensure that you are on target.
Along with the joys and exciting of being a queen, you have to expect that there will also be a downside from time to time, so we absolutely must talk about some of those issues.
It is a real possibility that a titleholder may have some level of conflict or will just not get along well with her director, sister queens or other pageant staff that she has to work with on a regular basis.
We sincerely hope that when you enter any pageant or get involved with any pageant system, that you take the time to get to know your director and any other important people, like staff members, that you may have to work with should you win the title.
But, even if you do know your director fairly well, things can change when you go from being a contestant to the main titleholder. For one thing, if you win the crown, you also win the job, and that means that you are now an employee. When you’re a contestant, you are someone who is being served in the pageant, but when you are a titleholder, you become the person who is doing the serving. There are also much greater expectations of you now that you’re a titleholder, and those expectations can cause some friction at times.
The other thing that happens that you may not have any control over is that if you are a state titleholder, and you go on to compete at nationals and end up winning there, you will most certainly have a new director to answer to. As thrilling as it is to win a national crown, it can also be a very challenging transition to go from dealing with one director that you know and are comfortable with, to a brand new director who you many not know at all.
The reality is that the higher up you go in a pageant system, the more people you are going to meet and will have to work with, and you may not be best friends with all of them.
The main points that you want to remember as you advance in a system, and take on more and more responsibility, is that you’re going to have to get used to dealing with people on a lot of different levels. And, you will have to become very skilled at communicating, assessing differences in personalities and temperaments, and striving to understand and overcome conflicts.
The best thing that you can do if you do not get along well with your director is to face the situation head on, as uncomfortable and as intimidating as that may be. You don’t have to be best buddies to have a relationship that works and to have a successful year together. But, you will have to learn to be honest with each other, see things from each other’s perspective and learn to work through any areas of friction.
You both essentially want the same things; you want to minimize any drama and have a stress free experience working together, you want to make the pageant profitable as a business and you each want to achieve your own personal goals, as well as the goals that you’ve set forth for the pageant itself.
In most relationships where conflict occurs, most of the time it is due to “preferences”, it’s not “personal”. What that means is that it is highly unlikely that your director gets up every morning determined to ruin your life and make you miserable. He or she, most likely just has an area of their life where they prefer to do things a certain way, and it just happens to clash with your preference, or the way that you like to do things. So many conflicts in relationships come down to this exact issue. But, when you can step back and make the choice to not take things personally, and try to understand where that person is coming from, it will help you to not react in a negative way. This is where you will both really need to speak honestly about what you both want, why you do the things you do, and what you are both expecting of each other.
If you end up doing all of these things, and you are still having trouble working together, we advise you to bring in a third party who is hopefully objective, and who can be a mediator to help you both find some common ground.
The majority of relationship conflicts can be solved and overcome with effort, communication and respect for the other person. But, it does take willingness and the ability to experience some discomfort. However, the payoff is huge, and can make the difference between a frustrating, anxiety filled year of misery or a memorable, fulfilling year of service together!
If you're a pageant director we are your recruiting partner. Daily we receive 1,000s of visitors who are looking to compete in new and local pageants. Through our directory girls can search for pageants based on zip code, age division and keyword. Let us help you create a successful pageant by creating a profile.
Ok, first things first. If you are having problems with your sister queens, you need to go back and read the section, “What if I don’t get along with my director”, because so much of the advise that we offer in that section will apply to your situation.
Believe it or not, the problem of getting along with your sister queens is not all that uncommon. I know, I know….”But, this is the world of pageantry, where we’re all sisters for life and glitter flows through our veins and the golden glow of goodwill and community service surrounds us like a halo”.
Ahem. Yeah. Alla’ that.
But, at the same time, we are human, and we’re female and just like we each have a crown, we each have an opinion and we each have self will, and sometimes all of that is enough to cause some drama in pageant land.
Actually, if you think about it, it’s a wonder that there isn’t more drama most of the time. So, if you’re getting along with the majority of other girls in your pageant circle, you’re doing pretty well.
