As both an experienced pageant contestant and pageant judge, I can tell you that it’s much easier sitting on the judge’s side of the table. Competing in a pageant can be a nerve-wracking experience, and also a very rewarding experience. Here are three things you may not realize about pageant judges, which might make your time with them a little more enjoyable by taking away some of the nervousness.
1. Most pageant judges have very little time to review your fact sheet.
While some pageant directors provide the contestant fact sheets ahead of time, as a judge I can tell you it’s impossible to commit all that information to memory, much less put the names provided on paper to the faces when you see them. A fact sheet sometimes serves as a guide to help judges pose questions to the contestants, but in general this happens only when an interview is not captivating enough to hold one’s attention. So if you’re thinking you didn’t get it right on paper, think again. Your real first impression with the judges begins when you walk into the room. Make it count!
2. Many pageant judges have little or no pageant experience.
There are all types of judges you might meet when competing in a pageant, and the most common mistake contestants make is that judges will automatically recognize a good pageant contestant when they see one. While you may think pageant judges are chosen based upon their experience and expertise in pageantry, modeling, acting, or other type of show business, this is not always the case. In fact, it usually is quite the opposite. Many pageant judges are chosen to be judges due to their status in the community, business connections, or political clout, especially on a local and regional level. Some pageant judges are prominent businessmen and women, mayors, news anchors, or even motivational experts. When meeting any pageant judge, the most important thing to remember is you must convince him or her that you are the best contestant to win the title.
3. Pageant judges want every contestant to do well in the pageant.
As a pageant contestant, I always looked at meeting the judges as a challenge, but once I began judging pageants it became very clear to me that when a contestant would stand in front of me, no matter what the competition, I wanted them to do well, I wanted them to succeed, and most of all I wanted them to wow me! Until you walk in another man or woman’s shoes, you have no idea what they have been through, and as a contestant I had no idea that all the judges I had met over the years at each pageant truly wanted me to do well, as they did every contestant. Being a judge taught me how important it is for pageant contestants to let their voices be heard, and to let the judges know on no uncertain terms why they are the best person to win the pageant. It’s what they want to hear!
After reading these three things you may not have known about judges, I hope meeting them and interviewing with them will seem a bit less intimidating to you. Remember, judges are people too, and at a pageant everyone is there for the same goal – to pick the very best contestant to hold the title. That contestant could be you!