You probably already know my philosophy on pageant paperwork. If not, I’ll tell you. The top 10 contestants can usually be selected from paperwork alone. Most pageant women don’t put a lot of thought or effort into their paperwork, but for my clients, we take days crafting it to guide the interview and give them a leg up. One question that comes up a lot is whether or not they should put their old pageant title on another pageant paperwork.
For example, if they were Miss Great Lakes 2014 in the Miss America Organization, they wonder if they should put that on their application for the Miss USA Pageant.
People have differing opinions on this and because each system is so different, there’s not really a right or wrong way. Instead, in this episode, I’m going to share with you 7 thoughts a judge may have when they see (or don’t see) past titles on your paperwork. Hopefully, this gives you the insight you need to help you decide for yourself.
When a judge sees a past title on the paperwork they may think:
1. Oh, goodie! This one’s gonna be good!
If that is totally true, like you are head and shoulders above your competition, then do it! If you truly know you aren’t an outlier, then leave it off. You’ll get scored lower if you don’t live up to their inflated expectations.
2. Oh, good. She knows what to expect with a title.
If your past title and the title you’re competing for is more of a lateral move or a down-step in terms of audience reach and level of responsibility, then keep it on there. For example, if you were Miss USA and you’re competing for Miss World, I say leave it on there. If you were Miss Glory of the Heartlands and now you’re competing for Miss Three Rivers, then keep it on there. However, don’t put Miss Glory of the Heartlands 2013 on your 2016 application for Miss New York.
3. Oh, boy. We have a lifer.
This could put an instant target on your head. Especially if you list out like 5 former titles over the last 7 years, you may get an eye roll and someone looking to trip you off of your pageant patty’ persona. In this case, if you put it on there, you’ll want to make sure you come off incredibly warm, friendly, and… well, normal.
4. Cool, I’m excited to talk to this one.
If your judge loves pageant women, she’s gonna love you. She’ll feel connected like she’s got something to talk about and trust that you know what you’re doing. If you don’t impress her, she may be disappointed and could score extra-low to give someone else the opportunity.
5. Uh-oh. This girl may not be loyal.
Some pageant systems prefer you only speak of their pageant. It makes sense, if you were representing Pepsi, they wouldn’t want you talking about how you had a great year when you worked for Coke. You’ll have to be prepared to express why you’re overly interested in this new system. It will have to be better than, well, I aged out of the other one, so thought I’d try it here. Be prepared.
When a judge sees no past titles on the paperwork they may think:
6. Hmm…I wonder if she has experience
Sometimes the judges really do want you to have pageant experience. Some pageant directors actually ask the judges to greatly consider contestants with prior experience, especially in their system because it usually makes for a better year. For these pageants, you’ll want to show up looking like a total pro and maybe even bring up your experience in your interview if you don’t put it on there.
7. Nothing at all.
They may not even notice and they’ll lump you in with all the other girls that didn’t put titles on their paperwork. You’ll come in with a fresh slate and they may still ask you (especially if you show up well prepared and obviously experienced), but then it’s a pleasant surprise.
The bottom line is this: It’s usually safe to include if you are making a lateral move (Miss USA to Miss World) or if you’re competing at the higher level within your pageant system (Miss Nevada to Miss USA)
The most important thing to consider is how you’ll walk into the first round of competition. If you say you have experience, you better show up prepared, sharp, engaging, and talented. They’ll be expecting a winner and you’ll have to be ready to prove yourself. If you are, then I say go for it! Put it on there loud and proud, then prepare yourself to prove your awesomeness.
And that, my dear, is how you win a pageant.
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