Mrs. America 2018, Mekayla Eppers, Mrs. Jamaica 2017, Dionne Tarter and Mrs. Belarus 2017, Daria Reut at the 2018 Mrs. World Pageant in South Africa. Photo: Dionne Tarter Facebook
According to a report released on Women’s News on January 24, 2016, 2.5 million girls participate in 100,000 beauty pageants each year in the United States. About 5,000 child beauty pageants are held each year, with about 250,000 total contestants under the age of 18 included.
We recently asked our readers what the average amount of time was that they spent competing in a pageant before they won their title. We received about 40 responses, and the results were quite fascinating.
What is the Average Amount of Times a Girl Competes in a Pageant Before She Wins?
For the contestants competing in the younger categories, such as Princess, Junior Teen and Teen, it took an average of five to six years to win a major title. For the Miss, Ms. and Mrs. Categories, the ladies claimed the average amount of time was about three years before they were awarded the crown. The younger girls also mentioned that they often had to change age groups before they won anything because they aged out of the category they started with.
It could be that the under 17 girls are dealing with some different obstacles that the adult women are not. For one thing, just being younger means that a person is still radically learning and growing, and it may also take them longer to master all of the skills that pageants require. When you’re a child, you have so much going on with you developmentally, and just when you have figured out one area of life, another issue pops up and you’re starting all over again.
Also, if adult women have competed in pageants as youngsters, then they would naturally have a lot of experience already, and that may contribute to that age group winning their crowns sooner. They would be more comfortable being on stage, they would be more natural during the interview process, and speaking in public would be second nature. All those years that they spent in training when they were younger would make their adult pageant career a lot smoother.
Women who are more mature are going to know themselves inside and out, whereas a younger girl is still trying to figure out who she is. An adult woman has had the benefit of more education, more career development and more diverse life experience. All of those things contribute to a more well-rounded contestant who knows all that she has to offer and can communicate that clearly to the judges. (Read: 10 Reasons Pageantry Should Be Part of Your Post-College Life)
Three reasons why someone is not winning their pageant
Regardless of a person’s age or the type of pageant background they have, each person has to overcome their own obstacles on their pageant journey.
Some girls just seem to figure out what they need to do to win their title, and they work hard and do it, and it pays off for them. Others struggle with their performance and sometimes get stuck and don’t know what they need to do. Then, still other wonderful pageant girls seem to be the total package, and for whatever reason, the judges just don’t seem to see it, and they end up confused and frustrated with no insight into why.
It can be so disheartening to have your dream delayed and not know why it hasn’t happened for you. (Read: Can You Win a Pageant You've Lost Multiple Times?)
Typically there are three reasons why someone is not winning their pageant if they’ve been working at it for awhile. They either are not working hard enough, they are not working smart enough, or they are working on the wrong thing.
1. Not working hard enough
I hate to say it, but some people just don’t have a strong work ethic. Most of us, at times, are tempted to try to cut corners or have unreasonable expectations that we should receive something with very little effort on our part. It’s human nature, and it’s also a common hallmark of emotional immaturity. Sometimes, you are doing all the right things, but you know that you are not giving it all you’ve got. (Read: How Staying Consistent in Pageantry Can Win You The Crown)
Maybe you’re working out regularly, but you’re cheating on your diet all the time. Maybe you’re practicing interview questions, but you refuse to participate in mock interviews or challenge yourself by studying current events or paying attention to the world news.
Pageant preparation is hard! It requires total dedication, perseverance and patience. If you are not working hard enough, you probably know it already. Maybe all you need to do is rededicate yourself to your dream and just push yourself a little bit more and you will see the results that you desire.
2. Not working smart enough
The second reason that you may not be winning your title is that you are not working smart enough. Your work ethic is not your problem, but you just don’t know the correct things to put your energy and focus into.
The wisest thing that you can do if you find yourself competing in the same system year after year and not seeing improvement in your placement and an increase in your scores is to invest in some coaching sessions with a good pageant coach. Not everyone needs a coach to win, but if you have been competing for more than three years and you have not had any real coaching, I would highly suggest that you make it a priority.
A professional pageant coach, who knows what they’re doing, can make all the difference for you. They are not your best friend, your sister or your mom. They are not afraid to tell you the honest truth or risk hurting your feelings by telling you what you may need to hear in order to make the changes necessary to win your pageant. (Read: Why Self-Love is Important in Pageantry)
If you are going to hire a coach, then you need to trust your coach to do their job. If you invested in them, then be willing to be teachable and try something different. Obviously what you have been doing hasn’t worked, so give your new coach a chance to prove they know what they’re talking about.
