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Pageat Interview Queen

Foundation 101

Choosing the right foundation for your skin can be challenging. Skin types vary, so determining the right formula for your skin is not an easy task. There are also different types of foundations for different occasions. Whether you are looking for a foundation to use every day for work or a foundation to last you during a beauty pageant, there are plenty of options for each occasion and skin type.

Women that have oily skin require a product that is not going to make their skin more oily than it already may be. Oily skin also tends to create larger pores, so a foundation that does not clog the pores is also important. A working product for this skin type is the Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup. This product states that it will provide 15 hours of wear while keeping the skin matte. The foundation helps control the excess oils that skin may produce. The Double Wear Foundation is perfect for stage performances such as pageants, for it maintains a matte look throughout the day and prevents shine.

On the other hand, women with dry skin need a product that moisturizes their skin. Sometimes, foundation can dry skin out and cause a flaky look. If the product is not moisturizing enough, the foundation will not lay on the skin nicely. The La Mer treatment foundation is perfect for dry skin, for it is embedded with with moisturizing elements that combat dry skin. It continuously moisturizes your skin throughout the day, avoiding the flaky look that some foundations can create. Pageant contestants want a flawless face when on stage, so this moisturizing foundation is ideal for those with dry skin.

For acne prone skin, women need a product that is for sensitive skin and will not break the skin out. The Neutrogena SkinClearing Oil-Free Makeup is the perfect way to combat acne while also creating a flawless face. This makeup is unique, for there is salicylic acid incorporated in the liquid. With this product, you can combat acne while also covering the blemishes that you may want to hide. For the beauty queen, this foundation allows you to feel confident on stage while also providing your skin with treatment.

If you are a working woman or a busy student, makeup may not always be your top priority. A light foundation that is perfect for every day is the NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation. It provides a very natural glow; it looks as if you are not even wearing makeup. It blends smoothly and leaves you looking fresh, awake, and ready to take on the day.

Being a beauty queen, it is important to wear the right makeup for stage appearances. This means that your face must stand out, for the bright lights tend to wash out an individual’s face. The Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation is the perfect stage makeup, for it creates a flawless look. In addition, a pageant girl’s picture is always being taken. The foundation is infused with HD quality to photograph beautifully. Whatever the occasion or your skin type may be, there is always a solution to your makeup needs.



Whether on stage at the Miss USA pageant or sun bathing on the beach, a golden glow makes you feel and look your best. Going to a salon and purchasing a spray on tan might be convenient and quick, but it can be rather expensive. A spray tan may cost anywhere from $40 to $60 depending on the salon or studio. In addition, spray on tans are applied by a machine, meaning there could be some uneven patches of color or blotching of the formula.

However, there are custom spray tans available, where a professional applies the spray tan by hand. Such applications tend to be more even and clean since a professional is spraying your body with precision. Custom spray tans cost more than traditional spray tans, for they range anywhere from $65 to $80 varying from salon to salon.

There is another alternative to spray tans, however. Self-tanning has become increasingly popular among celebrities and pageant women alike. Self-tanners are products that can be purchased in beauty stores such as Ulta, Sephora, and Sally’s Beauty Supply. There are also more inexpensive products that are sold in grocery stores and drug stores. After having a spray tan applied, they only last for a week or less. A few days after application, the tan begins to fade and peel. It is a pain to go back to the studio and ask for a retouch, so self-tanning is an excellent way to avoid the hassle.

A self-tanner comes in several different formulas such as a lotion, spray or mousse. It is based upon preference regarding the formula you choose. You can apply the self-tanner in the comfort of your home and reapply when necessary. If any part of your tan begins to fade, it is very simple to reapply with your own products. Especially for the busy pageant queen, it is much more convenient to touch up the tan with personal materials. In addition, you have the power to control the intensity of the color and can choose which parts of your body you prefer darker or lighter.

A popular self-tanner used by celebrities and makeup artists is the St. Tropez Tanning Mousse. It has been highly raved about within the beauty world. This self -tanner is extremely easy to apply and has immediate results. In order to apply, you simply pump the mousse formula onto the application mitt (sold separately or bundled with the travel kit) and blend it all over your body. The benefit of the application mitt is that you avoid staining your hands with the self -tanning formula. The product is colored, so you can see exactly where you are applying. It also comes in various shades depending on your skin tone and desired color. The product is priced at $32 and lasts for at least five different application.

