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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Pageants- 12 Tips for survival including fashion tape

As pagents are coming up, as a former contestant I'd like to add my pageant survival tips. Last year at Miss Universe Canada I saw ladies who worked hard, top contendors knocked off points because of silly mistakes easily avoiable, so here is my list of basic stuff to avoid at pageants and what you need. At Miss Earth this also applies Like Fashion tape. I am not revealing my secrets, just helping with 101 issues so that everyone can have a level playing field. Remember, I am not telling you how to be a good skier, but how to avoid the trees. A great skiier doesn't dwell on trees 100% of time, but thinks of it 5% of the time not to ski into them and lose their place. So here is the list:

#1 you need lots of fashion tape. I have seen wardobe malfunctions cost young ladies points. Even for swimsuit: bring fashion tape or go home.

#2 If you have a dress that twirls, make sure its tight until thumb length back and front and then flares. If not you can us a crynoline or netted fabric in skin colour to hold the slit together. If it doesn't twirl, it should have fashion tape on both sides of the slit. Please, we do not want to lose the next Canadian future Miss Universe, Miss Earth or Miss World because her bum showed. Also, stick fashion tape to both edges of your bra for good luck. If you are doing a dance routine with a bikini, there is a chance the bussom may fall out, so please please please fashion tape.

#3 Fashion tape

#4 Your looks get you to the top 20, but brains and heart get you past that. We even saw super intelligent Miss Indonesia not make the cut at Miss Universe, Debra Henry who was brilliant. The organizers argued that so was Miss Phillipines, Shamcey Supsup who had all As, however its a beauty contest. Its about internal and external beauty. Not external beauty with no internal beauty, and not internal beauty with no external beauty. They are looking for a balance. That means for example, you need to know what looks good on and off stage.

Masacara off stage, false eyelashes on stage, and long big hair with hair extensions, and put on curlers +mouse for volume until your stylist finishes your look. Non-organic hair products are evil and have made my hair fall out. I stick to organic, best mousse is Giovanni, so go to an organic store and get it there. I prefer the Prairie Naturals line or Hydra. I use the Chinook one and my hair went from thin and dead to poofy, thicker, soft, happy and shiny.

Learning how to style your hair, what hair colour, make up, works best for you is a plus. See I am not revealing my secrets, but you figure out your own. Every winner has something that works for her.

#5 Please don't be that girl that loses the crown because she gives a silly answer. And the girls that look silly on stage often have a university diploma and a job but just got nervous and said something dumb. That is the sad part. There is this thing that should be a law that if you join the pageant, you must join this organization. It's called toastmasters. They have Table Topics - which is like pageant judges throwing questions at you. Please find a toastmasters near you and join to survive. and

What I also learned at toastmasters is how to speak. PRESS Method. You repeat question the speaker asks you to make sure you understood it and gives you time to think. RPEP I call it. Repeat question. Point. (make your point). Example or two example to sport your point. Repeat your point. RPEP. Repeat Question. Point. Example. Point.

How do you prepare for questions so that you don't look like an idiot on stage? I am not saying how to look smart, I am not revealing my secrets, just how not to look bad. You have to practice. How? You practice? Yes. Girls spend all the time practicing runway and no time practicing public speaking which is why we have embarassing videos of pageant girls like Miss Teen North Carolina. If she had just practiced a little and didn't understand the question, she wouldn't have answered like that. Its not that pageant girls are dumb, like the stereotype, as we are far more likely to have a university degree than the general population! How does a valedictorian go on stage and sound like that? No matter how smart you are or even if you are Einstien, if you haven't practiced public speaking, you'll get stage fright on stage and sound like someone stripped half of your IQ off you. Even if you are the valedictorian at Oxford, you can sound like a valley girl from Clueless on stage without practice.

How to practice? Very simple. There is a magic website. Go to Click on news. Read that. Women, you have university degrees, you are at the top of your class, so this should be easy. Canadian articles are written at 8th grade level, American at 5th grade level. If English is not your first nor second language, I do recommend to try reading an American article before copying the link of the article, pasting it on google translate and clicking it.

The other questions you'll be asked is about women, have they advanced, etc. The answer is women own less than 1% of the world's resources but perform 70% of the world's labour so now. For some reason many pageant contestants think there is gender equality. For that there is a magic website. Women's earnings to men's. In Canada its women earn 70% of what men earn. Women in parliament? 22% in Canada, 16% in the US. About 2% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. Read about "pink jobs" . We have advanced, and there is room for growth, and you will hope to change the world and make it a better place by .....(your contribution). The best book on gender for pageants is Unveiling the Breath by Donna Kennedy-Glans that talks about gender issues around the world. "Legal Rights Doesn't Guarntee Gender Equality" by the same author is a great read. She won the Conservative nomination for Calgary-Varsity to run for parliament, but is writes what anyone across the political spectrum can appreciate.

If you are in Miss Earth read up on the evils of Monsanto. via google. Go to twitter search and type #environment. On google news type environment. Judges are not looking for Miss Current Affairs. They just want to see if you sound intelligent. When reading an article, at the end, formulate any opinion on it, and begin the press system. RPEP. Write the mini speech on a piece of paper. Look at the mirror and do it. Be passionate about it. I won't give more tips but this is just basic. Canadian pageant girls I met are all very intelligent. However, outside pageants I saw many intelligent people sound not bright at all by going on camera un-rehersed. Your speech shouldn't be over-prepared, you just have to stop being a camera/stage virgin and get comfortable. Its a matter of getting the hang of being yourself on stage. That is also why you wear false eyelashes, wear warm tones -- so people see you from a distance the way you are if you were next to them. That is also why you don't wear stage make up to an interview.

