What to do with your hands in standing interview

What to do with your hands in standing interview post image

Many pageants have standing interview at some point in the judging process. Perhaps the initial interview is done standing. One area of judging may include an onstage question. Standing during interview poses completely different challenges for what to do with your hands because you can’t just put them in your lap. So, what are you supposed to do with them?


Relax them by your side

It really isn’t complicated. Simply let your hands fall naturally at your sides. If you were to look a group of non pageant people, most will be standing with their hands down and not in the pageant stance of putting their hands on their hips. This position gives the appearance of being open and relaxed. That’s a message we want to convey to the judges.


Talk with your hands

If you watch professional speakers, you will notice that they use their hands. Your hands can help to emphasize a point or count a variety of options in your answer. One work of caution, don’t allow your hands to become distracting. Any large movements will detract from you and what you are saying. Keep hand movements in front of your body and below chest level. Let it be natural.


Put your hands behind your back

If you are feeling nervous or unsure, simply clasp your hands behind your back. This gives the vibe of being open and willing to listen. It pulls your shoulders back and straightens your posture so you appear confident. It may even help you to feel more confident.


Never clasp your hands in front

This is so important! I recently was a timer for a pageant where they had standing interview. Over 90% of the contestants stood with their hands clasped in front of them. I immediately noticed that they slouched. Then they tended to look at the floor instead of the judges. This projects insecurity. In interview, the judges are looking for a confident person to represent the crown.


What about putting your hands on your hips?

This can be tricky. You don’t want to appear cocky or over confident. Putting your hands on your hips can also appear confrontational. It can even make you look too relaxed if you don’t watch your posture. Be very careful with this common onstage stance. Practice in front of a mirror to make sure you are conveying the right nonverbal message.

Standing interview can be intimidating. Don’t let it get the best of you. Make sure you are relaxed and using your hands in a normal manner. Your hands are a natural extension of who you are. Use them to connect with the judges.

Want more tips and tricks to win over the judges? Check out my audiophile, Pageant 101. This online class has the exact same pageant winning advice I share with my private clients. Download your copy today!


Well meaning friends and family members frequently don’t know what to say when a contestant doesn’t win. Their attempt to make them feel better is admirable. The disappointment can be very real and they hate to see you disappointed. So, they say all sorts of things like, “you should have won.” Unfortunately, pageants are subjective and not everyone can win. So what should you say instead? I recently asked just that on my Facebook page. Here are some of the answers along with my own.

I am so proud of you!

By being proud of what they accomplished, you are conveying that they did more than just enter. Be specific in how you are proud of them. Did they have an outstanding onstage answer? Has their modeling improved? Maybe you loved a pose they tried out new for this pageant. Simply getting out of their comfort zone is enough to be proud of. Tell them!

I loved when you…

Keep the focus positive. This is not the time to tell them all the things they did wrong. Choose one or two things they did well and let them know. Again, you can bring up their modeling or interview skills. Perhaps you caught a special moment when they encouraged another contestant. If you don’t want to use the word “loved” try something different “liked”, “saw” or “caught”. Let them know you were paying attention.

Great job! What are you most happy about your performance?

This one came from Rachel. What I love about this one is that you are letting them focus on the positive instead of offering your opinion. Encourage them to talk while you simply listen. This is not the time to offer suggestions or advice. Be careful not to negate what they say. That could have devastating consequences on their confidence.

You did your best

This one was suggested by several people. Acknowledge all the hard work that went into preparing for the pageant. Remind them of the hours spent practicing or searching for that perfect gown. Let them know that it all came together that night. They really brought it.

You are beautiful

I know that when I haven’t won, I begin to feel less than beautiful. For me, there is power in those words. To have my husband utter those words can lift my spirits. This will work from anyone, even a stranger. Go ahead and walk up to that contestant you don’t even know and tell them they are beautiful. It really will make a difference.

Your competing inspired me to _______

Anna suggested this as well as few others. This one is different from the rest because you are taking the focus off the contestant and putting it on yourself. This can relieve the stress of competing by showing them that they inspired you to try something new or different. Hopefully, they are encouraged by your comment and aspire to continue competing and being the role model they have become.

I can’t wait to see you compete again

Giving the contestant a future goal can help refocus them on future plans. Another variation is to ask them what their next goal is. By keeping the contestant future oriented, it will help them have something to look forward to. If they have no plans for competing again or have a next goal, that’s ok. Let them know that, too.

