15 Pageant Tips To Win Your Competition (For Beginners Too)

pageant tips

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Competing in a beauty pageant, a school pageant, a swimsuit pageant, or even a fitness competition can be a life-changing experience. But to confidently slay your competition (especially as a beginner or if it’s your first pageant), it helps to have some winning insight.

Have an upcoming pageant competition? Worry not beauty. The following pageant tips and tricks will help you place among the top contestants and perhaps win that pageant!

Pageant tips from my own experience.

At the age of 15, I competed in my very first pageant and won the title of Miss Teen Florida Caribbean. I’ve since competed in a number of beauty pageants including on the international level. In nearly all of these competitions, I’ve place among the top 2, snagged the title and crown, and/or received top sectional prizes.

You can bet that over the years I’ve learned a thing or two about competing successfully in a pageant. To help you along on your own journey, I’ve put together some pageant tips I hope you’ll find insightful.

1. Stay on top of things and take initiative.

pageant tips

In addition to having a queen who is beautiful on the inside and out, organizers also want a queen that they don’t have to babysit and who will take initiative in different situations. Make sure you know the agenda for the competition and follow it diligently. This means getting your application and forms in on time, being punctual for all events (including practice), and communicating effectively with the organizers at all times.

RELATED: Fashion Pass Review — Revamp Your Wardrobe With This Monthly Clothing Subscription

Additionally, it is your responsibility to know the pageant’s rules inside and out —what you can wear, how long you have for the interview, what is allowed and not allowed throughout the competition, etc.  If you don’t know something, ask the pageant director who is there to help you along with the other contestants!  

Get yourself a proper planner like this one on Amazon to help you organize your time and keep track of the tasks that need to be completed.

2. Get your mindset on point.

pageant tips

Having a positive mindset is perhaps one of the best pageant tips to embrace!  Yes, some competitors are indeed gorgeous and have outstanding resumes but that doesn’t mean they have it in the bag. Oftentimes, it not the prettiest or most accomplished girl that walks away with the crown…

Believe in yourself and your ability to succeed.  Don’t think negatively about what might happen, you will only be sabotaging your efforts from the very beginning.  If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else? Furthermore, no matter what the outcome, there is always an opportunity to learn from the experience, gain knowledge and/or make a new friend or two.

The audiobook You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero is excellent to help you develop and maintain a strong, confident mindset. It’s also very entertaining!

3. Get your looks on point — teeth and skin.

pageant tips

Truth be told, you don’t have to be extraordinarily gorgeous to win a pageant — even a beauty pageant. Keep in mind that the judges and organizers are likely looking for a well-rounded woman who is the total package from the inside out. With that said, it is still very important that from head to toe you carry yourself well and that you look your personal best.

RELATED: 19 Iconic Pageant Hairstyles Sure To Steal The Show

A part of presenting yourself well and looking your personal best is paying attention to the details. Details such as your body, your skin, your nails, and your teeth.

To get your teeth together (quite literally), I highly recommend Candid — a company that provides clear aligners to affordably straighten your teeth. Sephora, of course, is super clutch to get all your skincare needs. My favorite thing at Sephora to rescue your skin fast is this entire line by Sunday Riley (you can get it here too on Amazon).

4. Learn how to do your makeup properly.

pageant tips

With all the free resources available on Youtube, in 2022 and beyond, there literally no excuse to not know how to contour or apply lashes.  If you are new to makeup, learn the basics before competing. Eye makeup can make or break your look and it’s definitely worth taking some time to practice beforehand.

Planning to wear fake lashes for your big day? You should definitely practice applying those babies before the show too!  It’s much better to spend a few hours practicing and perfecting your look than getting just minutes before you’re about to walk on stage.

As for hair, I recommend religiously binge-watching all the hair gurus and wig gurus on Youtube to learn some great tips and tricks. One little hack I wish I would have known during my pageant days is turning a lace front wig into a V part wig. I’ve been doing this recently with synthetic wigs like this one on Amazon, and OMG, gamechanger!

5. Plan your wardrobe details for every preliminary event.

Packing and organizing my wardrobe for Miss Grand International

You will need just the right combination of outfits to wear throughout the competition, so it’s important that you plan them strategically. During the course of many pageant competitions, you will participate in different preliminary events. When I competed in Miss Grand International, for example, we met with dignitaries, visited with sponsors, and the like.

A pageant tip that I found really helpful was to pre-plan my outfit and organize my outfit for every single event and section them together in my suitcase. This included shoes, accessories, even how I’d wear my hair and make-up for each outfit too.

Need help refining your closet full of clothes? Be sure to check out my free wardrobe course available on Skillshare. If you’re truly ready to take your image to the next level, snag The Capsule Wardrobe Formula Workbook to transform your wardrobe the right way.

6. Save money by renting your wardrobe (as opposed to buying).

pageant interview outfit

Having a chic and fabulously stylish wardrobe can be quite costly and not something that everyone has in their budget. Especially if you want, of course, high-quality items that fit well and look great on you too. One of the best beauty pageant tips for first-time competitors on a budget is to rent at least some of your wardrobe.

To avoid putting yourself into a major expense, one invaluable beauty pageant tip I recommend using a clothing rental subscription service such as Rent the Runway to get high-quality stylish pieces for a fraction of the cost. In my last competition, I used Rent the Runway to borrow a beautiful bright pink two-piece pant set for my preliminary interview. I also used the service to get all my outfits for the different preliminary events.

I also recently discovered Fashion Pass, a similar clothing rental subscription service that may be worth checking out as well.

RELATED: Rent The Runway Review — Discover If This Clothing Rental Membership Is Worth It

Get 40% OFF your first month with Rent The Runway when you use THIS REFERRAL LINK to sign up. Additionally, take $15 OFF when you use the Fashion Pass promo code BOMBSHELL to sign up.

