Dear Pageant Girl,

I’m a little upset today.

Actually, upset is an understatement.

I’m angry.

Today was the second day I judged the Miss Universe Australia NSW Heats and I must say I am quite disappointed with the quality and the level of talent that have come to try their luck at Macquarie Shopping Centre.

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Today confirmed my suspicions that the majority of Australian girls have no freaking idea when it comes to the business of beauty pageants.

Let’s forget the every day girl with stars in her eyes.  I’m talking to those who have the potential to become a force to be reckoned with. Let me remind you ladies that beauty queens are MADE, not born. You have to work at it.

There are so many girls who rely on being “pretty” and think that they get through by their looks alone.

Newsflash ladies: THE JUDGES ARE NOT LOOKING FOR POTENTIAL.

We are looking for a polished woman who we will be proud to send off to the international level and compete against the likes of the North and South Americans and the Asians.

The number of good looking girls who have ruined their chances in the last two days because of their poor choice of evening gown, their messy hair, amateurish make up and obvious lack of commitment to tone their bodies have left me gobsmacked and enraged.

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The Miss Universe Australia WA franchise invest a lot of money, time and effort in training their girls. A big part of their training is education.  The organisers empower their girls by encouraging them to do their research and to work and fight for a finals place to the nationals.  And it pays off.  What these girls will also come to realise that whatever work they have put into their campaign for Miss Universe Australia WA will pay off for them in more ways than one – going beyond the stage and empowering them with the skills that will help them get ahead in life.

Once again this year the strongest girls going to the nationals will be from Western Australia.  And no, it is not too early to call if the current talent from all the other states is anything to go by.

Yes, luck has a lot to do with it.  But at some point, Lady Luck needs a bit of stroking and steering in the right direction and if you want to be taken seriously, you have to take yourselves and the competition seriously.

Otherwise stop wasting our time.

So pay very close attention to the following tips:

DO YOUR RESEARCH

Most girls enter the competition because they want to be the next Jennifer Hawkins.  And there is nothing wrong with that, but you have to work at it. I will be perfectly honest with you – Jennifer’s stars were aligned the night she won. Some people are just born lucky. Jennifer has an X-Factor and is one of those girls that command your attention. You can’t help but look at her. In saying that, Jennifer would not have gone as far as she did or even be noticed if she did not have a team of experts supporting her campaign. Once you get on stage, it is your competition and noone else’s. Don’t forget that it takes a whole tribe to get you to that point. A killer dress, some pointers on how to answer questions as well as how to deal with the media while competing are things she had no idea about.  Sure, she had ten years of dance classes to help with stage projection but for goodness sakes, this is no dancing competition. 

Keep it real.

Again, she was lucky to have been provided with the support system to help her prepare for the international competition.

Research the Miss Universe Organisation and look at what they stand for.  Look at the winners of the last twenty years and look at what made each one special and why they won. Research the current title holders from other countries and look at what makes them a winner – watch their videos, look at their styling, listen to their interviews and look at their bodies.

WATCH AND LEARN. STAGE ETIQUETTE

I am shocked at the number of girls who compete and yet have only ever seen one or two pageants in their lives.  In order to compete you need to have the hunger and the passion to do well in the industry. I can spot a fibber within ten paces – those who claim to be pageant enthusiasts but are in fact, totally clueless.

Little things such as stage etiquette, runway basics, a toned body and gown choice are essential ingredients to your success as a beauty queen. Learning how to relax and breathe on stage are also important.

And why do none of the girls look at us judges while they are on stage? Not only have they not made any eye contact, but more often than not, rush down the runway, twirl and rush straight back off.  How are we meant to judge you properly if you don’t give us time to check you out and figure out your flavour?

To date, not a single girl has made a connection with any of us.

Note to you, pageant girl: it’s the judges’ opinions that count while you’re on stage, not the audience and not the cameras.

BE PREPARED TO INVEST TIME AND MONEY

After congratulating one of the girls today I spoke to her excited mother who commented “does this mean we have to spend more money on clothes and shoes?”

I almost slapped her.

OF COURSE YOU HAVE TO SPEND MORE MONEY! Like anything in life, if you want to succeed in anything and are serious about it, you invest money, time and effort to do well.  This is a beauty contest and if a killer gown and hot shoes is going to make you feel more confident, stand out and make an impression then that is money well spent.

Money spent on a dietician as well as a personal trainer is an investment – you can’t put a dollar value on your health.

BE TRUE TO YOURSELF

Lastly, be true to yourself and keep it real. Take a good long hard look at yourself in the mirror. Forget the praises heaped on you by your mother, your friends, your boyfriend (or your girlfriend). Ask yourself if this industry and competition really is for you and if you really, honestly have what it takes to be a beauty queen. Ask yourself – do I have the looks that could give girls like Scherri Biggs a run for her money?  Do I have a killer body that would put Laura Dundovic’s to shame? Do I have Jesinta Campbell’s marketing drive and gift of the gab? Do I have Rachael Finch’s cheeky sex appeal?

If you have answered yes to all of the above, I would LOVE to hear from you.

Tomorrow is the final heats for the NSW girls before the heat winners compete at a state level on May 4. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

If the last two days is anything to go by, all I can say is, God help NSW.

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