The problems tend to arise when we are part of a special group of ladies, who are known as the “royalty”, of our individual pageant systems.
When people are part of any group, certain dynamics will arise. It’s very normal and it’s predictable. But, in the case of a group of queens, typically when people don’t get along, it’s due to specific problems.
Of course, we may experience things like a clash of personalities in a group with other women. One girl may be loud, outgoing and even brash, while another girl is quiet, more introverted and self contained. While those two individuals may at first find it refreshing to be around someone who compliments their differences, those differences can eventually lead to major conflicts. In most situations like this, these kinds of issues can be handled through honest and open communication and an awareness and appreciation for the ways that we are different.
But, beyond basic personality clashes, what happens with sister queens, is that most of the time the main reason that we are not getting along is because on some level we are feeling like, “there’s not enough to go around”.
What we mean by the phrase, “there’s not enough to go around”, is that in this unique group that we are a part of we may begin to feel like there’s not enough attention paid to me, there’s not enough time given to me, there’s not enough respect for my ideas, not enough caring about what I want, not enough appreciation for what I’m doing or not enough love for who I am.
These types of problems come up all the time in pageantry, and they typically happen because either someone in the group is not being honest about how they feel, or that someone in authority, like a pageant director or a staff member is not aware of the dynamics that are occurring.
When you are a director and you have a group of queens that you need to work with, it can be really tough to make sure that each person in that group is getting enough of your attention, time and resources. This is especially true if that director is new in their position or is new to having a bunch of queens.
One of the things that need to happen in order to make everybody happy is that the director needs to meet regularly with the group as a whole, and then also needs to meet regularly with each individual member.
For instance, the director could plan to meet with each queen once a week, and then with the entire group every two weeks. That way, each queen has a set, designated time to have their director’s undivided attention. Then going forward throughout the year, the director could meet with the entire group at the end of each month and discuss what they would be doing for the following month, as a group and also as individual members.
Having a plan like this is so crucial to managing a group of queens, because without a schedule and a consistent plan of action, it’s impossible to give each girl what she needs in order to be fulfilled and successful in her role. Other things will begin to take priority, and then people’s feelings get hurt, and resentment begins to build and before you know it, you’ve got a mess of emotions just waiting to boil over at the worst moment.
But, by giving every queen what she needs in the areas of time, communication, attention and care, a director can ensure that he or she is building a solid relationship with each girl, and no one person will ever feel like there’s not enough to go around.
Sadly, even in pageantry, bullying can and does occur. Most of the time when titleholders experience bullying, it tends to happen on social media, and even though it is hurtful and really unpleasant to deal with, we can usually find a way to not let it affect us. After all, social media brings with it all kinds of attitudes, opinions and comments that we cannot control, but since most of that kind of negativity comes from strangers, it doesn’t bother us as much.
So, what do you do when bullying behavior happens in your own pageant system?
“Just ignore it”, is what most people are told when they’re being bullied, or maybe “they’re only jealous” – but what good is that kind of advice when you’re hurting and it’s making you feel bad about yourself?
If you are being bullied, please know that you are NOT the problem. However, the problem is still something that you must deal with. We’re not saying that it’s going to be easy, because it’s not. It can be scary, uncomfortable and really awkward to deal with bullying behavior. But, the price you pay if you don’t is just not worth it. You worked too hard to achieve what you have, and you cannot allow another person to affect your reign in a negative way.
It’s times like this that you must rely on your support system. Those people can help you just as much when you are a titleholder as they did before when you were competing for your title. But, beyond having your tribe there to support you, what steps can you take to deal with the bullying?
We’ve got 8 solid sure-fire tips that you can use to resolve this situation, once and for all!
8 TIPS FOR DEALING WITH BULLYING
1. Try to understand the bullying
Bullying is a learned behavior. There are several reasons why people bully others; more often than not, bullying can be a coping mechanism for people who are going through a stressful or traumatic situation and it may also be learnt from abuse or prejudice-based attitudes at home. Often people who bully others have at some point been bullied themselves or are currently being bullied.
