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What Happens At a National American Miss Open Call

national american miss, pageant interview, pageant tips
National American Miss Indiana

If you’re new to pageantry or new to National American Miss and you’re interested in competing, a National American Miss open call is a great opportunity to get all your questions answered before pageant weekend and get a sense of how the program operates.  The open call process is used by NAM to introduce you to the program and provide you with all the details you need to get started.  Best of all, these open calls are offered completely free!

National American Miss Open Call

National American Miss operates these open calls as their opportunity to learn more about potential contestants as well as a contestant’s opportunity to learn more about the “NAMily.”  According to Hoang-Kim Cung, the 2012-2013 National American Miss, “An open call is mainly an information session where parents and girls can find out what NAM is about, the process, and how much it costs.”  You’ll get a real taste of what the pageant is like with an interactive photoshoot as well as an interview, where the NAM staff will ask a few questions to learn about the contestant.

The Basics

You can expect for the open call to last around 45 minutes.  During that time, the young lady interested in competing will fill out an official application and attend her brief interview in addition to the photoshoot.  You’ll hear about might happen if you win, including the prizes and the exciting trip to California to compete for the national title, which includes a trip to Disneyland!

How to Prepare

If you are serious about competing, attend the open call as if it’s a preliminary job interview.  NAM considers these open calls like a screening process and you want to make a good impression.  Dress nicely and take care in filling out your paperwork.  Doing this will help you during the open call but also give you a small sense of what it will be like state pageant weekend if you qualify as a finalist.  If you do qualify as a state finalist, you will be informed about what to expect and how to prepare for your state level competition.

Benefits of Attending 

Attending an open call can go a long way towards building your confidence.  Since pageant weekend can feel like a whirlwind, being as prepared as possible heading into the pageant is crucial.  At a NAM open call, you’ll understand what NAM is all about, what kind of girls are successful as state and national titleholders, and gain confidence as you get your questions answered well before pageant weekend rolls around.  For more tips, Hoang-Kim Cung runs a Youtube channel with all kinds of NAM-specific info right here!


Which dress do you like better?

71 thoughts on “What Happens At a National American Miss Open Call

  1. I just got a letter and well I have no idea what this is. It sounds interesting but I don’t know what to do. Help. Please.

    1. Cassy, I work for the National American Miss organization and before that I even competed for several years. I recommend going to the open call. It’s very easy. You have an interview and you also learn a lot more about what the organization has to offer to help girls ages 4-18 reach their goals in life, whether you dream of being a model, actress, lawyer, doctor, etc. I’m not just saying this because I work for them either. I’m saying it from experience. It was a life changer for me! I was the shy girl that wouldn’t try anything new or talk to anyone I didn’t know and my self-confidence level was very low.

      1. Hey my names maria do I have to have that letter to attend the open call or can I jus registered an application and get a open call

        1. Hi Maria,

          You can actually contact them directly through our site by clicking “Contact National American Miss“. Just go here and click contact director

      2. hi i got the letter and its addressed to my mom. It says to her daughter but my mom has me and my sister. Who is it for?

        1. The letter can be used for both of you. One of the core marketing strategies for National American Miss is direct mailers like the one you received. They would be delighted to know that you and/or your sister are interested in competing in their system. I say that you both should go to the open call!

  2. I got a letter also, im not really sure if I should do it or not. I mean I would love to but im not sure my parents would have the money, would that be a problem?

  3. Carissa, I would recommend attending an open call if you can. As far as affording it, you definitely want to consider your budget. If you start now, you may be able to get sponsors to help you with your entry. These can be anyone- your hairdresser, dentist, etc. People can even chip in $5-$20 to help you with the sponsor fee. Attending an open call will help you get your questions answered, so I strongly recommend it!

  4. I received an invitation today and this is absolutely captivating to me. Thank you so much for the opportunity 🙂
    By the mere distribution of these letters, you are already (need I say it?) growing confidence.

  5. I just got a letter today. I always wanted to do this. My parents also said yes 🙂 But I was wondering, what are some type of questions they ask you at the Open calls? please let me know. thank You.

    1. Nafisa I’m hoping that Megan will jump on here to answer this one. She works at a lot of the casting calls so she would be an expert on this!

  6. Im attending the NAM Pageant, a first for us, any advice on casual wear?

    1. For casual wear, I recommend an outfit that has some kind of theme to it that she might wear to the first day of school. By theme I don’t mean a glitzy style outfit of choice. Maybe she goes with a common color theme. A cute outfit could be a dress, a nice top, jacket, and capris, or anything she feels confident in. It’s about her personality and she has to feel great in it!

