Everyone, and their mom, wants to know what pageant judges “look for” in a titleholder. The answer to this question depends on several factors. Judges take age, pageant system, and pageant director guidelines, into consideration. Once these factors are established, judges consider beauty, physique, performance and communication skills. Initial guidelines, set by age, pageant system, and judging criteria, tell judges how to score the secondary factors. Once you understand what pageant judges are looking for, you can adjust your preparation to suit their criteria.
I’ll never say that facial beauty does not matter at all, because society says otherwise. When it comes to pageants, beauty doesn’t matter as much as you think. It’s rare for judges to choose a winner, solely for facial beauty. The majority of the time, it’s more important to be a well rounded contestant. Beauty is very subjective. This is why it’s best to choose hair and makeup that suits your unique features. Pageant judges “look for” contestants that look their personal best. Sometimes this calls for hiring a professional hair and makeup artist or taking a makeup lesson.
Many contestants wonder if size matters when it comes to pageants. The answer is sometimes. If a pageant system has a swimsuit or active wear competition, judges usually give higher scores to contestants who look physically fit. However, this is not always the case. Most youth pageants (ages 4-18), do not have these types of competitions. In that case, judges are told to ignore a contestant’s size. It’s important to understand what your pageant system is “looking for” in order to manage your expectations for the outcome.
Contestants with excellent performance skills earn higher scores from pageant judges. Performance scores are determined by confidence, poise, level of difficulty, quality of walk and facial expression. An awkward, or uncoordinated walk, prevents a lot of contestants from advancing to a semi-final. There are two main things you can do to improve your walk. Take a professional walking lesson or a few ballet classes. Ballet classes are a total game changer for contestants who need serious help with their walk. They build strength and improve muscle coordination.
Want to improve your walk, turns and poses? Book a walking lesson with Dani.
4. Communication Skills
No matter how beautiful a contestant is, pageant judges cannot overlook a poor interview or on-stage question. Communication skills are essential for a titleholder to possess because she interacts with many people during her year of reign. These skills are also used for public speaking appearances, red carpet or news interviews. The interview competition is typically your first impression at a pageant. This why it is absolutely crucial to master. Your personal interview creates a “Halo Effect.” This means that your first impression will effect how judges score you for EVERY competition. You can practice these skills with my top 20 interview questions, to continually improve and capture your dream title.