A gorgeous glow is perfect for the summertime or for a special event. Being a pageant women, the bright stage lighting can wash your skin and face out, so a golden color will allow for you to stand out and look your best. Not only will you stand out, but your confidence will shine and allow you to perfect the interview and own the stage.


Sun Protection

On a daily basis, it is vital to wear sunscreen or sun protection on your skin in order to avoid permanent damage. People of all skin tones are susceptible to sun damage, and many people are not aware of the harm that the sun can cause. Being a beauty queen, a tan is the perfect way to glow on stage and stand out. However, your tan does not need to come from the sun; there are other alternative such as self-tanners. Protecting your skin is far more important than having a bronze look.

Because sun damage is so powerful and harmful, it is important to apply sunscreen every day. Even if you are attending a charity event outside for only an hour, the sun will still have contact with your skin. Applying sunscreen does not only involve your visible skin, but it also involves your face and neck. Because of the delicate skin on your face and neck, it is even more susceptible to sun damage.

Protecting your skin from the sun does not have to be a burden, you can make it fashionable. For instance, put on a floppy sun hat or wrap a scarf around your head as an accessory that also protects your skin. If you are going to be outside for an extended period of time, wear a long sleeve top or bring a light sweater to cover the skin on your arms.

A popular sun care product is the Neutrogena® Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 55. This product has a high SPF, allowing for intense protection when outside. The ingredients are non comedogenic, meaning that the product will not clog pores or cause breakouts.  It is perfect for the reigning beauty queen, for it is oil free and will not make your skin shiny when standing on stage during a pageant. Maintaining healthy skin is the first step to standing out and owning the pageant stage.


Liquid Lipstick

Celebrities and makeup artists have been raving over the new product on the market, the liquid lipstick. It is the convenience of a lip gloss with the formula of a lipstick; how could you resist? Most companies tend to create a matte formula, but there are other finishes available. Liquid lipsticks also have long lasting power, perfect for a long day at work or a night on the town. Being a pageant competitor, it is important that your makeup stays put during the entire competition. There are so many cosmetic companies that have released their own version of the liquid lipstick, so you are bound to find the perfect formula for you!

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick

The Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick is a must have for your makeup collection. The collection comes in 28 gorgeous shades, so it is super easy to find a shade that works for you. The formula is long lasting and dries rather quickly after applying. This product leaves a true matte finish, yet it isn’t drying at all. Sometimes matte formulas can be slightly uncomfortable, but this product is infused with ingredients like vitamin E and sunflower seed oil. The ingredients allow for a smooth application and comfortable wear throughout the day. My favorite shade within the collection is Lolita, for it is the perfect nude for fall or any season! It’s the combination of a nude and a blush color, extremely flattering on all skill tones. The color gives your lips a natural look while adding a pop of color. It is a beauty must that I have in my collection.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick

Another great liquid lipstick out on the market is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick. Not only does Anastasia formulate incredible eyebrow products, but their liquid lipsticks are also amazing products. The formula is a full coverage product that dries to a matte finish; it is also smear resistant, so it lasts for a long period of time. It is convenient to have a lip product that doesn’t need to be reapplied every moment of the day. There are 27 shades to choose from, ranging from pastel pink to rich mauve. The formula is very smooth and applies without clumping, like many liquid lipsticks tend to do. It is so nice to not have to worry about reapplying throughout the day because of the long-wearing formula.


Pageant Platform Perfection

Some pageants require a platform.  For those who do not know, a platform is a topic or organization that a contestant chooses to support and advocate for.  There are all different types of platforms ranging from promoting girl scouts to appreciating the elderly to feeding America’s children to strengthening the family to promoting STEM to promoting the arts, etc… hopefully you get the idea, the options are seemingly infinite.  If you do choose to compete in a system that has a platform, you will surely be asked about it in your interview (which we all know is the most important part).  If you are going to take the time to prepare for your interview with the books, it is worth your time to choose your platform wisely.

So you’re wondering how in the world you are going to pick one platform issue.  Easy! Follow these tips to find a platform that you will be able to articulately discuss in your pageant interview.


Just like they say “location, location, location” in Real Estate, in pageants, we say “Passion, Passion, Passion”.  The most important thing you can do for your pageant career concerning your platform is picking a platform that you are passionate about.  What is something you will not mind waking up early on Saturday morning to promote?  Hopefully, when you are picking your platform, you are thinking long term.  So think about if this is a platform you will want to be promoting in a few years.