  7. My daughter is 12, preteen

  8. Thanks Laura. Im trying to figure out how to use this site, any suggestions? I was trying to see how to get help with this part? We have so many ideas.I think Im over doing it.

  9. We have a search feature so you can view articles on specific topics. There’s a lot of advice here. For specific information, you might want to consider the VIP program which helps you pick the wardrobe, gives you paperwork feedback, etc. I think it’s a great concept to start with ideas and go from there, but you don’t want to overdo it. American Coed is a similar pageant and I’d recommend checking out their photographer’s Facebook page (Pageant Paparazzi) . They post photos from state and nationals and you could get some good ideas there as far as what flies in casual wear. The most important thing is that she loves the outfit and feels comfortable “working it”. Some girls might do a beach theme, a Kentucky derby theme, a night out on the town, etc! But many others have succeeded in doing a simple back to school style look. Also, American Coed live streams a fair amount of their weekend pageants, at least the ones directed by the national director. Typically, Saturday morning is for optionals, including their casual wear. You might want to add Patty Hawkins on Facebook to get the updates about when things are streaming: the site to watch is http://www.gocoed.com/live

    The walk is critical.

    1. How do they determine who will go to state after the open call?

  10. when is the next open call

  11. whens the next open call

  12. Hi, my name is Hayley and I have never heard of the National American Miss Pageant until today when I received the Open Call paper. I am 15 almost 16 and was wondering what type of things do the judges look for in the contestants and how many individuals from each state compete? I was also curious at how you decide who is a possible candidate for the pageant. I am very serious about this an would sincerely appreciate any and all imformation available . I feel as though this could be very beneficial for me and hope to be a formidable candidate.

  13. I got an invitation but I have misplaced it. Can I still attend the open call?

    1. yes! Just contact the national office

  14. My daughter has been invited to an Open Call Session. She is 8yrs old and really wants to participate. I have no idea how these things work. Is Namiss for real, hoax, or both? Please help!

    1. National American Miss is a highly reputable pageant in the industry. I get to see a lot of the inner workings of pageants and personally, it’s one of my favorites. How they will treat your daughter is first class.

      1. Thanks so much! We will definitely check it out Thursday night at Open Call Session.

  15. What should my daughter wear to open call?

  16. My daughter received a letter in the mail about a month ago. We decided to register for the open call and we attended yesterday February 22, 2015. It was very, very informative and very professionally done. My daughter was so excited and felt very confident. Her Mom (me) was the nervous one. Although we have done one other pageant and my daughter placed 2nd runner up I am still the parent that is very skeptical. But, I have to say after attending the session I felt very assured about the process and we are very excited. If we don’t make it this year as a contestant we will keep trying. Thank you to whomever referred my daughter. Now we sit and await the call in a week or so!!!

  17. Hi. My daughter was invited to open call on Sat and received a lovely call on test for the next step. We are now awaiting our letter. I wanted to find out before then when will she be.competing for state title. She’s 6.

  18. Error: predictor changed words. Should be “yest” as in yesterday…not test. Thanks

  19. My daughter just received a letter. She is only 7, and I don’t like for her to wear any makeup,is that a requirement? She really would like to do it but I am optimistic about it.

    1. Hi Jacquese,

      National American Miss doesn’t allow any of their younger contestants to wear makeup. In fact you get points deducted if you do. They are a really great organization and a lot of pageant girls, like Miss America 2015, got their start in this system.

  20. Hello I received a letter today I am Cuban i have five years in usa but I am not an expert in English that’s a problem

  21. This is crazy when I was on Facebook and seen this I click on it fast put in a application and less then 20 min I got a letter in the mail I don’t know if i was already chosen but I’m greatful and excited and can’t wait for the opening call I have so many questions

  22. So my daughter received a letter as well but she is only 5 do they have to pay the sponsors fee as well????

    1. Hi Sylithia,

      All girls that quality as a State Finalist for NAM have to pay the sponsor fee. NAM is for girls ages 4-20, as of January 1st so since your daughter is 5 should would need to pay the sponsor fee.

    2. Steven is right, but you can use any sponsors you want to help defray the cost. Pageant Planet has a lot of great articles about how to get sponsors, so I recommend you check those out so you can have someone else cover those expenses as much as possible! Businesses in your area that you already have a relationship with (nail salon, hairstylist, mechanic) are a great place to start the sponsor search!

