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What to Do With Your Arms When Competing in Pageants

10, July 2013

pageant walk, pageant posture, pageant tips

Miss Nevada USA 2012 Jade Kelso- Impeccable Posture

When I began participating in pageants, one of the most difficult things for me to learn was how to perfect my posture and control my lanky limbs. Even now as I write this I catch myself slumping. Your posture inadvertently affects how others perceive you, thus affecting every part of the competition. For instance, it is not at all becoming to see a beautiful and bright young lady slump in her chair during interview or roll her shoulders during evening gown. This subtle and oftentimes involuntary action portrays boredom, disinterest, and a lack of confidence. We know that this is not your intended goal, so we here at The Pageant Planet are here to help you control your limbs and make a good impression. Have you ever heard a quote or a phrase that just sticks with you? Once I was listening to a dear friend of mine recount a mock interview session that she had participated in and the critiques she had received. One assessment was provided by a well-known Miss America pageant figure, Mr. Gerald Odom. He contributed that my friend needed to work on her posture and suggested an easy three-step fix which he called: up-back-down.

Up-Back-Down

Start by relaxing. Take a deep breath and then exhale slowly. Allow your shoulders to roll forward into a slump (I promise this is the only time we will give you permission to slump).  Now you are simply going to shrug your shoulders up to your neck, push them back behind you, and then lower them down. By doing this simple exercise, you have taken yourself from shy to high on the crown’s successor list. “But what do I do with my arms?” you may ask. Well, this is tricky. To answer this question, let’s take a look at our amazingly intricate bodies. Look at the arm, long and lean. Its connotation is strength and mobility. Attached at the shoulder through a ball and socket joint, it connects to the neck which supports the head; ultimately arms have a pretty important job. Likewise, they are important to pageantry. These limbs, like mentioned before, are associated with the shoulder, thus making it directly related to posture.

With that said, I want to examine the ways we can best use this important part of the body for maximum points in pageantry.

On-Stage Question

This is the part of the competition where the biggest jitters come out, but it is important that you learn to control them. I have a habit of swaying and shaking my hands when I get nervous. This involuntary movement can be very distracting to a judge and can cause them to watch your body instead of listening to what you have to say. For instance, each woman in the Top 6 at the Miss USA pageant had a different approach regarding the nature of their arms in the onstage question round. Miss Utah, Marissa Powell took a unique position during her question. She held her hands close to her body. It was an unorthodox pose but it made her feel safe. Miss Alabama, Mary Margaret McCord had my favorite posture. She placed her hands in front of her body and then quickly switched to place them behind her. This pose forces the shoulders to be upright, but it also allows you the freedom to bring them back before you to talk with your hands after the question has been asked. Miss Illinois, Stacie Juris looked very confident as she approached the microphone. While I am not a fan of keeping the hands by the side, she rocked it. As the question was being asked, she placed her left hand on her waist, which also forced her to stay erect. Miss South Carolina, Megan Pinckney kept her arms at her sides during the duration of her question. She would have been better served placing them behind her back, as she swayed slightly. Miss Connecticut, Erin Brady had nervous hands. It was her answer that redeemed her. While she approached Giulianna Rancic, I noticed her fidgeting, it wasn’t until she answered that she gained confidence. And lastly, Miss Texas Ali Nugent held herself very well during her question. Mirroring Miss Illinois, she too placed her left hand on her waist making her look very confident.

Evening Gown

In evening gown I stick to three words: simple, subtle, and infrequent. I am not a fan of a lot of posing in evening gown. Some might argue that it depends on the dress and the system. I would concur, although I think that less is more in this phase of the competition. The judges are looking at your grace and beauty. You do not want to make over the top movements in this facet. A hand on the hip here and sway of the dress there are all that are really needed in my opinion. Just remember your posture and you are all set in evening gown.

Swimsuit

This is when you can really show your personality. Look at Miss Teen USA 2012, Logan West, when she competed in swimsuit. She was glowing! She was also sassy but kept it lighthearted. She is a down to earth titleholder and she showed this in her swimsuit by “keeping it real.” In this area you really want to stand out. You have worked hard to get your perfect pageant body, so show it off! Don’t hold back. We have covered a lot, but the takeaway is simple: have good posture and practice what poses work best for your body type! Your arms are an extension of you (no pun intended) and represent you in many ways. And always remember pageant girls, keep your heels, head, and standards HIGH!

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Titleholder of the Day

Title Holder Of the Day

Lovice Brinkman

Ms. American Elegance Sophisticate 2019

Her tip is: "A title is for one year, a friendship can last forever."

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