Outside of pageant interview, your onstage introduction is the best way to connect with the judges. The introduction varies slightly from system to system, but as a generalized statement you are simply giving the judges a second glimpse at your poise, articulation, and confidence. Now, let's get into the specifics of how to use your introduction to win the crown.
Miss USA 2019 contestants during the introduction. Photo: Alex Mertz
Many contestants do not realize the weight of the Introduction in the competition. If you're competing in a system such as National American Miss then introduction is a scored phase of the competition. Not just some cute part of the production.
Again, this is a second look for judges to get to know you. The judges have already seen you in Interview and made a judgment about you. Many girls think about Introduction the same way they think about Finals Night, believing the judges have already made a decision and there's no reason to try.
Not only is this a defeatist attitude, but it is also very inaccurate. Take for example, Miss USA, Erin Brady. She was by no means a front-runner. In fact, she was not even on our list for the Top 10 Predictions for Miss USA! But boy do I love a good underdog story. Hidden in the shadow of popular pick, Miss Alabama USA, Mary-Margaret McCord, Miss Connecticut waited for the perfect opportunity to emerge on the radar, and when she did, we were all stunned by her beauty and intellect.
While we do not have a clue what happened in the interview room, we do know what she did in preliminaries and on finals night. In hindsight, while I did not predict her as the winner, Erin had a very confident and sure sound in Introduction, not to mention her elegant gait and posture at that faulty microphone stand. She also handled those stairs like a true professional. That alone, I imagine, gave her very high marks.
The Twinkle in Your Eye
Renowned and decorated voice coach and retired professor, Mr. Ralph Hillman brings us a bit of insight from a professional standpoint in the interviews he has conducted and meeting people in general. He says, “Those who win in the interview process appear with a twinkle in their eye which gives the interviewer the impression of their apparent eagerness to be there: great posture, breathing under control and a warm smile are mandatory and make the 'twinkle in the eye' easier to accomplish!” This can be applied to the Introduction portion as well. All of the above are vital to how those around us, and most importantly, the judges perceive us.
Do not discount the Introduction. Practice in the mirror and in front of an audience. Others can often pick up on small, involuntary patterns in speech and movement. Remember, you want to appear comfortable. Mr. Hillman has also said, “Whether one is scared beyond words on the inside really has nothing to do with outside appearances.” You must master the mind before you can tame the body. Keep calm and hold those shoulders back, project your voice, smile, don’t over think it, and well, you get the picture.