Miss South Carolina Teen 2007 answering her on-stage question.
Even before the viral footage of Miss Teen South Carolina’s 2007 on-stage question
fluke, it’s easy to understand that one of the most nerve-wrecking parts of any pageant can be the on-stage question. The judges expect a pageant queen to not only be an excellent public speaker, but also clear in her views, while respectful of others and politically informed at the same time.
(Caution: This article was posted on our previous site by Kristin Pollock, and though the examples are a bit dated her methods in answering are thorough and could be implemented for powerful results)
Currently, I can assure you that you will not be able to watch your evening news (which if you don’t already do, I strongly advise you to fit this into your schedule!) without hearing something about the current presidential race. If you’re competing in a pageant (or even not), it’s recommended that you have a general idea of what’s going on in the political world. Political knowledge can set you apart quickly from other candidates. However, politics are a touchy subject. When you’re asked how you feel on a subject, you’re expected to have an opinion! So, how do you have an opinion, without offending the opposing views of others?
Here’s an example of a kind of question that may come up in pageants, and how you should and should not answer:
“Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney is becoming a controversial topic due to rumors of his Mormon religion having a reputation for being sexist and racist in the past. Do you feel that his religion and beliefs should have an effect on his election? Why?
If you do not already have knowledge on rumors and events, and get asked this question, imagine trying to come up with a decent answer. Know your politics.
Secondly, keep in mind, no matter who you support in the presidential race; that has NOTHING to do with this question. Pause. Take a deep breath. And consider the actual question. A common mistake would be quickly answering your opinion on the racism and sexism rumors surrounding Romney. Even if you do not have knowledge on this debate, you can STILL answer! The ACTUAL question itself is:
Do you feel that his religion and beliefs should have an effect on his election? Why?
This is where things get tricky. Politics are a sensitive subject. However, regardless of whom you support in the presidential election (or whatever the current event debate may be), the audience, and the judges, may feel very passionate to an opposing view. Say your opinion on the subject, but keep in mind that you do not want to offend people who feel the opposite you do. An acceptable answer could be something like:
"Do you feel that his religion and beliefs should have an effect on his election? Why?"
If your answer is NO his religion should not have an effect:
“The United States sells itself on having a separation of church and state. I believe that as not just a presidential candidate, but also an American citizen, there is still a right to freedom of religion. As long as his or her personal beliefs support equality among all races and sexes, I do not feel that their religion should have any effect on the election. People should focus on who a candidate is as a person themselves and that candidate's own personal plans and ideas for the country when choosing a candidate.”
If your answer is YES his religion should have an effect:
“While I believe that everyone has a right to their own beliefs, I also believe that if a candidate IS truly active and strong in his or her beliefs in a religion that is against the foundations of equality and freedom that this country is based on, then that should be a deciding factor in that candidate’s election.”
Remember; these are EXAMPLES of answers that could be used. Your answer should always be an honest form of YOUR OWN opinion. These example answers work because they do not offend anyone: Neither of these answers agree NOR disagree whether the rumors and controversies regarding Romney’s beliefs on equality because that is not the actual question. However, both of these answers still give an opinion on the question. One of the worst ways to answer an opinion question is to remain neutral instead of giving your honest opinion. They are asking your opinion! Give it. Just remember to be tasteful when you do so.
Remember: You are not being judged on your opinion, but rather how well you hold it up.