Win A Pageant

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I’d like to give a special thank you to those of you who have completed the Pageant Interview Questionnaire – it is fascinating to read what you are really needing and I love the ideas you have! Even the responses that are just echoing what we already know everyone needs like mock interviews and samples of good and bad interviews – this stuff is helping me so much! I’m going to leave the survey up through the end of this week and I’d love to get your feedback!

If you haven’t yet, would you mind taking just 5 minutes to fill out the questionnaire. It asks 10 questions about pageant interview and I’m using the feedback to create more trainings for you.

When you fill out the questionnaire, you’ll get the mini-series How to Answer the Hardest Pageant Interview Questions, as a “Thank You!” for your time and to support your pageant interview prep!

If you’ve done it – thank you, I appreciate you! 

So, today’s episode is going to uncover some Pageant Etiquette, which I believe is vital to maintaining your reputation in the pageant industry

Most women learn pageant etiquette as they go through the process of pageantry, generally because someone else does something that they really respect or they do something that everyone else disrespects…and points it out! This has happened to me, I’m sure it’s happened to you cuz it happens to all of us. Do not fret – if you pay attention to today’s episode, I’ll save you a lot of embarrassment. 

Your Full Title

The first piece of etiquette to discuss is how to introduce yourself to an audience. It’s easy when you’re Miss USA. You just say that. But what about if you are Miss Greater Lakes of the North International Teenager of America US. It’s a little more complex. You’re gonna want to say Miss Greater Lakes or Miss GL of the North…do you see what I mean? But, different pageants have different titles to signify which pageant system the titleholder belongs to. If you shorten your title, it could be confusing to the audience (or infringe of trademark laws). So, the rule is – use your full title as it was announced when you received the crown…even if it’s super-long. 

“Thank You”

The second most common etiquette error happens just after responding to an on-stage question. Contrary to what often happens, you should not finish your statement with “Thank you.”  A presidential candidate doesn’t answer a press question during a conference and then say “Thank You” after every answer. Therefore, neither should you. Unless the audience is going truly wild with applause for some marvelous thing you just said. I’ve seen it a time or two before where a woman answers a question in such a witty and amazing way that the audience truly goes wild with applause, in this case it is totally appropriate to thank them for ‘amen’ing’ your opinion. Otherwise, simply bringing your gaze back to the person that asked the question and sewing up your answer with a finishing tone is proper etiquette. 

Gown Shopping

Our next piece of etiquette comes from gown store owners around the globe. Every time you enter a pageant gown store, you should act like you just walked into Dolce and Gabbana on Rodeo Drive. By that I mean, calm down, go slow, treat everything with care. When you flip through the racks, handle the gown by the hangers, not the fabric which could damage the gown or leave marks from oils on your hands. Take only 3 or 5 gowns into the dressing room at a time and hang each one up before you take another off the hanger. Don’t try things on over top of your tank top or ask to try a new pair of earrings with each gown. Instead, be thoughtful in the process and respect the gowns and the attendants helping you. They are there to make sure the gowns are lovely. Treat them with respect and they will respect you. 

Store Discounts

Speaking of gowns and respect… sometimes, you’ll receive a discount or a gift card to spend at a merchant’s store. This is common as a part of a prize package for local and state pageants. The store discount is intended to put toward a larger purchase, not for a free cocktail. If you receive $200 to a store as a gift, please do not show up to the store expecting to redeem it without at least buying a pair of shoes. For a business owner, this level of sponsorship is a marketing strategy. Most gown stores that give discounts are deeply tied to the pageant and the owners and attendants are excited to have you in their store so they can show you the unique merchandise they have. If you show up searching for something no more than $205, they won’t view you in a positive light. Instead, when you are ready to buy additional wardrobe (and there is always a time for another cocktail dress, gown, shoes, and accessories), that’s that perfect time to shop with them. If you do end up finding the perfect dress for $199, at least buy a pair of shoes and earrings to make it worth their time and generosity. 


Gift-giving is a huge part of pageantry. It is totally appropriate to bring a generous gift for your pageant roommate, host family, parents, sponsors and directors; plus a little something small for each of the other contestants and back-stage volunteers. I know many women give gifts like they are passing out beads at Mardi Gras, but I always preferred to give gifts privately so that the true meaning of the gesture wasn’t confused with showing off. 

Talking to Judges

After a pageant, there are tons of emotions flying around – even for the judges. Many times they didn’t want that girl to win either, they were rooting for you the whole time. Or, they think you had no shot, but have a million ideas of what they wish they could’ve said to you. Either way, this is not the time nor place to get into that conversation. I did a whole episode on how to thank your judges and receive actual feedback in episode 52, so I recommend you listen to that for all the gritty details, but for now, suffice it to say that a simple and genuine “Thank You for taking the time to be here today to judge the pageant” will go a long, long way! 

Give Thanks

Everyone who has sewn into your experience deserves a thank you note – the directors, production staff, host hotel, judges, sponsors, and authors of books you’ve read – even the people you’ve paid, like your gown designer, stylist, coach, paperwork editor. I recommend keeping a list as you prepare so you can show your gratitude after the big event.

And, that, ladies is how you win a pageant. 

Contact Information

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