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How an Optional Can Win You the National Title

USA Ambassador Miss 2016. Photo Courtesy/USA Ambassador Facebook Page.
USA Ambassador Miss 2016. Photo Courtesy/USA Ambassador Facebook Page.

Optionals started as fun little additions to a pageant that, in many systems, could be considered the equivalent of winning a Senior Superlative in the yearbook.

But at USA Ambassador, an optional score can replace a required score and ultimately win you the title.

Judges panel scores all areas of competition, including Optionals.

Some systems have different judges who judge the Optional competitions than those who score the required competitions. Systems have different reasons for doing this.

Sometimes Optionals are scored ahead of time, or take place during required competitions to ensure there is no favoritism among judges for a particular contestant.

However, if a contestant wins multiple Optionals but not the pageant itself, it can be confusing, so having the same panel for all areas of competition makes the judging more consistent.

USA Fashion Wear required competition score can be replaced by an Optional score.

At USA Ambassador, USA Fashion Wear isn’t the same as Patriotic Wear in other systems.

“An outfit chosen by the contestant, from her very own closet, that reflects what is fashionable for girls her age in her part of the country,” the USA Ambassador website explains. “The outfit should be a representation of her everyday style.”

This is worth 25 percent of your score, but don’t fret if you’re worried about the contents of your closet or strength of your modeling ability, as you won’t be stuck with the score. (Read: 5 Ways to Master Your Runway Walk)

“USA Fashion Wear is a core piece to our program and every girl is required to compete,” said Barbara, National Director. “If they chose to enter an Optional Competition and if an Optional Competition is awarded a higher score, it replaces the USA Fashion Wear Score. We are a pageant system that thrives on ensuring all types of competitors have an opportunity for the crown as they can bring their strengths to our program and have it count.”

Yes, you read that correctly. If you score higher in an Optional competition than you do in USA Fashion Wear, your Optional score will replace your USA Fashion Wear score. It’s like when your highest test score replaces your lowest test score in a class.

Multiple Optionals allows for optimal chances to increase your score.

“We have eight Optionals, so girls [and] women can bring their strengths to our program and have it actually increase their overall score,” Barbara said.

Onstage Optionals include Acting, Fit ‘n’ Fabulous, Runway Modeling, Spokes Model and Talent. OffStage include Best in Class/Resume, Community Service, Photogenic Glamour and Photogenic Natural. (Read:

Off-stage include Best in Class/Resume, Community Service, Photogenic Glamour and Photogenic Natural. (Read: Are Optional Pageant Competitions Worth the Money?)

“Not every girl has a ‘talent’ or wishes to wear a swimsuit [or] fitness, but some may,” Barbara said. “We have many Optional competitions that allow competitors to bring their strength. We are the only pageant system that provides this opportunity and with this option, the overall winners are very diverse in many ways.”

Going Forward

If your pageant system doesn’t allow an Optional to replace a score, winning or participating in an Optional can certainly put you on the judges’ radar, so consider competing in Optionals when possible.

To get involved with USA Ambassador, visit the website and click on your state for more information on how to compete.

Good luck!

Which dress do you like better?

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