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How to Have a Memorable Pageant Experience Even if You Don’t Win the Crown

Photo Courtesy of National American Miss.
Photo Courtesy/National American Miss.

You’ve worked very hard for that sparkly new headpiece, so it’s easy to get discouraged and let the fact that you didn’t get to take it home with you put a sour taste in your mouth regarding the entire event.

But whatever you do, don’t do this. (Read: How to React if You Don’t Make Pageant Finals)

Winning is just the cherry on top of the sundae that is participating in a pageant. There is so much more underneath the bright red fruit that actually makes the sundae worth enjoying, so savor all of it!

How to Have a Memorable Pageant Experience Even if You Don’t Win the Crown

1. Make an effort to meet new friends and form a bond.

When it comes to a sundae, there are at least three types of ice cream in the same bowl. They work together to make a deliciously sweet scoop of awesomeness and without them, the entire sundae would just be garnishes with no foundation.

Same goes for pageantry. Without the friendships and the sisterhood, it’s just sparkle and fabric. The real substance is what’s hidden beneath all of that and is what makes the pageant what it really is.

Photo Courtesy/National American Miss


2. Make memories with your new friends.

How do you make the ice cream better? You add syrup, of course. Chocolate, strawberry, caramel, pineapple – it makes each scoop better.

That’s precisely what spending time with your new friends and making memories does. I don’t remember the onstage questions or the hair and makeup. I remember the moments my pageant friends screamed from the stage that she had a spare dress when my zipper was stuck, curled my hair when it was falling flat and we didn’t have mirrors in the dressing room, busted up laughing when I fell down the stairs in rehearsal (twice, at two different pageants), and helped find a sponsor so I could compete.

I remember the dressing room talks and the fun rehearsal walks when we were so tired and our feet were so sore and our nerves were on edge that we were just trying to loosen up. So be there for each other and don’t get sucked into the competition; let the moments envelop you.

3. Take lots of pictures.

The often forgotten about sundae topping, nuts add a crunchy note to break up the creamy monotony. But sometimes, we forget all about them.

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and forget to take a photo, but take the time to snap a few. It’s certainly easier nowadays with cellphone cameras.

But remember this: When you get home, don’t just upload the photos to social media. Actually print them out and put them into a photo album or make a scrapbook. I promise you’ll thank me later.

We rely so much on our social media and technology to archive our memories, but years from now, when, like VHS and reels the technology is outmoded, you’ll still want access to those Kodax moments. There is a reason the term “iMoment” has yet to be coined after all, so be sure to print and preserve them for future reminiscing with your friends from pageants past.


4. Even though it is a competition, try to let loose and have fun at the rehearsals, the hotel pool, etc.

Bring on the whipped cream topping! A sundae isn’t a sundae without a billowy cloud of whipped cream on top, and what other topping can you enjoy straight from the can, directly to your mouth without having to dirty a spoon in the process?

Just like whipped cream comes bursting from the can due to the amount of pressure behind it, you too must do the same during pageant weekend. Don’t get bogged down by the pressure to perform, instead, use it to spring forward and be yourself and show who you are on the inside. Overworked whipped cream is never a good thing, so relax, take your time and stay calm.

5. Have fun!

Bring on the sprinkles! What’s more fun than sprinkles? No matter how old you are, these colorful sugar bits make sundaes worth smiling about; even though Monday is the next day. I kid.

But really, enjoy every moment in the moment, from on the stage to in the hallways – wherever you happen to be, don’t focus on being your perfectly molded self. Sprinkles come in a variety of colors, so enjoy yourself no matter what time of day it is or what area of competition you happen to be in.

Besides, without sprinkles, Funfetti cake would just be vanilla cake, and that’s just plain and boring.

6. Know that winning the crown/banner is just an added bonus. After the pageant, you can go out and make just as big of a difference without the crown/banner.

Back to the cherry on top in this pageantry sundae, if we don’t get a cherry it’s a bit disappointing, but we don’t NEED it to make the sundae worth having in the first place. Once you dig in, you’ll forget all about the cherry and focus on the other delicious ingredients it had to offer.

Same with pageantry. While we may walk away feeling a bit empty handed without the crown and banner, when we look back at the entire experience, we realize that when we took the time to really enjoy being there, we didn’t need the crown and banner to be the queen we wanted to be. We can be her in a baseball cap and sweats if we want to.

Remember, just because it wasn’t won, doesn’t mean our job is done.

National American Miss

There is a pageant system out there that offers multiple chances for girls to get involved and have fun. Girls refer to themselves as NAM Girls and being part of the NAMily. (Read: National American Miss in Review)

Sound familiar? If not, it’s National American Miss. A system that was once home to Miss America titleholders and where many girls get their start in pageantry.

Want to be a NAM girl? Contact them today to find out how you can join the NAMily and get in on the themed rehearsals, confetti and glitter, optional contests, and Thanksgiving at Disneyland.


Going Forward

It is important to not focus on the crown and banner but why you are there to compete in the first place.

Did you get the sundae for the cherry or did you get it for the ice cream and all the toppings it had to offer?

Remember your why, savor the moments, don’t harp on the disappointments, and a positive attitude will make you scream in delight at all the memories you took away from just participating in the pageant to being with.

So dig in!

Good luck!

Which dress do you like better?

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