I have attended a lot of pageants this past fall. Contestants have ranged in age from infant to adult. One of the biggest mistakes I have seen made over and over again is failing to grow up to your next level of age division. These are the major age dividing lines when you should reevaluate what you are doing.
This 6-year-old is ready to take the stage!
Toddler Pageant Expectations Ages 4-6
At this age, the child is expected to have a sense of self control. It is no longer cute for the child to simply run around on stage. They should be able to remember a simple routine and do it without the help of mom or dad. Blowing kisses and other cute moves are still age appropriate and will win the hearts of the judges. This is the age that children should start weaning themselves from someone in the audience telling them what to do. In pageant interview, the child should be able to answer questions with complete sentences and understand that the answer should give a little more information about why the child feels that way.
Jr Miss Pageant Expectations Ages 10-12
By this age, contestants are expected to be completely independent from any parental coaching. This is also the age where it is time to leave behind the blowing kisses and fishy faces. Watch especially for head tilting that may have continued from the earlier years. Although the walk should not be sexy, like the older teens, there should be a bounce to their step and more eye contact with the judges. In interview, the contestant should be able to sit still and perhaps, give a story or more detail in their answers. They are expected to have broader interests outside of just school and home.
Teen Pageant Expectations Ages 16-18
Now a contestant is in the older teen division. Any remnants of head tilting or other cute gestures should be completely gone. There should be elegance in the evening gown walk and a little more hip sway for fun fashion or swimsuit. Interview now moves to the next level. Sitting still and impeccable eye contact are a must! Answers should be deeper and have character in them. Most contestants should be able to speak well on a variety of topics.
Miss Pageant Expectations Ages 20-30
Contestants in this age range are predominantly a Miss or a Ms. contestant. This is the time that stage work is sexier. There should be more hip and shoulder movement as well as more confidence on stage. In interview, you should speak at length about where you are in life, school and job, as well as where you are going. You should have a strong community service record and be up to date on current events.
Mrs Pageant Expectations Ages 30+
This will be contestants in the Ms and Mrs. Pageants. Much like the Miss contestant, your stage walk should be confident. There should be nothing “cute” left. Flattering clothing and a strong walk should be your hallmark. In interview, job and family will be your focus along with community service. You will be expected to speak on all subject matters including current events. Keep your answers personal Remember, each time you make the transition to a new age category, you need to make changes in how you compete. If you are struggling with updating your competition style, work with a pageant coach. Just because it worked when you were four, doesn’t mean it will work when you are 12, 18 or 30.
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