7. Keep your wardrobe classy and modest.

pageant tips

Although we live in a very casual culture in terms of how we dress day to day, how we speak to one another, and even how we conduct ourselves as women… a pageant is certainly the time and place to step up your game!

Unless during a pageant you’re specifically asked to dress down, jeans and sneakers should not be in your wardrobe whatsoever. Every time you step out during your pageant competition, you should be dressed your very best from head to toe.

Oh, and keep it modest too — if it’s a bit too tight, questionably short, or you’d wear it to a nightclub, think twice if it’s appropriate for a pageant.

8. Practice your on stage perfermance with your final night wardrobe.

pageant tips

Stage presentation is an aspect of competition that can really set you apart from the other girls. It’s the way a girl commands all eyes on her with the confidence she exudes and the sparkle in her eyes.

A great way of recognizing stage presence is by watching video clips of past competitions and watching for that girl you just can’t take your eyes off of. Watch the girls in the top 20 in the swimsuit and evening gown segment of the competition. Among some former pageant contestants with fabulous stage presence are Dayana Mendoza (Miss Universe 2008, Winner – watch here) Yendi Philips (Miss Universe 2010, First Runner Up – watch here), Zozibini Tunzi (Miss Universe 2019, Winner – watch here).

9. Choose pageant shoes that you can confidently walk in.

jenaae competing in miss jamaica universe beauty pageant

One of the best pageant tips to kill it on stage during your competition is to wear shoes that you can really strut your stuff in. The right pageant shoes will allow you to walk with the utmost confidence throughout every step of your competition.

I put together a list of the best pageant shoes that I personally recommend. I’ve included a few beauty pageant tips on shoes and choosing the right ones for you too.

10.Practice for your interview.

hobbies for women

The pageant interviews (both with the judges and on stage) are perhaps the most important segments to win a pageant. This is where the crown and title are often won or lost. Because even in a “beauty” pageant competition, the judges and organizers want a queen that is likable, well-spoken, and attractive on the inside and out.

A great way to prepare for your pageant interviews is by simply practicing. To help you along, I put together a pretty extensive list of the top pageant interview questions and a few beauty pageant tips you can use to practice for your interview.

11. Try different hair styles prior to competition.

Pageant hair is a very important aspect of your entire look during a competition. A helpful pageant tip is to practice different hairstyles on yourself before the final night to help you decide what will be your final pageant do.

While big bouncy curls are typical “pageant hair”, that doesn’t mean that you need to wear your hair this way. In fact, in my opinion, it may even be a little outdated. Instead of following the crowd, choose instead to wear a hairstyle that best suits you. That may mean pin-straight hair with a middle part. That may mean a sleek chignon bun. That may even mean an afro like Davina Bennett (Miss Universe 2017, First Runner Up) or no hair at all like Zozibini Tunzi (Miss Universe 2019, Winner).

12. Know how to do your own hair and make up.

pageant tips

For many competitions, professional hair and makeup artists are often on-site for the final night of the competition. This however can not be depended on. Because the truth is, even for big-budget competitions, many times the organizers will work with beauty schools to provide make-up services for the contestants.

While the makeup school students or graduates may be very talented, you also want to be able to handle yourself in the event that they’re not. And with all the chaos backstage sometimes there’s not enough time to get everyone’s makeup done perfectly to their liking. You always want to make sure that you can put yourself together if need be.

13. Make friends with your competitors.

Even if you go on to compete in other pageant competitions, you will never again compete with the same group of girls. There’s no need to be bitchy or catty with the other girls — it’s also a bad look. Work together if need be. Help each other. It won’t put you in a worse off position to help another girl. And it’s not uncommon at all to meet lifelong friends in a pageant competition.

14. The organizers and judges are always watching.

pageant tips

Even when you think no ones is watching because you’re not on stage or you’re in an informal environment, always act as if the judges and organizers are watching — because trust me, they are.

A great pageant tip to keep in mind is to always carry yourself like the queen. The same is true for how you conduct yourself on social media.

15. Have fun!

pageant tips

Besides the fact that competing in a pageant will help you improve yourself inside and out, it’s also meant to be a fun experience. Yes, it’s a competition, but the fact is there can only be one winner. And whether or not that is you, you want to walk away having learned, perhaps made some friends, and created fond memories.

With that said, take the competition seriously, but also don’t forget to have fun and enjoy yourself!


Beauty pageants are highly competitive. Pageants aren't only about what you look like; they're also about personality and how well you can perform in front of an audience. Here are some resources to help you win your next competition, from beauty pageant tips to pageant interview questions to pageant shoe suggestions to pageant interview clothing and gowns.

Pageant Tips Takeaway

It goes without saying that you want to be the best version of yourself for life. Competing in a pageant is a great way to challenge yourself and improve in a variety of different aspect of life. I hope you found these pageant tips and beauty pageant tips helpful and insightful.

Have some pageant tips or insights of your own? Drop them down in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.

  • Who ever started for Competition in a beauty pageant need to learn motivation. And not only a beginners above tips useful for every pageant MEMBER.

  • Terry Jessop says:

    I have been a judge for many years. Often, I am looking for great posture on and off of the stage. I appreciate a contestant that speaks loudly and confidently without pauses. This is an example of confidence in action. A contestant that makes a mistake or stumbles, but is able to pick herself up and make the best of the situation is definitely a plus. Practice going up and down stairs in high heels while holding your head up helps display confidence as well. Terry Jessop 801-889-0929 Utah.

  • precious leonard says:

    Thanks so much
    Learnt a lot

  • Agwor Merit says:

    I love your smile and your pictures I will like to watch your pageant in full

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