3. Working on the wrong thing
Finally, it may come down to the fact that you are working on the wrong thing. In other words, you are just in the wrong system for you. (Read: How to Build up Your Pageant Brand)
Every pageant system is different. Every pageant system has a definite brand, with its own ideas, values and requirements. If you do not understand that brand completely, then you will not win that title. If you do not complement that brand completely, then you will also not win that title.
It’s up to you to do your homework and get to know your pageant so that you can determine if you are a good fit, and sometimes this can be hard to assess without objectivity. This is another reason that you need feedback from a professional and knowledgeable coach who has the precise experience in the type of pageant that you’re doing.
If you understand your particular pageant’s brand, and you know what you need to do to embody it, and make it your own, then you’re off to a solid start.
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Persistence pays off
There are so many stories in the pageant world about girls who competed over and over but never gave up, and finally, they did win their dream title.
One of my favorite inspirational stories is the story of Dionne Tarter, the current Mrs. Jamaica 2017. Even though Tarter was born in Jamaica, she moved to the United States and eventually made her home in Washington state. After getting married, she decided to enter the Mrs. Washington pageant, the state preliminary to Mrs. America.
She entered the pageant an incredible nine times trying to win, and after nearly throwing in the towel, she persevered again and became Mrs. Washington on the tenth attempt. Think about that for a moment. That is a decade of her life that she dedicated to accomplishing her dream. That is 10 rounds of interviews, 10 opening numbers to learn, 10 walks in a bathing suit, 10 expensive evening gowns, and 10 onstage questions. (Read: How to Deal with Losing a Pageant)
When she went on to Mrs. America, she placed in the Top 12, which is quite a notable achievement. It was when she went to nationals that she realized that she won her crown at the exact right moment for her. She said that if she had received it any earlier, she would not have been as mentally and emotionally prepared, nor would she have been able to do her job as Mrs. Washington as well as she did.
What’s even more fascinating is that those 10 years of dedication ultimately prepared her for an international stage and an opportunity that hadn’t even existed yet while she was competing for her state title. After her reign, she was offered the opportunity to become the very first Mrs. Jamaica and travel to South Africa to compete at the Mrs. World pageant!
Tarter’s pageant training has also paid off in another unexpected way in that she has now begun a successful career as a model in her home state. For her, every single thing that she went through on her journey was worth it. She is a moving testimony to what a woman can accomplish if she is patient, hardworking and believes in herself and what she has to offer to the world. (Read: How to Use Perseverance to Win the Crown)
Mrs. Jamaica 2017 Dionne Tarter. Photo: Dionne Tarter Facebook
Winning is so much more than the crown
Just because you did not win a pageant does not mean that you are a loser. Only one girl goes home with the crown. That means that the majority of the contestants are going home without it. Are all those beautiful, intelligent and gifted girls who entered the pageant all losers just because they didn’t manage to come away with a sparkly crown? Of course not! (Read: How To Win It All Without Winning the Crown)
There are so many outstanding and valid benefits to participating in a pageant that it would be crazy to think that not winning is a negative thing. The positives of being involved in pageantry are endless, and none of them have anything to do becoming the titleholder at the end of the night.
Pageantry at its best is about personal growth and development and pushing yourself out of your comfort zones. It’s about pursuing the best person and best version of yourself that you can be. It’s about perfecting your communication skills and polishing your talents and abilities.
It’s about creating bonds with other quality women who are just like you and who may become your friends for life. And, ultimately, it’s about serving in your community and bringing attention to a cause that means something to you. (Read: How to Promote Your Platform Through Community Service
All of those things are gifts of being involved in pageants, and they are yours to keep. So much of what you receive from your pageant experience is immediately transferable to other areas of life like personal relationships, educational endeavors, and current and future professional and career opportunities. So, do not ever think that your time is wasted if you are not winning your pageant.
Even if you have been competing for years and haven’t won your crown yet, it doesn’t mean that you should quit. You and only you can decide if and when it’s time to reevaluate your goals. I personally think that if you believe in your heart that you are meant to have a certain title, and you are doing everything you know to do in order to get it, then you should not give up.
The best things in life are worth fighting for and worth waiting for. Best of luck at your next pageant, we believe in you!