Make it personal.  If you decide to pick appreciating the elderly as your platform and a judge asks you why you chose your platform and all you have to say for yourself is that you saw the idea on the blog, you might as well just not interview at all- because you are possibly the most boring contestant of all time.  Come on! I’m sure you can think of a time in your life when you saw an elderly person being underappreciated.  Think of a story that pertains to your platform.  Get really good at telling it.  That’s half the battle in your interview.

Next, think of a creative name.  Maybe even think of a pun!  For example, Miss America’s Outstanding Teen 2016, Allie Nault’s platform is Making Sen$e.  Rather than her platform title being something like teaching America’s children to be fiscally responsible, her title is far more interesting.  Don’t call your platform exactly what it is- give it a fun name.

Next step: pick an organization to partner with.  This will be so useful to have in your pageant interview.  It will give you mentors, events to attend, and connections to make.  If I could give my younger pageant self a piece of advice, it would be to pick a platform that has an organization I can connect with and work with.

Goals.  As with every area of competition, make realistic and achievable goals for your platform.  If you are not sure where to start, ask yourself, “what do I want to be able to tell the judges I have done with my platform?” The answer to that question leaves you with a great place to start.

Lastly, it’s time to get out in your community and make a difference.  Cliché, I know.  But it really is true!  Create a Facebook page, put on an event, attend an event, and chase after your platform goals whole heartedly.  This passion and dedication will come across to the judges in your interview and get you one step closer to the crown.  Want to learn more?

Read this book  for extra pointers when it comes to picking your platform.



Find a Pageant Swimsuit that Suits You

Okay, it’s pageant day! Maybe you have been hitting the gym and watching your diet for the past 6 months and maybe you decided to compete only a few weeks ago (I have personally been in both places!).  Regardless, picking the right pageant swimsuit can make the difference!

When most people watch the swimsuit portion for the first time, they usually are confused by the swimsuits.  Although atypical, these swimsuits work wonders for someone’s figure.  The usual pageant top is padded and cupped (very different from the string bikinis that are popular today).   They are very structured and some even have jewelry incorporated into the suits.  The bottoms have good coverage.  The side panels of the bottoms are very thin and are high up on the hip to give the illusion of longer legs.

You would never wear your everyday swimsuit to a pageant.  And you will never wear your swimsuit pageant to the pool.  If you are new to the pageant arena, the sooner you accept this fact and understand that a pageant swimsuit is different from an everyday swimsuit, the better off you will be.

Let’s start off with what NOT to do:

Please please please please please! Just because you normally wear a size small bottoms when you go swimming, do not assume you will wear a size small for your pageant. Pageant swimsuits are an entirely different creature.

Also, your suit should not be worn outside of the pageant because chlorine and the sun will ruin them.

Lets talk about what to do:

Buy a pageant swimsuit.  You do not need to purchase a $700 suit like some girls choose to do.  I bought my suit at target for $30.  You just need to buy one that looks like a pageant suit.

Butt glue.  It’s a harsh reality.  But it’s a necessary evil.  There is nothing more painful than when a contestant comes on stage and (excuse my blunt language) her butt is hanging out.  Don’t be that girl.  Buy butt glue and use it J I am sure there will be a hostess backstage who is more than willing to help you apply it just right.  For those who do not know, butt glue is essentially glue in hairspray form and is sprayed on the inside of the back of your bottoms to adhere your suit to your skin.  This prevents them from riding up when you walk and from having to adjust it while on stage.

It is also crucial to pick a suit that complements your skin tone and hair.  Secret tip: When buying your suit, don’t forget that you will have a tan for the actual pageant so pick a color accordingly.

Also, you need to take a honest look at yourself in the mirror and decide what part of your body is not quite up to par with the rest of your beautiful self.  My body, like most other women, likes to store any excess on my legs.  This means that my pageant swimsuit should have a little bit of bling or some sort of extra embellishment on top to distract from my bottom half.  Say your arms aren’t where you want them to be? Add some bling to those bottoms! Have fun with it.

Finishing up, it is important to know your pageant system.  Just like you did when picking out your evening gown, look at how the top 15, 10, 5 and even the winner were dressed for swimsuit.  There is no need to reinvent the wheel twice.  Visit this video for some health and beauty tips.

