We’re continuing our Thursday blog schedule (with podcasts now only on Tuesdays) with the same theme we spoke about last week – Dealing With Pageant Crap. In case you missed it, you can check it out here… That’s where I officially offer my apologies for using the phrase “pageant crap” – and why I decided to tackle this topic in the first place. 🙂
Last week, we jumped in the deep end of the pool and talked about Pageant Coaching. Today, I’m going to expand on that theme a bit today, by talking about “Pageant Advice”.
In case you didn’t know it already… Pageants are pretty confusing places to take advice… Let me explain…
Pageantry is weird.
Most of us in the pageant world don’t think about it (because we have wonderfully fond memories related to pageantry), but honestly – If you’re over the age of 10 when you see your first pageant, it’s pretty strange.
That’s why new pageant contestants usually rely on the advice of folks who are “in the know”. In fact, I would venture to say VERY FEW contestants ever walk into a pageant without taking advice from someone (at the very least, from their mom or a friend…).
But it’s not the AMOUNT of advice you receive that makes you successful in pageants… Rather, it’s your ability to filter through the advice you get, that determines your ability to succeed.
Here’s what I mean…
– When it comes to advice, Pageant People have it in SPADES! LOL! Trust me – If you want it – You’ll NEVER be short on advice when it comes to pageantry! I’ve seen the spotlight guy, the choreographer, and even the ticket-takers offer their thoughts and opinions to a specific contestant on her performance – despite the fact that she never asked for such! If you’re in a pageant, there’s already advice waiting in the lobby about your next performance!
– At the same time, contestants are being told, “No coaching! Paid or un-paid – doesn’t matter – Don’t accept any advice (which is coaching) from anyone except your local director/team! You need to listen to them only!”
– And finally – if you’ve ever met a state titleholder (or listened to any of our Pageant Junkies Podcasts), more often than not, you’ll hear that contestant say something along the lines of, “When I was finally true to myself – that’s when I was able to win the title.”
Dear Lord! lol! Think about it! That’s a pretty confusing set of messages being heaped upon young women in pageantry today! No wonder so many young women hit the stage looking like a dear in the headlights (with too much bling and killer mascara)!
Therefore – if I may, let me simplify all of these messages and bring them together in a manner that even the greenest pageant rookie can understand… Here we go…
- DON’T ACCEPT ADVICE FROM EVERYONE! Yes, you need to be polite and learn how to appropriately respond to unwanted feedback from people who are offering their two cents (Trust me – mastering this skill will take you FAR beyond your pageant days – you’ll thank me later)… But you also need to know that you DO NOT need to take inventory of every piece of advice you hear. Just because 3 people think you should tap dance and 5 people think you should do a jazz dance, it does not mean you automatically do the jazz dance. It’s not about the amount of advice you receive – it’s about the person offering you the advice.
- FIND AN EXPERT – WITH A TRACK RECORD! Finding an expert these days is pretty easy… Just google “dog expert” or “laundry expert” and you might laugh at what you find! Being a self-declared “expert” doesn’t mean squat. What you need is someone who has previously guided pageant contestants like you, into success. If your local director has a pretty good track record – Then listen to them! If your hairdresser does not have a similar track record – Then don’t! It’s as simple as that!
- BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR! One of the hardest things to do in life (not just in pageantry), is to ask someone you respect for their honest opinion, and then to listen to their answer, without getting defensive. It’s part of the human condition to “explain why” we do what we do… Why our actions were taken out of context – or why that person’s perception is off-base. It takes a great deal of maturity to listen to feedback and then make the decision to adjust your actions. It’s easy to say, “that’s just who I am” — The hard part is deciding that you want to pull out the potential you have inside of you, in order to become more than you are right now.
- BE YOURSELF! If you are going to take advice from someone, MAKE SURE that person is encouraging you to be MORE of who you already are. The greatest state and local directors are amazing people because they’re not molding young ladies into carbon copies of their most recent queen – Instead, they’re bringing out the best in every new titleholder they have! Working with someone who knows how to bring out the best in LOTS of different ladies – verses working with someone who only knows how to “mold you” into what the judges want – is a HUGE advantage! Know the difference! And don’t ignore someone’s who’s good at developing young women (’cause you’ll be sorry you did… Guaranteed!).
- GET OUT OF YOUR OWN HEAD! In an effort to “be yourself” – it’s super easy to try to act like the person you think you should be (i.e. – I’m a small town girl, but they always crown big-city contestants, so i’m going to be more like them). In reality, what makes you unique, are the things that only you have to offer. Don’t try to change yourself because of what you see being rewarded. Study what character traits the winners have – not what color of hair they have. Learn the patience and humility that comes from trial and error – instead of walking around with a ‘puffed-up confidence’ that’s completely transparent on stage. Don’t “try to be”… Just relax… And BE. YOU. It’s harder than it looks – which is why is gets rewarded so often!
And there you have it! Another round of “Pageant Poo – Part II” deciphered for those who wish to take my advice. 🙂
Do you have further questions about pageant coaching/advice? Do you agree or disagree with this post? Feel free to comment below or email me at Thepageantjunkies@gmail.com – either way, I’d love to hear from you!