Pageant Interview Tips

Everyone can use a few pageant interview tips, right?  It’s just one of those things that constantly develops, even far beyond your pageant career.  This is where public speaking started for me, in the pageant interview room.  I was so shy.  In my very first interview, I didn’t say anything.  I’m not kidding. 

But in my defense, however, the judges kept asking me “yes” or “no” questions.  So I very passionately answered, “yes,” or “no.”  Then I confidently walked out of that interview room like I nailed it! 

Oh, if you were a fly on that wall, you’d know exactly what NOT to do.

Anyway, school is never out. You can never stop learning, especially when it comes to communicating effectively with others. And to communicate all of your views, goals, accomplishments, and education in 10 or even 3 minutes or less?

Girl, that takes skills and practice.

So let's start with some pageant interview tips basics.

Pageant Interview Tips 101

  • Start with learning about what's going on it the world, and have an opinion about it.  Your views might not fly with some of the judges on very controversial topics, and they usually have the freedom to ask you anything on or off your fact sheet. I appreciate someone with conviction as opposed to one who answers in the middle. But more on that later. For now, know your current events and people involved.
  • Start talking about these topics with others.
  • Be aware of names of people in office, too. You'll be surprised at how many girls don't know this.
  • Know that you are in control of your interview. Not the judges.  Stay in control.
  • Keep answers concise. Not too short (like the inexperienced me from the past), but definitely not too long either.

A Miss America once told me to learn to, and be comfortable with, "bridging," or segway into other topics in your interview.  For example, if your question is, "What is your favorite color?" (one of the ultimate "fluff" questions).  Instead of saying just, "pink," you could say, "I love to wear pink, I wear something pink everyday, especially with my pin to promote breast cancer awareness. My Mom is a survivor and I wear it in honor of all who have overcome, and those who died." And so this will change the direction of your interview.

Remember: You are in control.

  • If there is a question that you don't know the answer to, simply say, "I don't know the answer to that."  Do not apologize for it. Just smile and be open for the next question. 
  • Breathe. The most simple, yet most difficult pageant interview tip of all.  Can't talk if you don't breathe. 
  • Jump around before the interview. Get your blood pumping.  Get excited. If you are a layed-back person, like I am, and perhaps need a little energy before the interview, go find a flight of steps and climb a few just before you walk into the interview room. 
(this was my secret to winning my interview once I learned to say more than yes and no).  On the flip side, if you're a high energy like a Jack Russel Terrier, then find something to calm you down like soothing music...or valium (just kidding).
  • Go into the interview room with your "Most Wanted Response" in mind, which is that you want the judges to recognize YOU as the winner. This not only is revealed by what you say, but also by how you say it. To be a winner is an attitude, but not one based on pride or conceite. Winners do not have to proclaim themselves as winners. They just are. 
  • Dress for success.  Make sure that you've got on the most perfect pageant interview suit; one that makes you look like a million bucks. 
  • Have a heart for service. You are interviewing not only for the title, but most importantly for the job that goes with it.  That job involves lots of community service and people.  Have a passion for it.  
  • If victory is not yours, respect and integrity always will be.
  • Better to be firm on your stance and potentially tick a judge off (which, by the way, should not happen since you are judged on how you answer and not on your personal opinion) than tell them what you think they want to hear. Be proud of your opinion. because, after all, it is your opinion. 
  • Practice with a mock interview.  When I work with my girls, I set this up for them. All you need are people you don't know, a  timer, and someone who can prep the mock judges with your resume/fact sheet, what they should be looking for and what kind of questions to ask.  Don't be afraid to tell the mock judges to ask you extremely hard questions. Which brings me to my next pageant interview tip...
  • ...Don't be afraid of hard questions. There are no right or wrong answers. This is not a quiz. It is, however, a test to see if you can think on your feet.  
  • Have fun and relax!
  • Be yourself. And don't forget to smile!

Since everyone is different, it is ultimately best to find a pageant interview coach, especially if you've had no success in or are new to pageantry. I constantly see girls try over and over again to win a title, but they don't seem to know what to change, or worse, they don't know that they even have to change. 

If you keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you're getting.

Know when you need intervention. And know that that's one of the reasons why we are here to help! Hope you found these pageant interview tips useful!

"Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new."

Brian Tracy