In swimsuit confidence is key.  Not only confidence in the way you look but confidence that you are ready for the job.  Feel like you need an extra boost?  If you feel prepared for interview, you will feel much more prepared for the remainder of the competition as well.  Read this for help in handling all types of questions.

And lastly, before I end this post, I want to stress the importance that regardless of your size, weight, or muscle tone, you are beautiful!  The judges are looking for someone who is confident in their own skin.  You just need to walk on stage and be shamelessly you.


Dress for Pageant Success

What you choose to wear in pageant interview can either help or hurt your score so it is important to choose your outfit wisely.  Besides, you have (hopefully) done all the work to prepare by reading the book, so now it is time to look fabulous for your pageant interview!  All of the information in this post is expounding off of the book, Pageant Interviewing Success Made Easy

Starting from the bottom up:

Shoes- your shoes should complement your outfit.  Preferably heels, they should be trendy and easy to walk in (you don’t want to trip as you walk into your interview!).  If you have a busy outfit, opt for simpler shoes and vice versa.

Suit- Unless your pageant requires a suit, I would go for a dress.  Suits seem very outdated for interview these days.  Same with skirt and blouse combos.  It can be pulled off, but a dress, in my opinion, is not only safer but also a better look.

Dress- Pick something you LOVE! This will make a world of a difference in how you portray yourself to the judges.  For example, I have a super light pink (almost looks white) Jennifer Lopez dress with a perfect silver accent belt.  I wear this with peach shoes and jewelry.  Every time I put on this dress, I know it means business.  Why? When I wear my interview dress, I feel fresh. I feel physically clean, mentally clear, and emotionally open to answer questions.  Find a dress that does that for you!  And just like with every other phase of the competition, make sure the color and size fits you.  I would also avoid wearing black.  Choose a color that is going to pop, stand out, and help the judges remember who you are in interview.  As for length, it should be age appropriate and fitting for the system you are in.  More conservative pageants call for longer hem lines as well as a younger age group or older one.

Jewelry- speaking from personal experience, when I wear rings or bracelets, I fiddle with them.  This means that I am never going to allow myself to wear a ring or bracelet in interview.  But that is okay because it also means that I get to wear over the top, chunky, glamorous necklaces.  Your jewelry should complement your outfit and not be distracting from you or what you have to say.

Makeup- keep makeup light.  The makeup you wear in interview should be more like what you wear every day.  Do not go too dark or dramatic on eye shadow, bronzer, nor lipstick.  Keep things light and fresh.

Hair- Whatever you do, just make sure you do not have hair in your face- no one wants to be distracted by that.  Whether you wear your hair down, up, straight, curly, etc. keep in simple and let it complement your face shape.

For additional tips, read Pageant Interviewing Success: Optimizing Your Outfit

Have we sensed a theme yet? Let every part of your look complement another aspect of your pageant interview appearance for the day.  And lastly, someone once told me that when you walk into interview, the judges are picturing what you will look like when you make appearances as a titleholder.  So…dress for the job.  Take a deep breath.  And walk into the interview room like you already won.


Miss America Review

First, let’s talk the new Miss America, Miss Georgia 2015, Betty Cantrell.  I really like her and certainly appreciate what she brings to the image of Miss America.  Her platform is Healthy Children, Strong America which gives some hint into why she did so well in lifestyle and fitness.  Her talent, was a beautiful opera piece (I have the EXACT same dress she wore for talent- I use it for evening gown!).

In recent years, The Miss America Organization has received some heat for crowning girls “less talented” than some of the other competitors. I don’t think anyone will be saying that this year.  On her Miss America bio, she says she wants to perform on Broadway and if you saw the program, you shouldn’t be surprised when you see her there in a few years.  I am so excited for her and the year she has in store traveling the nation.  Did you know Miss America 2015, Kira Kazantsev, traveled over 20,000 miles each month and was in a new city every two days?! That means our friend Betty has some big shoes to fill and a busy year ahead.

There are a few lessons we can learn from our new Miss America.  First, she stepped on her dress and stumbled during evening gown.  Her mistake even showed on her face yet it obviously did not hurt her score too much.  Also, when asked her onstage question, she had to have it repeated because she didn’t hear it the first time.  She even said herself that she thought she blew her answer to the question (something that is interesting to admit only moments after being crowned).