  23. I got a letter in the mail, what does this mean?

    1. It means that National American Miss are asking you to join their pageant.

  24. I got a letter in the mail and i’m curious as to how. I’m also curious as to what I do witht his information from the letter

    1. National American Miss partners with several organizations to acquire mailing lists, which is a common practice in business. Look at the card and you’ll discover when the “show up” dates are. Here you’ll discover all that you need to know about the organization of National American Miss.

  25. How many girls are chosen in each category to compete for a state title? Our daughter was selected to compete so is this for a state title?

    1. They do not have any limitations on the amount of girls who can enter per age division.

  26. I got the Open Call invitation yesterday but I don’t really understand how this works. After Open Call, do all contestants go to the state pageant, or are just a few chosen? And does just going to the open call entail a cost? And do you have to go to the open call in order to go to the state pageant?
    By the way, I would be in the Jr. Teen division, and I live in Kentucky.

    1. Hi Sarah,

      The open call is free to attend. There is a small information setting and then an interview process that they do to make sure you want to compete. If you do want to compete then you will be invited to compete in the state pageant. No you don’t have to go to the open call to compete in the pageant but it’s a service that they provide to girls who are not familiar with their system.

  27. Why was I picked for this and how?

  28. Why can’t Jr.preteens were makeup?

    1. Hi Jaedon,

      It’s just their rules there is no specific reason other than that.

  29. Hi, my name is Sarah. My mom got a call today saying that I was accepted as a State Finalist after my open call. I am not sure what the next step is. Do they send my the info, or do I have to register? I file in the official application form at the open call, but I don’t know if there is more paperwork. Please help! Thanks. 🙂
    PS: State Finalist for Miss Kentucky Jr. Teen

  30. I really want to go to the open call but I’m having trouble finding a ride there. I don’t want to miss this opportunity because I really need something like this in my life I literally do nothing else. What should I do?

  31. I really want to go to the open call but I have no ride. I don’t want to miss this opportunity but I don’t know what do. Everything I try to do always backfires on me what should I do?

  32. I got an invatation and I am going to the open call but do you think you can tell me the possible cost? And why we need to pay?

  33. I got the open call letter today so the question is after I go to the open call and do all the work and then they say I’m 1 of the state finalist do I have to pay for the state finalist?? Or register

    1. You will need to pay to enter National American Miss.

  34. Ok so I’m DEFIDENTLY going to the open call but I’m not really sure what to wear!! Idk if I should wear my fav dress or my fav jeans ?!?! Witch would be a Better fit for the open call?

    1. You will see girls in both. I would suggest not to go too dressed up. Dress like you would on the first day back to school after being away for the summer.

  35. Hi, I just got my invitation today and the open call sessions for my city is tomorrow and I have work all weekend so I don’t know for sure if I will be able to go to the session. My session is at 5:30 and I have work from 6-9 p.m. I read the article above and it said that it will be like 45 minutes to complete everything. I’m not sure if I want to actually be apart of this pageant but I really would like more information on it. Would it be possible for me to meet with the director or whoever is in charge of this open call to see if I could come in earlier because I have to work at 6 and I don’t think that 30 minutes will be enough time for me to do everything. Thanks for all your help and it would be great if I could get a reply soon.

  36. My daughters got a letter today and 1 is 17 and 1 is 3 could my 3 year old still join if she got the letter ? And how soo does the sponsor fees have to be paid and do we need sponsors right away ?

    1. The 3 year old is too young for their system and your sponsorship money for National American Miss needs to be in by the deadline they give you. It’s state specific so you’ll need to consult with the paperwork that they give you.

  37. I received a letter in the mail today and i’m not really sure if it’s for me or my cousin. I was wondering how exactly do we get selected as a possible candidate, because both of us have never signed up for anything like this

    1. National American Miss, like most companies, purchase a mailing list, which is how they got your name. NAM is such a good organization that I recommend that both you and your cousin go try out.

  38. hi, i got a letter in the mail about a week or two ago. i have never done anything like this before but i am interested. i am not sure what all needs to be done in order to go to the open call. also, my friend would like to do this with me but she did not get a letter. what does she need to do to attend the open call with me this weekend?

  39. i got a letter in the mail about a week or two ago. i have never done anything like this before but i am interested. i am not sure what all needs to be done in order to go to the open call. also, my friend would like to do this with me but she did not get a letter. what does she need to do to attend the open call with me this weekend?

