The interview portion is one of the most important parts of a pageant competition. However, aside from the interview, the way you introduce yourself to the judges also plays a significant role in how you connect with them and whether you will impress them and the audience. Although the introductory part varies from one pageant system to another, generally, during this stage, the judges can get a second look at your poise as well as how you articulate yourself and whether you are confident.
Let’s get into more details on how to stand out during the introduction part of a pageant competition and secure the crown.
Miss USA 2019 contestants during the introduction. Photo: Alex Mertz
Many pageant contestants are unaware of the significance of the introduction portion of the competition. It is important to know that this is not just an extra part of the production.
Instead, it is a phase during which the judges get to know you as a contestant and give you scores. This applies when you are competing for a title such as National American Miss.
When you get to the competition introduction, the judges have already seen the pageant outfits and how each participant presents themselves. This means that they have already seen your interview and how you answer pageant questions and have already made a judgment based on your speech and delivery.
This is why many participants believe that the introduction is like the Final Night, and the judges have already made their decision, so there is no need to try more and impress them.
However, such an attitude and thinking are inaccurate and can result in defeat. What many of the girls participating don’t realize is that, as mentioned above, during the introduction process, the judges get a second glimpse at how you present yourself. This is very significant as the way you present yourself shows a lot about a contestant’s confidence. It is also great for those to remember who are running a pageant on their own - don’t discount the introduction.
One of the successful examples of pageant introductions is the one by Miss USA titleholder Erin Brady. Brady was not a front-runner during the competition, and she was not even in people’s predictions for winning the title. Throughout the competition, the most popular pick was Miss Alabama USA, Mary-Margaret McCord.
Nevertheless, despite being an ‘underdog,’ Brady still managed to stand out from the others in the competition and impress the judges and the viewers with her beauty and intellect.
While nobody has a clue what happened during the interview process, everybody witnessed what Erin Brady did during the preliminaries and on finals night.
Throughout her introduction, Brady exuded confidence and poise. She showed her elegant posture, and walked the stairs as a true professional. Due to her successful introductory presentation, the judges decided to give Erin Brady very high marks, and as a result, she was later crowned Miss USA.
Mr. Ralph Hillman, a retired professor and renowned voice coach, gives us professional insight on how to win competitions such as beauty pageants which he gained from meeting different people in his everyday life.
Hillman expresses, ‘The participants who win the interview process of a pageant have a twinkle in their eyes, which gives the interviewer the impression they are very eager to be there. They accomplish that as they show a great posture, give a warm smile and have their breathing under control.’
The professor states that the same can be applied during the introductory portion of the competition. This is because the actions mentioned above play an important role in how the judges and other people around us perceive us.
As can be seen, if you are participating in a pageant, it is very important not to underestimate the introduction phase of the competition. What you can do to present yourself in a better way is to practice in the mirror or do a mock introduction in front of a small audience of your friends and family. You can also find a pageant coach to help you as you practice and prepare.
The reason why this is important is that people viewing us can easily detect unconscious patterns in speech and movement. It is important to practice in front of others so you can learn how to appear as comfortable as possible despite your nerves.
Mr. Hillman has also noted, ‘One can be terrified on the inside, but that shouldn’t be noticeable on their outside appearance.’ For this reason, it is very important to learn how to master your mind before you learn how to control your body.
Make sure to stay calm and hold your shoulders back, learn how to project your voice, show a smile, and don’t overthink; you get the whole picture of how to appear confident. Use this skill of “outer confidence” to help nail your pageant interview AND introduction alike!