You improved so much!

What I love about this affirmation is that it really takes into account the work that the contestant did and that it actually paid off. You may begin by reminding them where they are coming from. “remember when…” Then follow up with what they did right and how it impressed you. Just don’t make the past sound too negative. Remember that, at that time, they did their best.

Say nothing, just listen

The contestant is exhausted and mentally drained after a pageant. Whether it’s a one day pageant or they have spent the last two weeks of their live devoted to all the events of the pageant, it is exhausting. They may not even want to say anything. Your presence and a hand on their shoulder or hug may be all they need right now. Just be willing to listen without giving feedback. Just let them talk.

I love you! ….Now, where are we going to eat?

This is my favorite response by my friend Derrick. It starts with affirming that no matter what, my love won’t change. Also, most contestants are starving at this point. Even if there isn’t a fitness aspect to the pageant, they may have focused on eating healthy. Many pageants don’t allow time to eat before the pageant or the contestant may be too nervous to eat. I always recommend planing a special meal after the pageant to allow a transition time from pageant to home. Let it be a celebration of them.

I hope these ideas will help you the next time you want to encourage a contestant. Telling them that they should have won is just not helpful. Try to keep them positive and discourage any gossip. Badmouthing anyone will lead to a poor mindset. Redirect them to the positive. Always let them know that you love them!



Pageant Coach

Facebook and why you should have only one pageant business page

Facebook. People all over the world log in every day. Of all the social media networks, Facebook is the largest platform today. Most people are checking their accounts on a smart phone. Think about it. How many times today did you check your Facebook and where? People are meeting, sharing and posting pictures all on Facebook. Do you know who else is on Facebook? Potential employers and pageant judges.

There are a few different ways to connect with all those people on Facebook. You start with your personal page, or two or three. Then you can start and join groups. You can also have a business page. Not to mention all the games you can play with all your friends and people you don’t even know! Facebook offers so many ways to connect with people! No wonder it is so popular!

One page for all your titles

Whether you are applying for a job or competing in a pageant, you need one place for these people to go to find out about you. Many pageant competitors create a new business page for each title they hold. This can be confusing for any people because of so many different pages. I suggest that you have only one page for your platform and add more appearances and information to it with each title held. This way, judges can see all that you are doing, not just what you did for a specific year.


Employers like to see community involvement as well. Even if you are not competing, you can list all your community involvement and promote your platform all in one place. Also, you don’t start over trying to get people to “like” you page each time. By creating one page completely for all you do, then no matter what you do in the future, it’s all in one place.

Use your name

So, what should you call your page? I recommend you use your own name. If your name is rather common, like mine, then try to come up with something that will identify you uniquely. You can simply add “Ms” to your name. You could add a word that describes you, like “fun” or “dedicated”. I don’t recommend numbers since they don’t tell anything about you.

When you set up your page, make sure that your profile picture is a high resolution picture. Better yet, have a professional picture made that shows your personality. The cover picture can tell more about you. If you are currently holding a title, put that on your cover picture with your title. If you are promoting a platform, be sure to create something having to do with that. If you are simply creating a page for your career, make sure it has something to do with that.

Perhaps the best part of creating your own personal business page will be the interaction and connections you will make with others. You aren’t managing several pages for all the different things you are involved in. Be sure to create albums for each event or title so it makes it easier for others to see what you do for your community. By simplifying all that you do to one public Facebook page, you now have a place for employers and judges to see all that you are doing. Pop over to my Facebook page and share the link to yours so I can “like” it!



Pageant Coach

How Branding in Pageants Can Help You Win the Crown

pageant branding, pageant coaching, win the crown

What is branding in pageants? It is creating a consistent message so the judges like you. Whether you have a platform or not, you have a message you are sending to the world. Perhaps it is that you are funny, elegant or compassionate. You may be sending a message that respect for others or caring for animals is important. Everything you do is your brand. Here’s how you can make it work for you to win the crown.

Choose your message

Decide what you want the world to know. What are your passions? You can look in two places to learn what they are, your calendar and your bank account. Passions are what you spend your time and money on. Do you volunteer with a group? Do you buy shirts that support a cause? This is your message.

Once you decide your message, that becomes your platform. You can learn more about choosing your platform in this article: Pageant Platform. Now that you have your platform, you can begin working on your brand.