Finally and importantly, the platform. Why are you in this pageant? What good are you going to give society. Prancing around in a pretty dress is pretty vain if you ask me or most Canadians (including some who will be your judges), unless you have a cause. It doesn't matter what your cause is, along as its a good cause, will help society and that you are sincere about it. For example 80% of Canadians donate to charity but only 50% recycle. A cause is to to get your neighbors to recycle, and see if they can get 4 people to recycle and go on twitter, and show pictures and brag about it. Monitor each other once each week. Keep doing this for several weeks, go on twitter and get some enthusiasm for it. Use #cdnpoli as a hashtag as its the most popular Canadian politics hastag or #environment. If you got 4 people to recycle as a result of you being in the pageant, that is incredible! You got people to donate to the food bank or a women's shelter! Awesome. Got kids to stop bullying? Volunteered to help your community and made a difference? Awesome!

Read everything you need to know about your platform and make speeches about it. Remember press method. make them infront of your friends, neighbors, cat dog, boyfriend, etc. until they run away. You need to practice a 1 minute elevator speech about your platform and a 3 minute one. Everything you read will come in handy. Have it written down before the pageant and take it with you. Practice once before the judging. Remember you won't recite it like it is but with the RPEP method and practice you will sound cogent and not like Miss Teen North Carolina. Why practice? Your friend should be an "uh um + and counter" Pause instead of saying filler words. They do not look bright. (See Miss Teen Carolina). If you do not know an answer, revert back to marketing your platform so you relate your platform to the question. "What do you think of the US invading Iran" (your plaform is for example is reducing oil spills) "Thank you for the excellent question. I am more an authority on the environmental impact on oil spills. I think as an invasion would use bombs and weapons, that this certainly would have an negative impact on the envirnoment, and Iran being in an oil producing region, this could increase oil spills, so the negative environmental impact should be considered before going to war." (In this example, the girl doesn't even know where Iran is but it sound smart, right. She might not be bright, but read up and studied her platform. The key is not know everything but sound presentable)

#6 Remember looks: LOOKING HEALTHY IS WHAT PAGEANTS ARE ALL ABOUT. Miss USA was expected to possibly win Miss Universe. Then she went on this salad diet which would make her desirable to the fashion industry in New York but really, in a bikini it made her look thin and unhealthy compared to the other girls even if she was thin and healthy. Yes she made top twenty but didn't make top 5. Health is beauty in most cultures around the globe. Pageant judges are not an expection to this rule. You have to have a healthy look. That is why actual Silicon breast implants don't look attractive as we are immediately reminded of their correlation with cancer. I have nothing against plastic surgery, but seriously unlike fat injections into the breast, silicon implants do pose a high cancer risk, thus look unhealthy and unattractive. But push up bras are sexy and extremely healthy because you don't insert anything into your body. Hence, this is what should be used instead to enhance the bust: However, remember if you have ribs showing, adding a bust will not look real whether its implants or padding. Eat, look healthy.

#7 Look healthy. Very important is to excercise using weights. We all have either a little bit of a belly or a little pocket of fat somewhere, even at size 0 that shows if you are in a bikini and don't excercise. It might be the entire unexcercised body. You could be size 10 and excercise like Marylin Monroe and look much better than a size 0-2 girl who neglects her body. Do 50 crunchs, 25 to each size, every other day. Use weights on the arms, and alternate. Excercise the bum by carrying weights while going up and down stairs. Half an hour of excercise every other day will keep the judge at bay. If you can do one hour of runway practice, one hour of excercise.

#8 Runway practice is key. Dayana Mendoza might not have the perfect features of Natali Glebova (both Miss Universe winners). However, Dayana tore the stage on fire when she walked so that nobody could remember anyone else for years. If you are of shorter height or have something you are concerned about, a killer walk does compensate. But when you smile think of something that makes you happy from the heart. Fake smiles are very annoying and a turn off. Aren't you happy to be on stage? Isn't this exciting! Let your happiness shine through.

#9 So they look for the whole package, beautiful, smart, presentable on runway, and has a golden heart. You should sincerely want to help others (hence your platform) and be a good person. 99% of pageant girls are, but there is always this one girl, one girl who thinks she can walk over her competition. I saw them go far, but never saw a single one of them win. Judges ask around. They want a decent person. At the end of the day, when the pageant is over, even if you win, the only things you take out of it are how your charitable work helped, how you grew as a person and mainly the network of friends you have developed. Most girls say the most important was the network of friends they developed from the pageants. Imagine, everyone but that 1 girl all walk away from the pageant with a great network of people. In life and in work, networking gets you ahead.

10# Shoes. Very important. Get on them. Please wear shoes with straps or your feet will hurt. A skin colour shoe works best with swimsuit as it makes you look taller, but it could be a sparkly nude. Straps are key. Also, floors can be slippery, so instead of falling on stage, please use this.
You should not go to a pageant without this: Also, do wear heels, stilettos preferred. To look tall, having a base at the bottom reduces the difference of the hieght so its less painful. Practice walking before you go on stage. Use a round tip instead of a sharp tip for maximum endurance.

11# Please bring a camera and take as many pictures as possible. You'll regret if you don't and will treasure for the rest of your life. Bring a second one as back up or a phone camera. I lost mine at a pageant then found on the last day. So sad. Take as many pictures as humanly possible but still enjoy yourself. Be happy. Love it. Enjoy. Second, add all the girls on facebook, linked-in, and you'll have a new network of fabulous friends for life. They are some of the brightest, sweetest, most inspiring, most amazing and most awesome people you'll ever meet that will inspire you for years to come.

12# be helpful and be nice, sure a kind reputation gives you bonus points, but you develop a whole network after the pageant that is more than worth it. Stay humble, stay kind, stay authentic, stay true, stay smart, stay you. That will maxmize the awesome people on your network and friendships that will inspire you for a life time!