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How to Market Yourself in Pageant Interview

2014-2015 National American Miss Queens in Interview Attire - Photo: NAM
2014-2015 National American Miss Queens in Interview Attire – Photo: NAM

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines marketing as “The process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.”

Carey Lakey, creator of the iTunes Pageant Junkies podcast and Pageant Junkies University, defines your pageant brand as “What people think about when they think about you.”

Combine the two together and voilà! Marketing yourself in pageant interview means selling your pageant brand to the judges. Marketing your pageant brand successfully will give you skills applicable in many areas of your life and career, and will ultimately show the judges why you are clearly fit for the crown. (Read: How to Use Your Job to Win the Crown)

Step #1: Know Your Pageant Brand

According to Carey Lakey, your pageant brand is what helps you to ace the interview, but it is built outside of the interview room and is not based on the actual brands that you’re wearing. Your pageant brand is “What people think about when they think about you,” says Carey.

Your pageant brand is essentially the pageant winner portion of yourself. It needs to be you, but the most polished, put-together version of you, and the part of you that is driven to make a change. The biggest obstacle to achieving a winning pageant brand comes from the inside. According to Grant Cardone, motivational speaker and New York Times best-selling author, “If you’re worried about overselling yourself, the problem is you’re not sold on you.”

Before you can ever begin to sell your pageant brand to the judges, you need to be convinced that you can do the job. What motivates you beyond the biggest prizes that anyone could offer you in pageantry? Figure out what that is.

“Think of Red Bull, Dove, or Chipotle, the most successful brands know themselves: their purpose, mission, and values,” says Sharon Napier, CEO of advertising agency Partners + Napier. For your pageant brand to be successful, you need to know these things about yourself too. Know your purpose. Know your mission. Know your values.

Step #2: Show Don’t Tell

Just like in any good job interview, you want to make your pageant resume come to life. The judges have seen you on paper. They know your accomplishments. Now show them what that looks like.

Tell a story to bring each of your main points to life. Have a story behind your platform, have a story about what motivates you, and have a story behind other key points that show up on your resume. Each story should be engaging, but straight to the point. Your pageant interview slot is limited so it’s important to take the time to share who you are through stories, but it’s equally as important to stay on task and not to waste time with unimportant details.

This also goes for character traits. If they ask you about your best quality, don’t just tell them that you’re responsible, tell them a story about a time when you demonstrated that characteristic. Beyond this, you also want to show the judges your game plan. Don’t tell them what you plan to do if you win, show them what you’re already doing and will continue to do regardless of whether or not you win the crown. (Read: How to Win Over a Pageant Coach Judge in Interview)

Step #3: Stick the Landing

In gymnastics, a challenging stunt can be executed with incredible skill, but if the landing isn’t clean it will be reflected in the scores. The same is true in pageantry. You can have a fantastic first impression and can engage with the judges on an emotional level, but if you don’t leave on the right note, it will cost you in interview.

If you are allowed a closing statement in your interview, make sure that you know your key points each in a succinct enough manner that you can communicate in this time whatever point they haven’t asked you about already. Especially in these last minutes, don’t give them any reason not to pick you. Just because you’ve built up great rapport with the judges, does not mean that if they ask about weaknesses you should disclose something pertaining to the job.

If they do ask about your weaknesses, be honest that you have them, but answer with something that won’t interfere with any of the titleholder duties, and share the steps that you’ve taken to overcome it.

Lastly, remember to remind the judges who you are. As Cardone says, “Tell them you’re extraordinary. Tell them you’re great. Tell them you can make a difference.”

Now go out there and ace your pageant interview. Good luck!

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