Create Consistency

Branding means that your platform or message is the same across all areas. If your platform has a color associated with it, try using that for your social media posts, your website and anything else judges may see online. Do some research to learn the color for your platform. Most people know that the American Heart Association’s color is red. Did you know that the color for eating disorders is periwinkle? If you are unsure what color is associated with your particular platform, look it up.

Make sure you are also consistent online. If you are against bullying and yet post degrading comments or posts, you are creating a conflicting image. Make sure that what you say and do online matches what you are trying to convey.

Tell the world

Share your message across all social media platforms and on your blog. Create graphics using a website like Canva. Choose a picture or simply create a simple statement. Then be sure you post it across several social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. This is also a great way to use the color for your platform. Either make the print that color or use a transparent shape in your color.

Put it in writing

When you fill out your paperwork, make sure you are sharing your platform. Your activities section should include your volunteer work with an organization that demonstrates your message. If you have a section to fill out about how you will promote the pageant, include appearances that go with your platform. Remember to also include it in any ad pages you put in the program.

Talk about it

Interview is the culmination of your pageant branding. Hopefully, you have been sharing your message on social media and in your paperwork. Now, the judges get to learn more about you on a personal basis. This is the time to share your passions. Talking about your platform is a great way to answer the dreaded, “why should we choose you?” It’s what make you unique. Let the judges hear the passion in your voice and see the way your face lights up when you talk about your message.

I have seen branding in pageants be successful repeatedly. I have seen women wear the color of their cause for interview and gown. Their ad page talks about their message. They shared their platform in interview and onstage question. By being consistent across every aspect of competition, the judges saw a strong leader with a strong message.

I love to help women and girls really solidify their message and platform. If you would like to create your own personal brand, you can do that with my private coaching packages. Let’s work together to create consistency with your pageant platform. Get your private coaching package now.



Pageant Coach

Pageant Nails Keeping the focus on you!

Pageant Nails

Personally, I love a manicure and a pedicure, affectionately known as a mani/pedi. It is a wonderful way to relax just before a pageant. However, this isn’t the time to go for those neon colors or the gel polish with sparkles. Your pageant nails need to be more subdued so the judges aren’t distracted and can focus on you!

Get a Pedicure

I strongly recommend a pedicure no matter what. Those tootsies will show in your strappy heels, as well as any crusty heels you may have. I recommend a pink or nude color for your toes. We don’t want the judges staring at your lime green nail polish. We want them looking at your beautiful face.

Choose a Nail Type

There are many options for finger nails these days. You can choose from acrylic, gel or the new shellac polish. If you have not worn acrylic or gel nails, please start wearing them about a month to six weeks in advance. You don’t want to get to your pageant only to learn that you can’t button your jacket or zip your dress with the length of your nails. I recommend the newer short length with an oval tip. This looks more natural. Get the natural tips and then ask for a nude color close to your natural nail bed. This will help your fingers look longer.

If you don’t want to wear acrylic or gel nails, the new shellac/gel polish is a fabulous alternative. Your natural nail is left intact instead of being filed down. This is a much healthier alternative and is very long lasting. It comes in many colors, but, again, I recommend a color close to your own nail bed or a light pink. Think bridal colors.

Go Nude!

Of course, you may go with a regular manicure. For this option, I recommend you ask for your nails to be buffed to a glossy sheen. By not putting any polish on your nails, there is no risk of it chipping or smudging. In my book, there is nothing more beautiful than natural nails.

The Exception

But wait! Miss Angola, Leila Lopes, wore red nail polish and went on to win Miss Universe 2011! Yes, she did. I believe that the reason it was successful for her was that the red of her nail polish was close to the tone of her skin. In other words, it didn’t stand out as much as it would have if it were on pale skin. I also believe that she kept the judges attention on her face so they didn’t notice her red nails.

The whole point of your pageant nails, whether you choose acrylic/gel, shellac or natural, is to provide a “polished” look, pun intended. As a contestant, you certainly don’t want the judges distracted by your nails. This means that anything you can do to minimize attention to your hands and feet and keep the judges focus on you and your beautiful face will be well received. So before your next competition, go ahead and indulge in a mani/pedi!

This article is an excerpt from my ebook, Crown Connection. For more great pageant advice, get your copy today!



Pageant Coach