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Pageat Interview Queen


Rewind: Answer the Question, Learning from Miss Utah USA

Thank you Marissa Powell for the courage and accomplishments that brought you to wearing the crown for Miss Utah USA. You had one rough patch last night at the Miss USA pageant with your final interview question, but you still rock and a bright future awaits.

Thank you, too, for the opportunity that rough patch gives the rest of us to self-assess and grow. If you ever read this, please know that this analysis using your pageant interview question and answer situation is well-intended for a larger good, even if it might accidentally hurt you a little. I’m sure you will be resilient to all this attention you are getting and make the most of it.

In a previous post today (called Should Pageant Interview Questions be Easier? No) I started to mention how important it is to listen well to get to the core of the question. When we listen well, we are in a better position to make choices about how to answer. This is something you definitely can learn to do every day and under pressure too! Let’s rewind last night and see what we can learn.

Here’s the pageant interview question Miss Marissa got: “A recent report shows that in 40% of American families with children women are the primary earners but women continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?”

Let’s start with the components of the question:

– Size of the statistic (40%)
– Families or heads-of-household (not single people)
– Gender gap (men usually earn more)
– “Society”

Tip: If Miss Utah had picked any one of those key components and actually started her answer with a reference to that component, rather than to the non-present “education”, she’d have started off on a stronger foot. She would have

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Should Pageant Interview Questions Be Easier? No.

I saw it suggested on Twitter last night after the Miss USA pageant that on-stage pageant interview questions should be more “direct” because the girls are under pressure  and can’t “absorb anything” when faced with the big crowds, the excitement, and the lights in their eyes. I couldn’t disagree more.

And this is worrisome because the suggestion came from a group of women who care deeply about pageantry and contestants. In fact, they posted it be supportive but, oddly, it had the side effect of accidentally putting down pageant girls (in my opinion). To be clear, this came up around the Miss Utah USA answer that was, let’s admit it, far from ideal.

Let me say first, then, that I hold the gorgeous Marissa Powell in high regard and we all should. One bad answer doesn’t mean she’s not a smart and capable woman. That answer very likely cost her the crown, yes, but she might have just had a crazy wave of nerves hit her and we can appreciate that. It could happen to any of us.

But I think that’s where our offering reasons, or making excuses, for her should end. And I certainly don’t think it means pageants should ask simpler questions.

Why?  Keep in mind a few things:

  • Get Real. Most pageant contestants already have or want careers that involve excitement, bright lights, and crowds so they’d darn sure better get used to “absorbing” information and thinking on their feet in those situations. The skills we learn and practice in pageants transcend to all areas of life.
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Not All Beauty Pageants Are Alike—Find the Ones That Fit Best for You

It’s easy to look at a stage full of tall, slender beauty pageant contestants and wonder how you’d measure up. Or you might think that the fun of pageant experience isn’t available to you because you don’t look like them.

While some semblance of beauty is, as you’d guess, a typical feature of a successful beauty pageant contestant, it’s important to remember that there are many forms of beauty. That can be easy to forget if you limit your thinking to just the biggest, televised, or most well-known pageants.

Don’t be like those outside the pageant world, who often think all pageants are the same. Those are the same folks who innocently confuse Miss America with Miss USA, etc. Think broader and research different pageants to find the best fit for you.

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How Should a Beauty Pageant Contestant Handle Conflict? In Regard to the ex-Miss Pennsylvania vs. Mr. Trump’s Miss USA

The 2012 Miss USA pageant was televised earlier this week. The lovely Miss Rhode Island, Olivia Culpo, won the crown. She was thoughtful in her on-stage answer, she was beautiful, and she had a spontaneous, sparkly quality way about her.

But the now ex-Miss Pennsylvania, Sheena Monnin, apparently couldn’t see that. (Click here for a news article on the matter.) Instead of crediting that Miss Rhode Island could have actually earned the crown, she complained the pageant was fixed. She’s under the impression that somehow the winner, or at least the finalists, were determined before the pageant.

If indeed she believes that then one must applaud her integrity for raising the question.

But, on the on the other hand, one must wonder if it is sour grapes—if after all her own efforts she just couldn’t cope well with the fact that she didn’t make it even as far as the semi-finals. Just making it to Miss USA is a huge accomplishment, but some folks can’t accept that as “enough.”

Or we could wonder if she saw this as an opportunity to get her own 15 minutes of fame.

Or, to be fair, maybe she just showed bad judgment in how she approached what she felt was a real problem.

We can learn from anything that happens. So here are some things to think about as we consider pageants, pageant criticisms, and ourselves.

  • Should we look for trouble?  Should we listen to gossip? 
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Learn Pageant Interview Tips from Televised Beauty Contests

Yes, it’s fun to see the dresses and root for the beauty from your state, but if you are a pageant contestant keep your eyes open and your thinking cap on as you watch pageants. If you pay attention you’ll learn some potential “do’s and don’ts” to apply to your own pageant choices, especially in regard to pageant interview tips.

Here are just a few things on which to keep your eyes:

  • Notice when the pageant evening gown outshines the contestant. The pageant dress, and your off-stage pageant interview suite, should help draw attention to YOU, not be the focus itself.
  • Notice if the information that is shared about the contestant (often drawn from pageant application forms and paperwork) seems well-chosen and helpful, or at least neutral, to seeing the contestant as the titleholder.
  • Notice how the contestants handle the on-stage pageant interview question.

This last one is the most important. Why? Because unless you made a truly terrible wardrobe choice, if you make it to the finals and don’t place or win, it’s probably something you said.

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Pageant Interview Tip: Military Holidays — Be Sure You Know “The Obvious”

It’s amazing how much we assume we know or take for granted. We might think it is “obvious” what a certain holiday is for, but not appreciate subtle differences or history. Take a minute to be well-prepared.

For instance, today is Memorial Day. If your pageant was any time within a week or two before or after, there’s a chance a pageant judge would ask you a pageant interview question related to the holiday.

Or, if you are making an appearance as a beauty contest titleholder, an audience member or someone from the media might ask you something about it. After all, if you are aiming for a state or national pageant title in the United

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