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How to Create a Winning Pageant Mindset

Pageant Coach, Wendi Russo - Photo: Georgina Vaughan
Pageant Coach, Wendi Russo – Photo: Georgina Vaughan

The trick to ace your pageant interview? Start with truly believing in yourself. Say positive affirmations to yourself before walking inside.

Winners think differently, they plan differently, they are focused, and they do what they need to do by any means necessary. This is how a winner thinks and this why you some of the world’s top thinkers, motivators, and success stories out lead the pack to win in life. (Read: 5 Steps to Think Like a Pageant Winner)

During a Pageant Planet Podcast with founder Steven Roddy, he shared how he found success through setbacks and the ways he motivates himself and thinks differently. At the end of the day, people who typically wins pageants truly believe they can win and they put in the work, if not overtime, to achieve their goals.

“Belief is that you can win it,” said Roddy.

He said that often what we see is a contestant too overly focused on getting the outside ready, but they first need to believe in their talents and abilities.

“None of that matters if you don’t believe that you can win,” Roddy said. “So a winner’s mindset is first you have this inner belief that you deserve this crown that you are going after.”

(For more on how Pageant Planet Founder Steven Roddy mentally prepares for the day, catch the Pageant Planet podcast by clicking here)

After listening to the podcast, I decided to sit down and talk with a pageant coach about how coaches can help pageant girls change their thinking to reach their goals.

Wendi Russo is a national television host, spokesperson and TV sales consultant. Wendi began pageantry at 40 and won Mrs. Minnesota United States 2010, reaching 1st Runner-up at Mrs. United States 2010.

She also held the Mrs. Minnesota title in the Galaxy, America and Globe systems. She helped girls win titles in the National American Miss Teen, Miss America, Miss Minnesota U.S., Miss USA and Little Miss United States pageants.

Wendi has some of the best, frank advice for her contestants. After talking with her, I can see how she is an honest, no-nonsense pageant coach who is helping women follow their dreams. (Read: How Far in Advance Should You Get a Coach?)

How Can You Create a Winning Mindset?

Winners have different behaviors and thought processes, which makes them stand out. According to Russo, they are planning to win months in advance.

“Winners listen to one coach, not nine million people,” Russo said. “You have one person invested in their success. They are passionate, these girls are ready from two weeks they are done with everything. They prepare for at least six months, they are not just starting their training in 2 months out.”

Beginning eight months to a year from a competition may seem unnecessary or too early especially if you are changing systems or reconsidering even going back out there. Trust me, I’ve been there. You finally decide roughly three months out to compete again because you couldn’t scratch the pageant bug and you’ve been watching your friends compete.

Russo added that you should always be ready to go, even if you are not certain on where your pageant dreams are taking you. She suggested beginning early and remaining positive during obstacles to another key to changing your mind. (Read: 8 Body Positive Mantras Every Pageant Girl Should Know)

“The best of the best have a great wardrobe that fits properly, and they are willing to invest money, time and energy training,” Russo said. “They are intelligent, they don’t stop when they fail the first time, they are quick learners they will work on something over and over again until it is right. Other girls won’t spend money on their wardrobe. They have a wardrobe that fits the system.”

Behind every good contestant, there is usually a coach to help guide them along. A team of truthful supporters surrounds a winner. What does your circle look like? When you surround yourself with a group of people who are making strides in their fields, it increases your motivation and drive. Keeping up with the Joneses. They push you and inspire you. (Read: Pageant Question of the Day: Pageant Motivation)

To find a great coach, Russo suggests looking more into their character rather than focusing on price; quality over quantity. She mentioned some of the red flags to look out for.

“You should find a coach who will strengthen your weaknesses and who’s honest,” Russo said. “I suggest hiring a coach who is not going to coach all the other girls on the stage. How can a coach be true to you when they are coaching all of your competitors? If everyone is coaching with the same person, I would not coach with them. Look for a proven track record of success in that system. Someone who cares about you winning.”

(Ready to hire your own personal pageant coach? The Pageant Planet Coach Directory can help you out.)

Part of Wendi Russo’s coaching includes practicing how you stand on stage. She said contestants need to practice just standing still. Judges can determine a leader based on body position.

To get the best bang for your buck, it is best to find an all-encompassing coach who knows every phase of the competition, wardrobe, walking/presentation, and one who can point you in the best direction. (Read: How to Budget for a Pageant)

Through her services, Russo will teach you about finding your angles and how to work the stage come competition time.

“The basics are there,” Russo said. “I do it all: wardrobe selection, walking, introduction, body movement and placement on stage. I cover how you communicate through your body language and speaking skills. I am a communications expert and verbally what you are saying, the judges are watching contestants’ body language.”

She suggested that if you are going to train yourself or practice, record and watch yourself multiple times. You want to remember your mantras to help you create a winning mindset. You have to truly believe in your abilities and talents. Russo added that you are really only competing against two people. The first is yourself. No one else will deliver a performance like you can. No one can talk about you better than you; you are there to give something to the world.

The second is a group of women. Russo said that, on average, only a small percentage of contestants are truly ready come competition time. Only a few have dedicated the time and made those true sacrifices to compete to win. The judges can tell who came ready and prepared by body posture. A confident posture and mannerism indicate a leader, and that is who the judges will be drawn to for their next queen. (Read: 7 Ways To Get Winning Pageant Confidence)

“My advice may be tailored, my girls better be prepared,” Russo said. “As a pageant judge, I can tell you the judges can read faces, they can tell if you are scared or confident. I can tell you this, approximately 90% of contestants are not ready. You are really only competing with five girls. The rest, they don’t believe it and they haven’t done the work.”

Put in the grit and dedication that it is going to take to get there. It may mean late nights and early mornings but focus on the goal. Success and work go hand in hand. Nothing will happen over night. However, before you begin, you have to truly dig deep within yourself and believe in your abilities.

For more about Wendi Russo’s pageant coaching services, click here to visit her coaching profile on The Pageant Planet.

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