2. If you feel safe enough speak to the person who is bullying you
Bullying, by default is a subjective experience, meaning that everybody has a different perception of what they consider to be bullying. Sometimes, the person who is bullying you may genuinely have no idea that it is affecting you. It could be that in their family of origin, giving other people a hard time, or teasing, being sarcastic and even name calling is a normal, accepted behavior. It doesn’t mean that that it’s ok, but it can mean that the person’s intention is not to hurt you.
3. Don’t suffer in silence
If things don’t get better, don’t just give up and suffer in silence. Often when someone is being bullied, they will dismiss the experience that they’re having. Trust your feelings and your instinct and rely on your own experience. Do not allow someone to tell you that you’re being “too sensitive”, or they’re “just kidding” if you’ve already told them how you feel.
4. Be willing to confront the situation
Don’t minimize your feelings and act like it doesn’t bother you. The longer you wait and hope that things will get better, the more they tend to escalate. Besides, this is your year of service, and you don’t want to waste any of it being stressed out and feeling miserable because you don’t feel like dealing with this problem.
5. Don’t see yourself as the problem
If you are being bullied, please know that you are NOT the problem. The reason people experience bullying is not because of something about them; it is because of the attitude of the bully towards them. The person who is bullying you is the one with the issue, not you.
6. Get support
When you are going through a stressful situation, it can be difficult to deal with it objectively if you keep it all to yourself. The stress is always on your mind and builds up into a completely avoidable chain of negative emotions. It is incredibly important to tell somebody that you trust; it could be your parent, or coach, or another adult, or it could be a friend or a sister queen or another person who will listen. You deserve the help and support to get through this.
7. Even though you may want to, don’t isolate yourself
Depriving yourself of any sort of support certainly isn’t going to resolve the issue or help you handle the bullying. We know it may feel like the best thing to do at the time, but it will only make things worse by silencing you and reducing your self-esteem. Often people who are bullied will understandably see themselves as victims, but it’s important that you look beyond that and don’t let the bullying dictate who you are.
8. Report the situation formally
It is quite likely that if you are a victim of bullying the behavior may have also taken place previously. It is likely that someone else around you may be aware of the situation or may have experienced it too.
If you have spoken to the individual, confronted them again when they did not stop after you asked them to and they are continuing to bully you, then it’s time to move up the chain of command and file a formal complaint.
You will need to bring this situation to the attention of whoever the next person in authority is. If the person bullying you is a fellow queen or a pageant staff member, then you need to speak to your director. If the person bullying you is your director, then you will have to take it up to the next level, like the owner of the pageant or the pageant franchise. Bullying is a behavior that has no place within organizations and needs to be managed effectively by leaders within systems. Regardless of who the bully is or how frequent the bullying behavior is, addressing it is of extreme importance.
Rosa Grippa Miss Royalty International Teen 2019 has experienced severe bullying because of the fact that she competes in pageantry. She was vulnerable enough to share her painful story with us so that other pageant girls can understand that this experience does happen in our industry, sadly. It's crucial to know that as devastating as bullying is, it does not have to define you, and it does not have to end your pageant journey. An important part of pageantry is personal development and growth, and experiences like bullying can help you learn to own your own self-worth, and make you realize that you are NOT alone!
“When I first started competing in pageants I was in 5th grade. I had won my first regional title with a small pageant system and I was so excited to bring all my awards into school to show everyone. “Little naive me” thought that my classmates would celebrate my accomplishments and that they would be proud of what I had accomplished.
Instead, the whole 5th grade class laughed at me and from that point on, I was the laughingstock of the school. I lost all my friends and some of the teachers even treated me differently because I was a “pageant girl.” It got so bad in my life and even on social media that I would be in tears coming to and coming home from school every day. Bullying had taken over my life and the only way I could make it stop was to pack my things and leave the school I had been in my whole life and start over somewhere new.
