Stressed before your interview? Don’t be! Follow these 5 Tips to “D-Stress” before your Pageant Interview.
Our Miss New York 2010: Claire Buffie
- Breathe: Take in slow, long (Not shallow!) breaths through your nose, hold for 5 seconds and out your mouth to allow oxygen to your brain to clear your mind. Remember to hold the air with your diaphragm, not your throat, this slows down your racing heart rate and decompresses your body.
- Stretch or run in place- exercise releases endorphin which greatly diminish your perception of pain and not only boosts your overall mood but (referring back to tip 1) allows more oxygen into your bloodstream and can balance out all the adrenaline and anxiety running through you pre-pageant! A good stretch for pageant girls is shoulder rolls. We tense up when we’re nervous, so rolling your shoulders back a couple times can release that tensions and shift them back instead of forwards.
- Review your paperwork but don’t over analyze it- Looking over your paperwork and refreshing what’s on your fact-sheet will give you a good frame of mind what will be asked and your answers will be fresh if you forget!
- Listen to music or practice your talent- Put on your favorite song and jam out! Make the most of the free-time you have or listen to tunes while doing your makeup or hair so you’re in a good head-space and feel at home!
- Have fun!- You’ve probably heard it 1,000 times before a pageant but having fun helps you deal with the stress. If you’re extrovert, socialize! Talk to everyone and make friends! If you’re introverted (like me) give yourself the alone time and space from others you need as well as slightly socialize (Pageant girls will be the best friends you’ll ever make!). If you’ve ever competed with me you’ll see I’m in my “own little world” most of the time, I’m finding my balance between happy energy and nervous energy and that’s okay! Do you!
And most of all, focus on yourself! You know yourself best, and whatever will make you happy and comfortable during the pageant is perfectly fine: get some fresh air, take a deep breath, stay warm and relax. Take some time to read-over your paperwork and practice but don’t get overwhelmed. Just “D-stress” and everything will fall into place.
Being a titleholder comes with many responsibilities, but perhaps the most important is maintaining your presence with a strong brand as a public figure. Public figures can easily fade into the background unless they are actively marketing themselves to the community and taking hold of their personal brand. It’s easy to fall into some bad branding habits that could seriously impact your ability to connect with appearances, gain sponsors, and potentially impact your interview strength. But, it’s even easier to fix these three mistakes!
- Phantom Pages
- Bad Branding: Last year you were Miss Local County, and had a Facebook page to share pictures and updates. This year you are Miss Regional. You make a new page, but instead of naming it after your new title you name it after your name. 2 points! But what happens to your Miss Local County Page? It fades away but never goes away. It is social media litter.
- How to Fix It: First, recruit your followers to your new page. Make a post on the old page, and tag the new one. Another great tip is to change your old page’s default picture or cover photo to a graphic that has the name of your new page. Finally, invite your friends to like and share your page. If possible, share your page to your pageant’s local org page or group.
- Delete your Phantom Pages:
- Miscellaneous Pictures
- Bad Branding: Every weekend you are at an event. You are constantly serving the community, visiting schools, and speaking with politicians. And you never forget to take a picture to document the occasion. But when you post it on Facebook, every picture winds up in the Timeline Pictures album. This makes it impossible to sort out photos based on the event. The community may not know what the picture is from, or the event hosts may not be able to find the photos as easily to use on their marketing tools. The pictures are no better than they’d be in a box in the closet.
- How to Fix it: Go into your page’s “timeline photos” or “mobile uploads”. One by one, open a photo and assign it to a designated album.
- Moving Pictures into Albums:
- Inconsistent Handles
- Bad Branding:
- How To Fix It: Changing your Twitter and Instagram handles is incredibly easy. Choose a handle that you want to use for all of your accounts. Before changing one account, check the availability on all sources.
- Changing Your Twitter Handle:
Having a flawless personal brand isn’t easy, but fixing these three mistakes will improve it by leaps and bounds. The importance of a strong social media presence is often the tipping point in the interview room, can impact your stage presence, and ensures you are fulfilling the job you were hired for.
