For 5 years, I was a career counselor on college campuses in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and California. When a student would come in to do a mock interview, I’d always give them a list of questions that they were most likely to be asked so that the first time they heard them wasn’t in the interview room.
Today, I’m going to share the top 5 questions that you can expect to be asked in your pageant interview. And, I’ll help you develop your own answer by given you some sample answers to get your creative juices flowing.
The point of this exercise is not so that you’ll memorize answers, but rather so that you can get to know yourself in a variety of ways and do some self-reflection in comfort before you’re asked these questions under pressure.
1 – Tell me about yourself.
This is the most common request. The goal is to get a snapshot understanding of the highlights of your life and values.
To answer this question, think about the highlights that relate to the situation. If you’re in a job interview, you’ll want to share your education and experience. If you’re in a pageant, you’ll want to share elements of community service, public speaking, platform, education, and personal values. Don’t go into too much detail. Keep it light, organized chronologically, and focused on the highlights.
For example, you may say, My undergraduate and master’s degrees are both in engineering. I live in Virginia with my husband, Carl, who also happens to be an engineer. We have three boys under age 7 who love legos, rollercoasters, and science. My platform developed naturally as we helped our boys develop an appreciation for physics. Now, we host weekend workshops through our church for kids of all ages to engage in fun engineer-related activities to foster a love for STEM.
2 – Why did you enter this pageant?
This can be asked in a variety of ways like, Why do you want to win? What made you decide to do pageantry? What do you love about this pageant?
The goal is to better understand your motivation and how you view pageants. Do NOT try to answer this question with some corny pageant-girl line about being a role model or contributing to your community. While those may be part of it, that’s not unique enough to stand out.
Instead, start with your true motivation. Then ask yourself Why four more times to get to your real answer. It may be like this:
Motivation: to dance in front of a huge audience
Why? To challenge myself to perform under the spotlight and communicate through dance under pressure
Why? To hone skills in public presentation and performance
Why? To be a better public speaker and communicator
Why? To impact more people
If this is your story, your answer to Why do you want to win should be along the lines of impacting more people through your speaking and communication skills. Here’s another example:
Motivation: to prove to everyone that I could win
Why? Because everyone thinks I’m not good enough to win a pageant
Why? Because I don’t look like a pageant girl
Why? Because I’ve never done a pageant before and no one in my family has
Why? Because this is the first time someone in my family took interest in pageantry
If this is your story, your answer to Why do you want to win should be about stepping into your own passions outside of what your family believes and trying something new.
When you answer this question from a real place, it is much more meaningful and powerful because it is absolutely true.
3 – What will you do if you win?
This could also be asked like, What is your plan during your year? What are your goals as Miss Titleholder? What’s the first thing you’ll do when you win?
The goal of this question is to understand your intention and depth of thoughtfulness.
Don’t answer this question with a fluffy answer. Come with a real plan to move your agenda forward alongside the goal of the pageant.
My clients all develop a marketing plan so that they have impressive answers to this question. You could create a plan of action to share with the judges about how you’ll grow partners or sponsors and how you’ll use the title to take action.
For example, you might say, During my year, I’ll visit all 11 Children’s Miracle Network hospitals to host the Video Talent Show to give children in hospitals the opportunity to showcase their best talents and share their stories of inspiration. I’ve already reached out to 3 of the hospitals to set a date for the video experience.
4 – What is your biggest weakness?
This could be asked as What is something you aren’t good at? What are you currently struggling with? What are you learning to do right now?
The goal of this question is to see if you are self-aware, and open to personal growth and constructive feedback.
Don’t answer with a strength and play it off as a weakness like, I’m just a perfectionist. I like everything to be excellent. We see through that crap, sister. Instead, get really honest with what you aren’t great at and share how you’re managing it. For me, it’s cardinal direction. I get mixed up easily when I use hand written maps or have to give directions to someone. It’s gotten me into trouble a few times, so I’ve learned to always have a charged up phone when I’m travelling somewhere new and to defer to someone else with a better sense of direction.
5 – What is unique about you?
This could be asked as Why should be – choose you? What makes you stand out? or What will you bring to the title that no one else will?
The goal of this question is to make their job easy and share the quality that you believe is most important in a titleholder. Don’t answer with something that anyone else could say. Instead, be honest. Consider what is the thing that you bring to the table that no one else does. Is it your education, experience, contacts around the world, vast travel experience, multi-lingual skills, multi-ethnicity, platform engagement — what’s your thing.’
If you believe that flexibility and money to travel will be important and you’ve got it covered, then tell them!
You might say, I know the title of Miss International will require me to travel throughout the states quite regularly. My sister is a flight attendant and has just signed me on as her buddy companion. I’ll be able to get really inexpensive airfare to all the state pageants and since I took off this year from work, I also have plenty of time flexibility to stay in each state while I host one of my platform workshops, which is fully funded by a major sponsor, Nike.
That’s the top 5 pageant interview questions with sample answers. This isn’t about memorizing answers to all of these questions, it’s just about doing some thoughtful reflection to make sure you know you well enough to sell yourself as the best titleholder.
Don’t forget to share this with a friend who could use some encouragement and I’ll see you on the next Win A Pageant Wednesday. Love ya lots! kiss