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Pageant Interview Success in 6 steps

There are a number of ways to stand out in a pageant interview. Some of which are good, others not so good. Of course, you want to standout for the right reasons, and that’s what we’re diving into in this blog.

One thing I ask my clients during our interview coaching appointment is, “What are your plans for makeup?”

I ask, because this is one of the first things a judge notices when you walk in the room. Your entire makeup look should be cohesive, with all elements blending together. No one element should distract from your entire look. Although makeup is not permitted in many youth parents, it’s important to plan your interview hairstyle. I created this easy hair tutorial, specifically for younger pageant contestants (ages 12 and under.)

Hairstyles

Your hairstyle should reflect your personal style, while looking professional. You do not need an elaborate updo for interview, but you also don’t want hair to fall in your face. Pageant hair for contestants ages 13 and up can vary greatly, depending on the age division and and pageant system. For a deeper dive into hair and makeup for older pageant divisions, check out INTERVIEW HAIR AND MAKEUP DO’S AND DON’TS. For more direction on hairstyles for younger contestants, ages 12 and under, I created this easy hair tutorial.

Wardrobe captures the eye and communicates style.

Don’t over think this part of pageant prep. Keep in mind that you are competing for the best interview, not the cutest interview outfit. Most pageant systems do not take contestant’s interview wardrobe into consideration for scoring. If a pageant system does include a wardrobe scoring component, be more intentional with your selection.

Girls that I love in interview, when judging, do not need to wear the most creative outfits. They select wardrobe pieces that compliment their skin, body type, age division, and they are fitted to perfection. Whether you like suits, dresses or jumpsuits, all interview styles can look impressive if you keep those elements in mind. Don’t forget that your shoes complete your look and they should also be age appropriate. Keep accessories to a minimum, especially ones that can make noise, like a bangle bracelet or oversized chandelier earrings.

Bodies talk, what does yours say?

As soon as you enter the judge’s room, they are observing your eye contact, posture, smile, walk, and overall body language. Body language is the last non-verbal element of interview.

For seated interviews, practice maintaining your posture, natural eye contact, smiling while you speak, crossing your legs at the ankles, and placing your hands in your lap. If you like to talk with your hands, feel free to do so as long your movements do not go over the top and become distracting.

If you are standing for interview be aware of those same things. Practice subtly shifting your weight during questions, and gesturing with your hands as you speak. Contestants in interview with their hands on their hips or glued to their sides is incredibly uncomfortable to watch. It does not come across as natural. 

“Contestants who rush through interview often overwhelm judges. They come across as too eager or not well suited for the job.”

“It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” There’s an element of delivery in every remarkable interview that should be noted. Being prepared to answer questions is one thing, but answering in a way that is pleasant and confident, is another. A mark of a confident contestant is one who knows how to project her voice, without shouting at a judge; she speaks at a reasonable pace so she has time to articulate her words and thoughts.

“Suddenly, I understood her style! Even though I was not a fan of her wardrobe choice, I could appreciate why she chose it.”

The last part of a stand out interview is quality content. This is the result of preparation that give judges insight into who you are, and your goals. Recently I interviewed a teen contestant; she entered the room in a simple cocktail dress with a fur wrap draped over her shoulder. This is not what you’d expect to see in an interview. I asked her what she aspired to be, her answer… “A model.”

She went on to say, she always dreamt of becoming a model and that it’s something she is currently pursuing. She further explained, “I love fashion, and I ALWAYS dress up! (gesturing towards her outfit) This is ME.” Suddenly, I understood her style. Even though I was not a fan of her wardrobe choice, I could appreciate why she chose it. 

In less than 30 seconds, I was a fan of that contestant; I was rooting for her because she did several things. She spoke with confidence, demonstrated personality, and substantiated her answers with a personal story, that was completely unique to her. Without guidance or coaching, it takes some contestants years to learn how to do what she did, naturally. I hope you’ll learn from her interview answer, so that you too can develop content that gets every judge on your team, rooting for your success!

Client Love

Salena Pham

Salena Pham, Miss Northern Utah USA 2021

"Dani completely changed how I interview, in the best way possible. She was clear, concise, and constructive in her feedback and always made sure I understood how to apply what she taught me. Not only is she extremely knowledge, but is also kind and encouraging. I truly cannot thank her enough for her help and guidance."

Kristen Brooks, NAM Miss New York 2019

"Dani is beyond knowledgeable and sweet! She’s an absolute dream to work with.”

Cheyenne Paige, International United Miss 2017-18

"Dani made me feel so comfortable performing my first High Fashion Runway routine. With her help I had the highest score in my division and won the International title."

Kaitlyn Matherne, NAM Louisiana Teen 2017

"Dani is an incredible person, as well as the most encouraging mentor I have ever had. My dreams would not have become reality without her love and help!"

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