  40. Hello im maria and I got my letter today and I am so excited to go but I have lots of questions and I really don’t understand the letter, is the open call supposed to tell us how the pageant stuff works and I’ve never had a photo shoot so I really don’t know what to do there ether and what is the process when we get to the open call?

  41. Hello,
    I have received an open call letter and I don’t know why. I am too old for all of the age groups.

    1. Hi TT,

      If you’re too old for National American Miss then click here to find another pageant in your area that you can compete in.

  42. Will points get taken off if my 12 year old wear some powder for acne? Or when they say no makeup it better be no makeup!

  43. Can you please clarify something for me? I read that you don’t have to attend the Open Call to be selected for State. So basically, during the interview, if the candidate expresses interests in competing, then they are an automatic State finalist? Or you could skip the judge-free Open Call & just pay the sponsor fee to compete in the State pageant? Does this pretty much sum it up?

    1. Hi Brenna,

      The Open Call is an information setting to help you gain more knowledge on National American Miss. During the open call they interview you just to make sure that you really want to compete and that your mom isn’t making you do it. They really only want girls who want to do it.

      Regardless if you go to the open call or not you can still register for National American Miss and compete at state but they do not consider you a state finalist unless you receive a certain placement at state.

      National American Miss really is a great system. I personally know the national directors and they are great human beings. You’re in good hands with them.

  44. I just got an invitation today. My sister has done a pageant before although after talking to her. I’m not sure if I want to do this. I would like to try for the experience. Even though I have never done anything like this. what do I do?

    1. I say go for it. In life I’ve always regretted more the things that I have not done.

  45. My daughter has competed at NAM three years before (including one trip to All-American nationals) and we are headed back to state this year. We first were introduced to NAM at an Open Call. A few words of advice:

    1) NAM is won in Interview and Introduction. They count for 60% of your total score at state, so you will want to have a strong Personal Introduction and great interview skills. Your introduction should be no longer than 30 seconds at the state level and contain your name, where you’re from, your ambition(s) and something unique about yourself. There are quite a few great coaches who will help you write a great intro. Then practice, practice, practice! I don’t work for Pageant Planet, but they DO offer free interview practice questions, so I’d definitely sign up for them. You will need to be well-spoken, articulate, polite and engaging to do well.

    2) Your gown doesn’t need to cost a fortune. My daughter placed in the Top 5 at state in 2015 in a used dress we paid $100 for. Just make sure you follow the rules in the Magazines you will be sent. And by follow the rules, I mean TO THE LETTER. There’s a walk pattern that you will be taught during pageant weekend. Just be sure that whatever shoes you plan on wearing pageant weekend you are COMFORTABLE wearing and walking in them.

    3) Get started doing community service yesterday. It’s something you should be doing anyway and it’s required at the national level.

    4) Open Call and State Check-In: Look like you are ready for the job as brand ambassador for National American Miss. You will be meeting their choreographers, reigning royalty, state directors and more (judges may even be present). Look polished and professional and AGE APPROPRIATE above all.

    5) Sponsor Fees: Start saving NOW if you are even the slightest bit interested in attending state. Even if you are only saving a few dollars a week, it can add up. Check out the articles here on getting sponsors. One of the young ladies who represents Orlando, Florida had bake sales to fund her trip to nationals in 2016. You CAN do it if you get creative and plan ahead. NAM isn’t cheap, but neither is Miss America and NAM is absolutely on par with MAO. NAM is a first class production and it shows. As someone who has planned events in the past (including international modeling competitions with over 1000 models), I can tell you that what you pay to enter barely scratches the surface of what you are actually getting in production value, staffing and more.

    There’s a reason that NAM girls recompete the system: each girl is treated so well and all the staff, directors, queens and family are so kind. There’s a reason they call it NAMily. Because once you are part of the NAM family, you always are. When we went to nationals in 2015, I was completely blown away. It was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. We had an amazing time and we will never forget it.

    Depending on which state you compete, you may find yourself in a LARGE group. You will need to stand out. Just make sure you do it in a GOOD way. We compete in Central Florida and we regularly have over 100 girls in an age group. Sometimes more. The year my daughter made Top 5 in Preteen, there were almost 160 girls in her group. Central Florida tends to be the exception rather than the rule. But the advice to stand out still stands.

    I know this is a long post, but hopefully it helps someone. 🙂 There’s a great facebook group for NAM Pageant Moms and everyone there is SUPER helpful. They offer a lot of insight into competition, optionals and more.

    I personally know girls who’ve never competed in pageants before and won the state pageant because they were well-prepared and followed the rules to the letter.

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