Elite International Queens
Finding a new pageant system is daunting. Maybe you've hit a plateau in your current system. You might not be what the judges are looking for in that system. It could be something as simple as you just are not ready to be competitive in that system. Sometimes, you age out before you figure these things out and can make a competitive run in the system. Aging out is scary for many reasons. Not only did you not win in a system, but you're getting older. Your options are seemingly limited. Perhaps you now have to choose if you want to focus on your career or pageantry.
We all face this decision at some point. Some choose to juggle family, crown, and career or some combination thereof. Others go into pageant retirement, which they could come out of at some point if they choose. No matter what the reason, choosing a new system is scary. Luckily, there are many out there, with a broad spectrum of age groups that just might fit your needs and qualifications. (Read: Best Pageants of 2015 and Top 10 International Pageants of 2015).
Cheri Kennedy, President of Cheri Kennedy-The Image Group, posted on Facebook last week, "Often we simply have to choose the perfect pageant for you. Then we work diligently and get you ready." When I asked her about this she said, "I believe that 100%. Not everyone is ideal for Miss USA or Miss America. There are other pageants that are respectable and have great reputations - hiring a coach or trying a few will get a girl to the best one." So, if you have decided to continue on your quest for crowning glory, here are a few tips to choose the new system that is right for you. (Read: Pageant Question of the Day: Choosing a Pageant System)
Click, Find a Pageant, to discover pageants in your local area based on your interest, location and age.
1. Figure Out Who You Are
Miss Teen, Mrs., and Miss International 2015. Photo courtesy of the International Pageants Facebook page.
Sometimes we don't succeed in a system for a number of reasons. Maybe we weren't what the system was looking for, maybe we weren't as prepared for it as we should have been. "I aged out of MAO and switched to International. As I got older, the one aspect that became most important to me was platform. I came to value more impact driven appearances than parades and galas. I valued that International placed 40% on interview skills and in turn validity of a developed platform," said Jesse Ladoue, Pageant Planet's Queen of Coaching.
But with this knowledge you can pick a new system with more focus on what is important to you and how you fit in with the system.
"The last time I switched systems I chose one that I felt was a better fit for me. I felt like I could represent exactly what they were looking for and I had a personal connection to the platform. I think it is so important to chose a system based on YOU. Make the change on the best fit for you, not what you'd like to win but may not be what the system is looking for," said Stephanie McGrane, Pageant Planet's Queen of Operations.
2. Research the System
2015 Miss Earth United States and Miss Earth-Water Brittany Ann Payne.
AllyKat PhotoGraphy, HMU Faith Mohamed, Wardrobe Mac Duggal from Deja Vu Boutique. Photo courtesy of the Miss Earth United State Facebook page.
Once you have a few systems you're interested in, do your research on those systems. You need to answer a few questions. Heather Rosplock, Director for Miss Earth United States in Oklahoma, Louisiana and Southwest, and International Ms. Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana suggested these questions:
Getting answers to these questions can help you pick a system you are comfortable and happy in. Danielle Trumbull, Miss Spirit of the Northeast 2016 as well as a pageant judge and director said, "It is important to 100 percent agree with the values of a pageant you are striving to represent. When entering a pageant I always want to make sure it will be one I will have a good experience being a part of. I look for pageants that promote positive pageantry, pageants that consist of women who lift each other up, and also important, pageants that celebrate platforms."
3. Crunch the Numbers
Katie Cole, Miss Nationwide 2015, being crowned by Lisa Opie, Miss Nationwide 2014. Miss Nationwide is now online. Photo courtesy of the Miss Nationwide Facebook page.
Pageantry is an expensive sport and you need to figure out how much you are willing to spend on the cost to enter, be competitive, and travel. Research travel options (plane, train, bus, car) to get to your pageant and how much the will hotel cost in addition to that. Consider the cost of the entry fee and what it covers? Any necessary food for pageant week/weekend? Do you need new headshots? Do you need wardrobe?
Be responsible with your money and figure out how much you can afford and how much it will cost to compete before you commit. As a bonus, there are some pageants that are run either entirely or partially online, which can help cut down on costs.
4. Remember Your Why
Betty Cantrell being crown Miss America 2016. Photo courtesy of bostonmagazine.com.
No matter what, always, always remember why you are doing this. Trumbull explains, "My platform revolves around preventing animal cruelty and helping the public realize the correlation between abuse towards animals and abuse towards humans. I am currently a state titleholder in the Miss Spirit of the USA organization. The values of this pageant are empowering women, raising and maintaining self esteem, and promoting the positive aspects of pageants."
She added, "Society does not often realize the relevance of pageants and the positive roles pageant titleholders play in our communities. A system that strives to show the general public how beneficial pageantry is to society is often a pageant I will sign up for right away!" Sticking to your why gives you focus and a center throughout your decision making process, pageant preparation, and competition. Don't lose sight of it when things get crazy and you get tired. (Read: How to Overcome Insecurities on Pageant Day)
5. Talk it Over
United States National Pageants 2015 Queens. Photo courtesy of the United States National Pageants Facebook page.
If you find yourself confused on which system to pick, talk it over with your pageant friends, coach, and parents. They can lead you in the right direction, each with different angles. A pageant friend can direct you to how a contestant feels in the system, a coach often knows how to win in the system and if you would be able to, and your pageant parents often know you better than you know yourself. All three can help figure out how you would fit into the system.
It's Not Just About Aging Out
Olivia Jordan, Miss USA 2015 after crowning. Olivia competed in Miss California USA, Miss World, and Miss Oklahoma USA before winning the Miss USA crown. Photo courtesy of missuniverse.com.
Sometimes, when we hit a plateau in our system of choice, it is actually a good idea to compete outside of your system for a while. "I have competed in a few systems over the last couple of years. When I made my initial change, I was looking to gain experience in different areas of competition and to gain overall stage presence and confidence. It wasn't a complete deviation, but rather a way for me to gain competition time to make me even better in whichever system I pursued," said Sydney Marsh, The Pageant Planet's Queen of Snapchat. Getting practice in another system can help you gain competitive advantage in your other system. As long as you are not under contract and can do so, use it to your advantage. "Sometimes even if you love what a pageant stands for, switching systems can increase your chances of success. Sometimes a program with different scoring and a different focus means you'll win! I always look for interview heavy pageants as an example," said Laura Pennington, The Pageant Planet's former Queen of Editing.
Final Piece of Advice
"Always be yourself," said Rosplock, "Do not change who you are and what you stand for because you think you have to fit in with that system. If you feel that way, its probably not the right system for you."
Decision Time Now that you know how to pick a new system, get to it! Click, Find a Pageant, to discover pageants in your local area based on your interest, location and age. Good luck ladies!
Her tip is: "Enjoy networking and remembering you are competing against yourself not others!"Learn More