I have a saying with my clients: at the major pageants… they're ALL BEAUTIFUL at States and Nationals! If your sole goal is to wow on looks alone…. forget about it. While some pageants are more skewed towards the physical element of presentation in their scoring (true), you still have to have more than photogenics to have a chance.
That being said, there are (and always will be) people who take on one of the following personalities when preparing for their pageant. You can have all the physical beauty on Earth, Mars and Saturn, but adopting one of these personas will be your death knell:
Who are these TWO PEOPLE ???
Entry Fee Paid. Check.
Gowns/shoes/Interview suit/ jewelry purchased. Check.
Nothing to do now except keep your skin clear and wait out the holidays or summer, staying at pageant weight and collect your crown.
NO, you say? Yet there are SOOOO many that every pageant cycle at many divisions and systems who do just that. They figure that since they can speak coherently (Interview), don't jiggle in a bathing suit (Fitness) and are comfortable walking in 4 inch heels (Evening Gown) that they got it covered.
However, they forgo a lot of foundation:
No pageant research (because they are all not looking for the same type of representatives)
No vocal projection practice.
Never practiced a choreographed runway walk that is purposeful.
No posture practice, facial feature projection practice, etc…
Those who have really prepped all aspects of their pageant vs. those who are 'winging it' becomes very evident at local/state level pageants like Miss America and USA. But even if your pageant doesn't fall into one of those, do you really want to fork over all that money in entry fees and clothing to risk getting outclassed by someone who prepped correctly … and will defeat you easily? You might be the better choice to win, but unless you lay a groundwork to prove that then it will be your word against hers- the ACTUAL winner.
The XEROX Contestant:
AKA: the 'cut and paste pageant' contestant.
No personality of her own: she just borrows cutesy stuff from what she found on YouTube from previous winners across the country. Platform? What platform. She shows up at events and is the Queen of photo-ops: snap-a-pic and she's in her car just as quick. Her whole presentation is a façade, because she believes that it's enough and besides, why invest time into creating a real platform? Miss XEROX will just cook up another save-the-world platform to appease the next system she's trying for.
So what am I saying here? I don't believe you have to have an exhaustive work list that qualifies you for the Nobel Prize before you compete. But have something that's meaningful to you. If you’re just starting to get involved in your community because pageantry got your eyes open to seeing the world differently, then OWN THAT! It will come across as authentic if you own it in Interview. Nobody's believing you went from zero to eradicating homelessness, poverty and illiteracy in your state… and all in just two months.
Now, you can ignore me… what do I know? I just recall how REALLY awkward one young lady was when she got called out for heavy doses of fabricated fluff in her bio during Interview by another judge who did some research pre-pageant. Because she forgot that in the Information Age, judges can get information quickly and easily.
Takeaway: If you're going to sign up for a pageant, then get familiar with what you are signing up for. Get help prepping what you are weak in and give a real effort, not a real good cover up. It will benefit you.
For 2017 pageant cycles, invest the time to be authentic.