I moved to a new school where I met the most amazing and supportive friends a girl could ever have, but by that time the bullying had already taken its toll on me. I lost my ability to trust others and believe in myself. Overtime with a lot of hard work, I was able to work through my struggles and become the confident, strong young woman I am today. I still get called names and get judgmental looks from those who do not support me, but now I am wise enough to know that those people only do what they do because they are in pain.
If you realize that those who try to harm you or bring you down are only doing it because they can’t stand who THEY are, it makes it much easier to not be so mad and to actually feel sad for them and want to help. I stand strong against hate with my devoted family and friends at my side. Through the years of anger and hurt, I learned how to love myself and stand up for what I believe in.
Long story short, if you stand strong in your morals and faith, you can make it through anything.”
Rosa Grippa Miss Royalty International Teen 2019 Photo: Daniel Duverney
Mekayla Eppers Mrs. America 2018. Photo: Matt Boyd
Born and raised in Indiana, Mekayla Eppers started competing in pageants at the age of 12. In 2012 she placed 2nd Runner up to Miss Indiana, in the Miss America organization. She then won Miss Indiana USA 2014 and became a semi-finalist at the national Miss USA 2014 pageant. In 2017 Mekayla won the title of Mrs. Indiana America and went on to win Mrs. America 2018.
In between pageants she models, has been featured in movies, TV commercials and local fashion magazines. Mekayla now shares her love of pageantry by helping girls achieve their fullest potential by fine tuning every detail of their pageant competitions. Mekayla has worked with clients in numerous local and state titles in the Miss America Organization, Miss USA, Mrs. America and Fairs & Festivals circuits.
The following is an exercise that Mekayla developed for her pageant clients as a way to explore their motivations for competing, and to help them connect with their true purpose in pageantry and in life.
Do you remember what it was that drove you to compete in your first pageant? Was it the glamour? Perhaps the thrill of chasing a personal goal? Or even the curiosity to see if you had what it took to stand up on that stage with the other amazing women?
I bet losing a pageant was not your reason to compete.
We often ask ourselves if we are ready to take on a title. Doubt can creep in the back of your mind and you start second guessing every decision you have made in your prep thus far. But do we ever ask ourselves if we have what it takes to lose a pageant? I ask every one of my clients this question because the fact of the matter is this: only one woman is going to walk away with that crown. Before you start second guessing why anyone in their right mind would hire a coach that asks clients if they are ready to lose, let me explain myself.
We as competitors and titleholders put too much emphasis on the crown. We sacrifice hours, dollars and donuts to get ready for a pageant. We often times put on our rhinestone blinders so that our only focus is that crown and the 2 hour production it takes in order to have the chance for it to be placed on our head. But I am here to remind you to take off those blinders during your pageant prep and look at the bigger picture.
As you are preparing for your next competition I challenge you to answer these questions. And winning the pageant cannot be the answer.
If you can’t answer these questions with confidence, then you are not ready to be an influential titleholder. We mustn’t forget about the opportunity to make a difference in our own lives as well as those around us—with our without the crown.
I knew I was ready to be Mrs. America when I was truly okay if I walked away empty handed because I knew I gained much more than a crown in the journey. I challenge you to look beyond the crown while prepping for your next competition and shift your goal to becoming an influential competitor – Because that is how legacies are made.
If you happen to be a pageant coach, we help you discover coaching clients in your area through our interactive directory. We realize the strengths and weaknesses of our virtual coaching program and one of the weaknesses is that it loses the personal touch that a local coach can give. Things like how to do your own makeup, how to walk in a pageant and personal training are best learned in person.
Kerry Damiano. Photo: Anne McCarthy, One Fine Day Photography
With nearly 40 years in the pageant industry as a judge, titleholder, contestant and coach, Kerry Damiano knows what it takes to win the crown. She has judged over 100 pageants in over 25 systems, and was the very first recipient of the Global Beauty Award for Best Pageant Judge. She has also been professionally coaching for 18 years, for which she received the GBA Best Pageant Coach 2020, and is a sought after speaker for pageant seminars, such as Beauty is Power, Your Crown Your Power and Beauty/Brand/Believe.