First thing first: All bodies are beautiful. The score you receive in Lifestyle & Fitness has no actual bearing on your status. The only person that can judge your lifestyle and fitness on a personal level is you. Your doctor can give some insight, but in the end it is you and you alone that decides the status of your body image. Not the number on the scale. Not the number on the score card.
Too often when we hear about preparing for the Lifestyle and Fitness with diet and exercise. You are, after all, going on stage in a bikini. So many contestants talk about losing weight, and how great they feel when they lose those pounds. But what is the first thing every contestant does the night of the pageant? She goes out to eat. How can we argue the stereotype that pageant girls don’t eat when every new titleholder mentions greasy food in her post-crowning interview?
Thankfully, slowly but effectively, a new trend is coming into style: Healthy. Girls with curve, girls with muscles, and girls with self respect. Point blank: Healthy is the new skinny.
Skinny bodies are skinny. But healthy bodies from healthy lifestyles have so many benefits, such as…
- A Feminine Body. When you eat a restrictive diet and work out with the sole purpose of losing fat, that’s exactly what you do. You lose fat. But there is no such thing as spot reducing, meaning you lose fat everywhere, including your lady lumps. Sometimes just a little fat on your body is enough to pull you from an athletic boy status to an elegant woman. That’s the body that looks good in a gown.
- Thick Luxurious Hair. Do you ever wonder why pageant girls wear extensions? Even if their hair isn’t that short, they need the added hair to add volume. That’s because a poor diet without enough fat or folic acid prevents the growth of hair and nails. Some try supplements like biotin to improve their hair and nails, but if you aren’t getting enough nutrients from your food these supplementary nutrients are going to go to daily requirements instead.
- Food Freedom. This doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want. A healthy diet is 365. But, when a person is on a highly restrictive diet a single cheat meal or even one “bad” item could destroy their entire system. Sodium could suddenly cause her to retain water, and dairy could suddenly cause the runs. Who wants that? By eating healthy, not restrictive, during the entire year your body will not react with knee jerk responses. If you want that cookie or bowl of ice cream or plate of cheese fries- go for it.
- Bright and Shiny Skin. One of the benefits of beauty sleep is the regeneration of collagen in your skin, but this can also be improved with a healthy diet. Staying hydrated will help to prevent wrinkles and give a natural glow to what was a faded and grey skin tone. Adding healthy fats to your diet can do the same thing!
Obviously no one wants to gain weight with the goal of being overweight. The point is not to gain weight to exceed the healthy range for your height and body type. But remember that everyone’s body is different and its important to focus on the benefits of being healthy, not skinny.
Nine minutes and thirty seconds into the interview and the head judge thanks you for your time and asks if you have anything else you’d like to say. You have 30 seconds to summarize everything- your marketing plan, your goals, your platform, your talent. What sets you apart? Why should they choose you?
A strong closing statement is the secret to sealing the deal in the interview room. It is the last thing the judges hear before they move on to the next girl. You have 30 seconds to make a lasting impression. There is plenty of advice for a strong closing statement, but sometimes you just need a few more tips to bump it up a level and seal the deal.
- Reiterate Who You Are. Don’t let the judges question who you are, what you stand for, and what sets you apart from the other girls. Just saying your name will trigger an extra memory censor in their mind that will help them remember you.
- Set Yourself Up for the Title. They already think you’re a great person. Go the extra step by expressing your impact as a titleholder, not just a contestant. “As Miss Local/State, I will…(ex: bring in new sponsors, raise the scholarship funds, connect with civic organizations that will stick with the org in future years).” Show them your value as a titleholder.
- Use Sound Bites. We all know not to ramble. Keep your response short and sweet, and filled with intention. But going the next step and using sound bites or action words will make sure the judges do not forget you. A soundbite is a quick quip that sticks in a person’s mind. Using Jamie Lynn Macchia‘s platform, an example of a soundbite she uses is more than four. She can say “Only 4% of cancer research funding goes to pediatric cancer. Kids deserve more than four,” during her interview then reiterate the more than four soundbite in her closing statement. After she leaves the interview room the judges will remember kids deserve more than four.
