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Dear, Annika, I want to get into pageantry but have no idea where to start, help!

Okay so this isn’t a Dear Annie column, but a real-life question I commonly get asked and I want to point anyone who’s ever thought about pageantry in the right direction because truly, there is something out there for everyone.

The two organizations I personally have experience with are the Miss America Organization and the Miss USA Organization which are both very different. On top of these, there are a multitude of others that encapsulate all age ranges, talents and interests (which is great news for anyone new to pageantry). Before you decide which organization to go with, let’s talk about a few things you’ll want to consider.

First, ask yourself what areas you’ll want to either compete, or not compete in. I know women who have absolutely zero interest in competing in the swimsuit or fitness categories, whereas some women have no interest in competing in the talent portion and both are entirely ok! There are organizations that even have categories that don’t contribute to your overall score, so be sure to research that. What do you love to compete in? For me, I absolutely love painting, so I get really excited about the talent portion but for others, it’s terrifying; that’s what I love about pageants though, you get to let your personality and interests shine through and be the person you truly are! Let that light shine bright sis!

Secondly, what is the mission behind the pageant? For example, Miss USA is ‘confidently beautiful’ and Miss America is ‘service and scholarship’; what does the pageant you’re thinking about joining represent? What do they embody? How do they help others? Those are important qualities you’ll want to find out to ensure they align with your own goals and mission. There are always different driving forces behind pageant systems, but they are all centered around women empowerment and professional development that include women of all ages – pretty cool right?

Thirdly, what do you want to get out of this experience? Sit down and meditate on that and ask yourself what you truly want to learn or receive from competing. There are always different levels of prize packages depending on the organization; for example, Miss America is a non-profit and very scholarship focused so there are scholarship prizes and in-kind donations as well. On the flipside, Miss USA is a for-profit organization and includes a different arena of responsibility once the title is won (a launching pad for different kinds of careers). There are also different state and local organizations that vary in awards, some do monetary awards without even winning the title or for different levels of accomplishment. So many options, do I have your head spinning with excitement yet?

Fourth, how in the heck do you qualify? Do you just sign up and go for it? Again, this depends on which organization you choose! For Miss Kansas USA which I most recently competed in, I simply signed up and competed in the state competition which is so exciting and really gets your adrenaline pumping. On the backside of this, there are some organizations where you can grow too, like earning the state title and moving up to nationals. It all truly depends on what you want to get out of it; do you want to start locally and grow to the top levels? Or maybe you want to come out swinging by starting straight at the top! I think both have amazing qualities and I’m a huge proponent of both!

Lastly, what is your expectation with the title should you win? Have you thought about what you’d do once that crown was earned? Some titles (such as Miss Kansas America) require that you take a year off from school or your place of work and commit to the organization for a full year; others are a ‘design your own experience’ type of commitment. More so, there are organizations where you compete in one weekend and once you win, it’s over and that’s it, there’s not responsibility! Just remember, do your research and as you’re doing so, make sure whatever you want that experience to be is in alignment with the system you choose as well as your own personal values and goals. You know what they say, ‘love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life’.

If you’re new to pageantry, I hope this week’s blog just opened your eyes to the multitude of pageantry systems for every season of life or any interest you may have. There are truly plenty of options so it’s just a matter of which pieces are important, what competition you want to partake in, what experience you want to have and how you will represent the title once you earn it.

Will you be competing? Let me know what you decide! Cheering you on!


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