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Should you Wear Makeup to Pageant Rehearsals?

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The 2017 Miss America contestants rehearse together on stage. Photo courtesy of the Miss America Organization.

It is 6 a.m., the week of your big pageant, and here you are strutting your best swimsuit walk on stage at rehearsals while wearing heels, yoga pants and a long sweater. The only thing on your mind (other than perfecting your poses) is that much-needed grandé chai tea latte.

The question is, should you be wearing makeup to your rehearsal? If so, should you be wearing a full, pageant competition ready face?

Never fear, I have interviewed a top director to find the answer to this never-ending question.

Should you Wear Makeup to Pageant Rehearsals?

The first thing you should figure out is if the rehearsals are open or closed. Open rehearsals are open not only to members of the pageant board but also to parents and possibly even judges.

Closed rehearsals are closed to any public members and are only available to directors, members of the board, assistants and pageant contestants.

If your rehearsals are open, you should absolutely have makeup on. This does not have to be a full stage level of makeup with heavy contouring and false eyelashes, but it at least should be appropriate for a day appearance or interview.

Not only will this help you feel confident during rehearsals, but you’ll also leave a lasting impression if any judges happen to be watching. (For ideas to help your rehearsal outfits appear on point, read: 5 Comfortable Rehearsal Outfits from Miss America 2017.)

If your rehearsals are closed, this is where things become a little questionable. As a seasoned pageant competitor, I would personally never want to be at a rehearsal without at least foundation, blush and mascara. However, some girls are just as confident without any makeup on.

Think about the first impression you want to make to other contestants and to your director. You want to come off as polished, put-together, and as a serious contender for the title at hand. It is more difficult to appear ready for the job if you don’t put your best self forward.

In general, the answer to this age-old question is essentially a big YES, wear makeup to all of your rehearsals, no matter the time of day.

That being said, there is ONE exception. Most pageants will have a rehearsal the morning of the pageant (preliminaries and final competitions). If you have a makeup artist coming to do your face AFTER the morning rehearsal, then by all means, you can attend this rehearsal bare-faced.

Laura Hunter of Beyond Photography, who was also Ms. America International 2014 and the current director of Ms. World, had this to say on the matter.

“Yes, I do think a contestant should have at least a business appropriate amount of make-up on at all rehearsals, with the exception of the final rehearsal when they generally need to have hair in curlers and a fresh face is required for the make-up artist,” Hunter said. (For the best hair curlers for pageantry, read: The Best Hot Rollers for Your Hair Type)

The biggest thing to keep in mind was artfully said by Laura when I asked her about why contestants should wear makeup to rehearsals.

“Assuming there are no judges present and the directors are not a part of the final decision, I would still always wear make up and have my hair done nicely in order to bolster my own confidence,” Hunter said. “It’s hard not to lose self-confidence when you’re at rehearsals looking plain and other contestants look polished.”

What do you think? Have you ever attended a pageant rehearsal bare-faced? What is your opinion? Leave it in the comments section below!

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