Let’s talk about another aspect of the competition: the private interview.  Unfortunately, the viewer does not get to see what happens behind closed doors which totals for a large percentage of the overall score.  I think this often times explains why the viewer is confused when a contestant does or does not make the top 15, 12, 7, 5, etc. It is very important to remember that you are only seeing a portion of the competition.  In order to succeed in the program, you certainly have to do well in the interview area.

I think Betty teaches us a lesson not only about how important interview is, but how important it is to keep your poise throughout the entirety of the competition.  I’m sure she was worrying back stage she bungled away her chance of becoming Miss America and was likely very disappointed in her bloopers BUT that did not stop her from taking the crown.  She proved that your performance doesn’t have to be your best in order to do well and it all comes down to interview!  To learn how to do your best in interview, check out the book found here:


Pageant Body Ready

You’ve done the hard part and prepped for your pageant interview, now its time to focus on the important details that can move you from runner-up to title holder.  Being on stage makes your body look entirely different.  In this post, I will share with you all of the information I gleaned the hard way through my pageant endeavors!

Fingernails- Keep it neutral and light.  You don’t want your nails to distract the judges from the content of your answer when you are speaking.  French tip nails are always a safe bet

Toes- your toenails should look nicely kept.  They need to have a neutral polish color.  If you have a light color on your nails, your toes can be a little darker.  If you choose to have color, make sure it goes nicely with your shoes and all of your looks for the pageant and the pageant interview.  When you are on stage, the judges are very close to your feet and you don’t want to waste any stage time with them looking at your toenail polish.  The goal here is that they never notice your toes.  Keep that in mind and you will be good to go.

Eyebrows- I debated placing these within the “body hair” category but figure they are important enough that they deserve their own section.  Many makeup artists will tell you that your eyebrows frame your face and especially your eyes. Please, for the love of the eyebrow gods, please make sure your eyebrows look kept.  Having unkempt, messy, bushy eyebrows will make you seem more juvenile- something you surely do not want to do once you reach the teen category.  Go to a professional and get them waxed.  I promise you it doesn’t hurt that bad, and when it does hurt, it is only for a second.  And as they say, beauty is pain.  Plus, the pain of having perfect eyebrows is so worth it!  Do it and I promise you will not regret it.

Body Hair- make sure your legs and armpits are shaved.  Not only does this look nicer, but it also helps your tan go on better.  Plus, when your legs are shaved it creates a slimmer look.  Some contestants also choose to shave their arms- that one is up to you.  Also, some girls have their hair waxed.  If you choose to wax, test it a few months before your pageant date to make sure your body reacts with it fine.  If the results are positive, get waxed a few days prior to your pageant and not the day before- you do not need any puffiness nor redness.  When your body is shaved, it makes your tan look better which brings us to the next point… the tan.

Tan- Ah, the infamous tan.  Most contestants will opt for a spray tan.  I’ve learned (the hard way, I might add) that it is much better to have someone spray you rather than going to a booth.  When you go to a booth, it ends up uneven, there is always a streak, and it tends to be darker in places than in others (this normally isn’t noticeable on stage but can be in your pageant interview.  I found a great lady who charges only fifteen dollars and will customize your tan to you.  Unlike the booths which are supposed to make you the same tone from head to toe, having someone tan you gives you the ability to make certain areas darker (like legs!) and leave others light (like your face!).  Personally, I know I feel and perform so much better when I feel confident about how I look.  Ensuring that I have a good tan is one of the best ways to ensure that.

However, if you do not like spray tans, there is always the option to go to tanning beds.  I’ve also gone this route and would advise using an accelerator when you tan.  Also, plan to start tanning a few months before your event to give your skin plenty of time to heal in the process.  I found tanning beds usually end up being a much more expensive route and are certainly less healthy.

Skin- treat your skin right!  Pageant time always brings a lot of stress so ensuring you are drinking enough water and getting plenty of rest is a step in the right direction for healthy skin.  For skincare tips, check out the Pinterest board!

Hair- If you color your hair, get it colored about a week before the pageant.  Similarly, if you are planning on cutting it before pageant day, especially if it is a dramatic change, get it done with plenty of time to spare so you can get accustomed to styling your hair.  Don’t save your haircut for last minute.  Besides, what if something awful happens at your haircut? You will not have the time to fix it!

