I am often asked by potential candidates, “what do I need to do to compete?” If you are new to the Miss America competition, I will do my best to answer your questions! Here are 7 steps to set you on the road to Miss America.
NOTE: To any young ladies who hold Ambassador titles, you are also eligible to compete for Miss Minnesota or Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen. Read the addendum at the end of this blog.
7 Steps To Enter a Miss America Local Competition
1. Find A Local Pageant Near You
Every Miss America began her journey in a ‘local’ competition. Open and closed local competitions are scattered throughout your state. An open competition requires you to live, work, or go to school in the state, and a closed competition requires you to live, work, or go to school in that community. I recommend entering a local competition near you as you will be asked to make appearances during your year. Being in or close to your community will ensure you are able to attend events frequently. Here are two links to guide you to the right place!
3. Assemble Your Paperwork (Resume, Social Impact Statement & Photo)
Your paperwork will be the first thing the judges see before they meet you in the interview. Your Resume should showcase your education, personality and accomplishments. Your Social Impact Statement is an essay about why you chose your initiative; why your initiative is relevant; and what you intend to do or what you have done to advocate your initiative. Remember, choose a social impact initiative you are passionate about. You can check out my blog about the Miss America Social Impact Initiative for more detailed information. You will also need a color photo of yourself for the program book and social media. Be sure to select a nice picture for the judges which represents who you are.
5. Assemble Your Wardrobe: Opening Number outfit, Interview Outfit, Eveningwear, and Talent Costume
There are many pieces of advice I could share about wardrobe and what you should wear. I’ll leave you with this: what you wear should fit you well and make you feel great when you are on stage. It should reflect your personality and make you feel awesome! And, you do not have to spend a lot. I have found great dresses on pageant & prom resale sites, eBay, Amazon, and have borrowed clothing. Remember that you are competing to win scholarship money, and you don’t want to spend more than you can win.
7. Prepare For Your Judges Interview
This sometimes is the most overlooked part of preparation for new contestants. You will have a 10-minute interview with the judges, of which the last 30 seconds you may give a prepared (not memorized) closing statement. (NOTE: Teen Contestant interviews are shorter, so check with your local pageant. There is no closing statement for Teens.) What is the best way to prepare for this? First, read, re-read, and then re-re-read your paperwork! Do service work in your community. Stay up to date on current events. Practice answering questions with family and friends. You need to know everything that you have written in your paperwork and be prepared to talk about it. For keeping up on current events, I recommend theskimm.com which is an online news service providing an overview of current political issues. Have conversations with friends and family so you are able to articulate your views. The most important thing to know about the interview is to BE YOURSELF. Don’t answer questions based on what you think the judges want to hear. They are there to get to know you, so show them your heart! You can watch my video to learn more about the 10-minute judges interview!
Competition Notes as of April 2020
During the On-Stage Question portion of the competition, candidates will first present a 30-second Social Impact Pitch about their Social Impact Initiative. Following the 30-second 'pitch' one judge will ask a question to the candidate to follow up from the private interview.
During the Red Carpet Competition (formerly the Evening wear competition) for MISS, candidates may choose evening attire of their choosing. This is a stand-alone competition.
This is for STATE competition only. This will not be done at local competitions.
Prepare a Social Impact Pitch (SIP). The SIP will be a 60 second "Ted Talk" and will be done only at state competitions by the final top 5 candidates.
Now that you have an overview of what it takes to compete in a Miss America local, find one today and join the sisterhood! Also, be sure to check you are eligible to compete. Miss America and Miss America's Outstanding Teen provide eligibility rules on age, residency, marital status, etc. I have not posted the links here, as the links and rules are changing often!
Ambassador Titles = Miss Minnesota Festival Title