Every pageant girl dreams of being a national titleholder. Few titleholders get that opportunity. When it comes to picking a system to compete in, often it's the national pageant that gives it its reputation. While there are many national systems out there, our readers nominated their favorites and helped us narrow it down to a Top 10. If you want to look through our directory of pageants to see which ones you qualify for then you can click here to sort through 100s of pageants to discover, which ones are in your local area that you qualify for. If you don't see your pageant represented then tell your director that he or she can click here to submit their pageant. It's free and only takes a few minutes to set up. Now, onto the top national pageants of 2016!
The Miss Earth United States pageant got a revamp in 2016 with a new national director, Laura Clark. The pageant features Jr. Teen, Teen, Miss and Elite Miss divisions serving ages 11-34.
The winner of Miss Earth United States goes on to represent the USA at Miss Earth. Teen Miss Earth United States goes on to represent the United States at Miss Teen Earth International.
Teen Miss Earth United States 2016, Sarah Levandowski, went on to win Miss Teen Earth International 2016.
State pageants are being scheduled now and at-large titles are currently being awarded. Visit Miss Earth United States for more information.
Sarah Levandowski, Teen Miss Earth United States 2016 and Miss Teen Earth International 2016. Photo/Bazaar Models courtesy of/Teen Miss Earth United States Facebook page.
Perhaps the most non-traditional pageant on the list is Miss Teen of America. This unique pageant focuses on a teen being a teen while helping to increase inclusion through their partnership with Special Olympics. (Read: Miss Teen of America 2017 Seeking At-Large Delegates) To compete in this system, contact Miss Teen of America for information on representing your state at the national pageant.
Serena Zamarripa, Miss Teen of America 2016-2017. Photo Courtesy/thepageantplanet.com
Also known as Miss American Coed, this pageant began in 1983. It seeks the "All-American" girl ages 3-22. The pageant includes an additional age division at the national level for ladies ages 23-30. Nationals are held in November in Orlando, FL. To become a MAC girl or for more information, contact MAC Pageants.
Miss American Coed titleholders. Photo courtesy of MAC.
Founded in 2010, this system seeks to promote the successes of their queens and encourage them to be ambassadors in their communities. The titleholders have donated to 20 different charities to date and their national beneficiary is Big Brothers Big Sisters. If you are interested in joining the system or for more information, contact USA Ambassador Pageant.
USA Ambassador 2016 Titleholders. Photos courtesy/thepageantplanet.com
Founded in 1977, this pageant highlights the abilities and successes of these titleholders in all aspects of their lives. Contestants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia compete in the national pageant. The winner of Mrs. America then goes on to compete for the title Mrs. World. (Read: How to Successfully Prepare for the Mrs America Pageant) To represent your state, visit the Mrs. America website or District of Columbia, Delaware, and Pennsylvania sites if you live in those states.
Mrs. America 2016, Natalie Luttmer. Photo/mrsamerica.com.
5. USA National Miss USA National Miss has taken the pageant world by storm since it began in 2010. Since 2015, they have awarded over half a million dollars in cash, college scholarships and prizes. Their national platform, The Crown C.A.R.E.S, is an anti-bullying program which seeks to create a "Respectful Environment" in schools. (Read: 5 Ways USA National Miss May Be for You) If you are between the ages of 4-25 and want to be part of a rising system, USA National Miss could be for you.
USA National Miss 2016 titleholders. Photo courtesy/usanationalmiss.com.
4. Miss High School America Miss High School America offers its titleholders personal and professional opportunities. The national winners are awarded a prize package valued at $50,000, which includes a $10,000 scholarship. The system provides Junior High, High School, and Collegiate divisions. To join the fun and be part of this system, contact Miss Junior High, High School, and Collegiate America Pageants. Fun fact, Miss America 2017, Savvy Shields, was Miss Collegiate America 2013.
Miss High School America 2016 titleholders. Photo courtesy of/americashighschoolpageant.com
3. Miss America The grandmother of them all, we wouldn't be here today if it weren't for Miss America. The pageant provides scholarships and many opportunities to its titleholders at the local, state and national level. Miss America is never in one place very long throughout her reign as she is always traveling in support of various national charities, including Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and the USO. Every Miss America got her start in a local pageant. Visit your state's MAO website for information on how to get involved and become your state titleholder and perhaps the next Miss America.
Miss America 2017, Savvy Shields, and her Top 5.
2. Miss USA Perhaps the pageant known for its glamour and its model-like titleholders, 2016 was a year of change for Miss USA. A new owner, a new television station, and the addition of an at-large titleholder as Miss 52 ultimately crowned the first active military titleholder, Deshauna Barber from the District of Columbia. Barber is a lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve. This year's telecast highlighted the career and academic successes of the titleholders, demonstrating how they represent the organization's motto, "Confidently Beautiful." While some Miss USA state pageants have locals, most you just have to compete in the state pageant. For the opportunity to represent your state at Miss USA, contact your state today.
Deshauna Barber, Miss USA 2016.
1. National American Miss There is a huge reason this pageant is number one on the list. It offers contestants multiple opportunities to display their passions, grow in confidence, and ultimately, have the time of their lives performing, rehearsing, making new friends during nationals over Thanksgiving weekend at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and because more girls compete in National American Miss than any other system on the planet. National American Miss offers multiple routes to the national pageant, so even if you don't win a state title, you still have a shot to get on the national stage and win a national title. State queens and appointed state queens compete for the title National American Miss. Appointed city queens, All-American City Queens and Court, Top 5 to State Queen, State Cover Girls, State Ambassadors, and Major Optional Contest Winners get to represent their city at Nationals and compete for the title National All-American Miss. Runners-up to major optional contests can also go to nationals and compete in the optional contests specifically. (Read: Your Ultimate Guide to NAM Optional Contests) Multiple recent MAO titleholders have been NAM girls in the past. If you're interested in finding out more about this pageant system or to become a NAM girl yourself, contact National American Miss to get all the details.
National American Miss Teen 2016, Maddie Helget, being crowned at nationals. Photo courtesy/Maddie Helget's Facebook.
Going Forward A pageant system is supposed to encourage its contestants to be not only beautiful on the outside, but on the inside as well. These systems in our Top 10 National Pageants of 2016 list provide opportunities for their contestants to serve and be rewarded for that service while also honoring their successes in their careers, academics, talents and personal platforms. We hope they continue to grow confident, goal-driven contestants who will not only take on the world but change it for the better long after pageant day is over. Here's to 2017! Save Save
Her tip is, "aspire to inspire with everything that you do whether it be through your platform, branLearn More