Keep your hair looking sleek.  There are lots of different types of oils and products that work great for this.  Again, we have some great Pinterest boards so take a look at our one on hair!

Please do not hesitate to comment any questions- especially those pertaining to your look in your interview.  I have competed enough that if I do not have personal experience, I have a good pageant friend who probably does!  Either way, your questions will be answered.




Frown to Perfect Pageant Gown

Not sure what to wear for the evening wear portion of the pageant?  Turn that frown into your dream gown by following these simple tips.

Evening gowns are important for a couple reasons.  Whatever you win in becomes your signature look.  Nothing else you wear during your pageant year will be even half as memorable as your look in evening gown.  Guaranteed.  Evening gown is also the pageant judging portion where most contestants feel their best and like the princess their five year old self always wanted to be.

Before we get started, there is something we could all remember when it comes to choosing our evening gowns.  I know you don’t want to hear it, and I certainly did not want to hear it either (at first), but it is the truth:  there will always be someone to hate your gown and someone to love it.  Isn’t that a little like life though?  There will always be someone to approve of our actions just as there will always be someone to disagree with them.  And who says pageants aren’t relevant to real life? ;)

Back to the point.  When you are picking a pageant evening gown there are a few things to remember.  Starting with the most important…

Does your dress fit your personality?

Style.  Your dress truly needs to be a representation of yourself.  If you want the pageant judges to remember your softer side, you probably do not want to go with a dress with a high slit, low neckline, and lots of sheer material.  That would be silly.  Why?  The look just described is better for someone with a little more spunk or wanting to come across as sexy.  Before you even start the hunt for your gown, make a list of adjectives describing how you want to come across in your gown (warm, graceful, classic, bold, unique, sexy, etc.)

Color.  Color is another extremely important aspect when it comes to choosing the proper gown for you.  Whatever style you choose, it is important that you get it in a color that compliments your hair and skin tone.  Some colors, as much as we love them, just do not look good on us.  Been there.  Done that.  However, there are some colors that we tend to stay away from that actually look great on us on stage!  Been there.  Done that too.  When I was growing up, sometime along the way, I was told I should never wear the color red because I have red hair.  So for years, I did not own a single thing in my closet that was red!  Then one day, while I was searching for my next gown, I came across a beautiful red Mac Duggal and knew it had my name on it… or on the label.  This gown has worked well for me and taught me that every color deserves a second chance.

Is it appropriate?

Ah.  This one is always a little difficult.  I think it is always best to error a little more on the conservative side rather than too risqué especially when you do not know how conservative your judges are.  It is also important to be aware of the system you are competing in.  Have you looked at the gowns of past pageant winner?  Were their dresses modest or revealing?  What about those who placed in the top 5?  I recommend going through the past three years of photos to get a better idea.

It is also important to consider your age division and the level of the pageant.  The bigger the pageant, the more you can get away with revealing gowns. However, even if you are a teen at a national pageant, it is a good idea to still keep your look conservative.

How does it make you feel?

When you step into your gown, do you want to feel like Beyoncé or Kate Middleton?  Cinderella, perhaps?  Either way, when you wear your gown, you should be feeling your best- you deserve it!  It is the portion of the competition where you can sit back (or stand up in those tall heels) and enjoy your moment.

Can you see yourself winning in it?

So you’re thinking to yourself that this could be the gown.  Now, the next step is to picture yourself wearing it and being crowned the pageant titleholder.  Can you see it?  Speaking from personal experience, often times I get to this step and realize this is not the dress for me.  Maybe it is too plain or too “out there” but I just get a feeling that it is time to move on and find a new dress.

Is it a good investment?

You’re almost ready for commitment!  You have talked it over with your family or friends and now you look at the price tag to see how it works with your budget.  I forgot to talk about this.  YOU MUST HAVE A BUDGET BEFORE YOU START SHOPPING.  YOU MUST.  A $6,000 gown will always look better than a $100 one.  But, is it worth the difference?  Are you willing to break the bank to win this title?  If so, I say go after the gown of your dreams!  If you are like me and compete for the sake of earning scholarships, spending such excessive amounts on a dress is just not a wise investment.

Before investing in a gown, you also need to decide how long you want to use it for.  Is this for a single pageant or are you hoping to make it your gown for the next 3 years?  If you align yourself more to the latter, it may be best to choose a more timeless style so that you will still look trendy in a few years.

Best of luck with your shopping!