You’ve worked hard to prepare for your pageant competition, and finally, your tenacity has paid off and the crown is yours! Now what? Breathe! Celebrate! And then let it register that your arduous journey has just begun.
What makes one titleholder more successful than another? It isn’t necessarily your placement at Nationals, because you could make the Top 5 but not have lived up to the standard of excellence that will endear you to your pageant staff, fellow contestants and community (for example, not showing up for an appearance, forcing your director to chase you down to turn in paperwork, or an attitude of entitlement). Preparation for Nationals is extremely important and a vital part of your reign, but it isn’t everything. If you truly want to get the most out of your year, familiarize yourself with these 10 Commandments until they become ingrained and second nature:
Ok, so you’ve read all about being a successful titleholder and you’re thinking, “If I win, I’ll do all that.” DO IT NOW! Be a titleholder before you actually become one with a proven track record of performing the job and meeting all the job requirements. Instead of telling the judges in your interview, “I plan on….,” implement your plans now. If you are already doing the job, it isn’t much of a leap for the judges to determine that you are ready, a good fit, qualified and worthy to wear the crown!
Angie Beasley Director, Miss World England. Photo: Angie Beasley
Angie Beasley has spent a lifetime in the world of pageantry, first as a contestant and titleholder, which lead to a lifelong career organizing pageants. She became the organizer of Miss UK in the 1990s and is now the Director for Miss England World since 2002. Angie was initially a regional heat organizer, and then became the national organizer of Miss United Kingdom which then led to Miss World. In 2002 the UK contest was split in to 4 countries so now 4 women get to go to Miss World instead of just one.
Over the years Angie has met thousands of women who have competed in pageants and who have held national and international titles. A standout beauty queen for Angie is former Miss World Ashwariya Rai. In 1994, Angie saw Ashwariya Rai win the Miss World title in Sun City South Africa.
“I remember seeing Ashwariya walk out on to the stage when she represented India. The audience cheered, she had a lot of support. She had so much charisma, grace and seemed so genuine; you believed every word she said in her final question. Not only was she stunning she had the most magical smile and spoke with such passion.
Ashwariya Rai Miss World 1994. Photo: India Times
A few months later she came to a contest which I organized in England as a guest in Leicester. She was so down to earth and approachable. To me a good title holder needs to be like this, true to herself as the real person comes out in the end. You are usually only a beauty queen for short period of time. If you are easy to work with, other opportunities may follow and you can use the platform to go on to bigger and better things .
What is lovely is that even now Ashwariya is a big star; having appeared in Hollywood and Bollywood films, she hasn’t forgot where she started. I’ve seen Ashwariya attend Miss World events supporting Julia Morley who is the chairwoman of Miss World. It’s great to see that type of support after all these years.
I also think a good title holder needs to be someone with these type of qualities who is committed to the role. Someone who doesn’t mind charity work as that is mostly what Miss England does! She needs to be a true Beauty with a Purpose, as that is at the heart of Miss England and Miss World, not just in it for herself to get famous.
Even though our reigning Miss England Bhasha Mukherjee is a full time serving doctor, she still makes time to support charities and causes. When she became Miss England Bhasha decided to use the Miss England role to highlight Diabetes and went to schools and communities highlighting the importance of healthy eating something she is still passionate about. She chose this cause as her own father has been diagnosed with the disease so it was close to her heart and her passion for the cause comes through.
This was used as her beauty with a purpose project at Miss World. To me, a good title will not try to follow others, she will choose something she truly believes in and stick to it and be true to herself. She needs to have passion and drive and be self motivated, not wait for others to do everything for her. But at the same time remain graceful and humble not forgetting where she started!”
Bhasha Mukherjee Miss World England 2019. Photo: Instagram
In this video, Miss World England 2019 Bhasha Mukherjee talks about her journey of being a national titleholder.
Miss World England 2019 Bhasha Mukherjee
My pageantry platform is Empowerment 360. I seek to empower others to live life to the fullest.Learn More