- Use Action Words. Anyone can tell the judges what they want to do, what they can do, what they’d like to do. Set yourself apart and use action words. With or without the crown what are you going to do? Use words like I will or I am. In the interview you will give examples of actual events you have lined up, and the goals you have for them- to fundraise, educate, raise awareness. When giving a closing statement, tie it all together. “As Miss Local/State I will (action verb).”
- Consider a Personal Slogan. Before you ever step foot in the interview room you should have something that helps them remember you. Whether it is about you, your platform, or your plan as a titleholder, use a soundbite so they remember. This could eventually because a hashtag for your titleholder branding campaign! Think about your favorite company or organization. What makes you remember their commercials over their competitors?
Some people think that the first impression is the most important. The interview is 10 minutes of first impressions that impact your entire night. It is so important that the last impression, that closing statement, is strong and solid and seals the deal.
An important part of balancing your daily life while prepping for a pageant is time management. But once the crown is on your head, it’s like the expectations double. Suddenly you are expected to fulfill more obligations than before. There is a subliminal competition between other titleholders- who attends the most events, who raises the most money, who travels the most miles. It can be overwhelming! And somehow you are still expected to sleep.
Being able to properly manage your time is a skill, and an art form. A lot of us rely on our cell phone’s calendars to remind us of events, but as a titleholder this is not enough. It is incredibly important to use a planner dedicated strictly to time management to ensure that everything is in one place, it easy to access, and doesn’t rely on a battery. Once you get the hang of a planner you will be able to attend your events without the stress of double booking, the looming anxiety that you missed something when you have a Saturday “off”, and overall a stress free day.
Click Here for Planner Organization Tip Video
Building an Effective Planner:
- Color code events. If you have a job or school, highlight those events in blue. Fundraisers can be green. Community service is pink.
- Make To-Do Lists. Use a sticky note with your daily “to-do” list for errands. Plan this out the night before a busy day, and stick in in your planner. Cross things off when you complete them. Anything you don’t finish can be moved over to the next day.
- Account for travel time. When you have back to back events, don’t forget to include travel time between events.
- Block off personal time. Set “black out” times for sleep, homework, and relaxation.
Which blogging platform is your favorite?!
Pre-write and Schedule Blogs:
- Decide in advance how you would like to blog. Weekly highlights? Blog post for every event? Blog post for current events related to your platform? Decide ahead of time, and include “blog day” in your planner.
- Type out a template for blog posts highlighting upcoming events during an “off” day. Include the name of the event, the location, any networks or sponsors, and the organization it is supporting. Save the drafts. Then, on the day of the event, just add pictures and fine details, then post.
- Begin planning a post 2 weeks before, and have a draft ready 1 week before. This way you never have to play catchup.
Set Alarms and Time Limits:
- Whether you are sleeping, at an event, (hopefully not sleeping at an event), working on a blog, or doing homework, it is important not to let the time slip past you. Set time limits for how long you are dedicating to something, and use an alarm to keep you on track.
- When working on homework, paperwork, or a blog post- use an alarm to help you stay focused. After an hour or more your brain will fry and you will be overwhelmed. Take time away to relax, or simply switch between activities to stay focused.
If You’re Early, You’re on Time…:
- Whether it is attending a physical event, or submitting paperwork- always plan to be early. This will help to cover yourself for unseen circumstances.
- Plan to arrive at events 10-15 minutes early. This will account for parking, finding the correct location, and getting debriefed when you arrive.
- Plan to submit paperwork at least one day early. This will give you at least one more day to revise and make corrections. Use this time to let someone else look over your paperwork and check for mistakes!
The ability to multi-task is important, but in the end it is important to remember that you can’t do everything. As long as you are planning your day and week ahead of time, and doing your best to balance your time, you are ahead of the game. Stay focused, and let the time as your titleholder tick by.