Let's say you just won your local competition, congratulations! You are now on the next step of your Miss America journey ~ getting ready for your state competition. It may be months away, but don’t be fooled! Competition week will be here before you know it and every day until then is a day you can use to prepare.
Photo by Paula Preston Photographer
9 Ways to Prepare for Your State Competition Now!
By Kathryn Kueppers
I wrote this blog to share the things I focused on when I competed for the title of Miss Minnesota for the second time. I treated my local title as Miss Coon Rapids like it was my full time job! The key for me was to do at least one thing each day, even if it was as small as texting my local director updates or running through my talent in between classes. You don’t have to do every one of my suggestions every single day, you’d go crazy! But these are some things to do so you’re optimizing your time as you get ready for the big competition! For those of you who are thinking of competing for your first local title there is still plenty here for you to think about as you begin your journey to the Miss America stage.
1. Communicate with your Local Director.
This one is super important, even if it’s just a few texts here or there! Your Local Director is there to help you get ready for the state competition and make the most of your year. Find out their expectations and let them know your goals as their titleholder. This makes it easier to collaborate with them and come up with new ideas! Also, always check with them before you make appearances, speak, fundraise, or do anything with the name of your title. Your directors are your best resources, especially if you are new. So work with them!
2. Arrange speaking opportunities.
Find every opportunity to get in front of a group of people to speak. Your local committee might even be able to arrange something for you. Schools, Rotary Clubs, and other similar civic organizations are great places to speak about your Social Impact Initiative. By practicing speaking, you’ll start to develop and refine talking points for interview and onstage question.
3. Start developing yourself on social media.
You’ve most likely noticed how much social media has expanded over the past few years. Now is the time to start using platforms like Instagram, IGTV, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to brand yourself. This is also a great way to advocate for your Social Impact Initiative and update people on what you are doing! Some easy ways to get started are to create accounts for your title and develop hashtags unique to you and your initiative. Use Facebook and Instagram stories and highlights to help people get to know you. Give your judges lots of social media to sift through so they can get to know you better before you meet them in interview!
>>> Side note <<<<<<
EDIT YOUR PHOTOS.
No one needs to see a photo of you on a stage where you are the size of the ant and you see more of the floor and ceiling. Edit your photos so people can see YOU. Watch what is behind you in the photo and look for good lighting. If you post a photo, it should look good and you should look good in it!
4. Keep working on talent.
Talent is now the highest scored competition, but don’t let that scare you! If you want to gain points in this area I suggest you find places to perform and improve your talent. For me, I found a great group of jazz musicians that I did gigs with which really helped me refine my talent abilities for state. I took every opportunity I could to get on a stage and sing to help me improve!
5. Fundraise for CMN
Part of your involvement with Miss America includes volunteering and fundraising for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Now, this does not mean simply asking your family and friends for donations. You can work with your local committee to develop a creative fundraising event. I have always fundraised by selling my handmade earrings and other crafts at different church events or craft sales. Other ideas would be selling candy bars at your school during sporting events; have pancake breakfast at your church; a walk; a bake sale; sometimes you can partner with a restaurant to donate proceeds to CMN if you set a date with them and get people to their restaurant. The ideas are endless if you take time to be creative.
6. Attend local competitions to meet and get to know your class.
Attending local competitions is so valuable! You meet women in the sisterhood, learn more about competing by watching others, and it can even be a chance for a fun road trip! For more on this subject of the benefits of attending local competitions, read my blog here!
7. Start paperwork now.
While paperwork isn’t due until closer to the state competition, you don’t want to be writing your Resume and Social Impact Statement the night before you turn them in! This isn’t like a college essay where you start at 7pm before it’s due at midnight (though we’ve all been there!) One way to get started is to keep a file on your computer desktop dedicated to all of your ideas. Focus on editing and adding a little at a time, sending different versions of your paperwork to your committee for reviewing, and then editing again. If you stay at this process and work a little at a time, paperwork will be done before you know it! The key is to start now!
8. Start wardrobe preparation now.
Personally, my wardrobe is one of the first things I take care of. I work to have all of my competition clothing selected, accessorized, and altered months before the competition. Part of this is due to the stories I’ve heard of people trying to find a tailor to fix a dress two days before competition... No one needs that last minute stress! Plus, once you have your state wardrobe together you can start working on the important stuff like service work, finalizing paperwork, or fundraising! Believe me, picking out your wardrobe early is a huge stress reliever!
9. Treat your local title like a real job.
If you earn your state title, your year of service will be much more than a full time job. There are expectations, deadlines, sponsorship responsibilities, and paperwork. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of the fun stuff, too! One way to prepare yourself for a state title is to take your local title seriously. Commit to trying some of the things above like speaking, fundraising, and working with your local director to grow your Social Impact Initiative. It's important to develop the mindset that your service, social impact, social media, preparation, talent, speaking, and fundraising should be well formed before you win. This way, you will be ready to hit the ground running with that state title!
One thing I love to say of this organization is that the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it! This experience has the potential to be a life changing year, but it’s up to you to make the experience amazing. So dive in, try new things, challenge yourself, and enjoy the journey.
P.S. If you have a teen or even princesses, don't forget to show them some love too! They are our future leaders and you are their mentor.