1. Paperwork problems. This is the single most predictable factor in the fate of a pageant. Judges will see your paperwork before anything else. If you have grammatical mistakes, horrible sentence structure or poorly formulated platform plans, that will color the rest of your competition.
2. Homogenous News Research. After your paperwork, the very next time a judge is exposed to you and your abilities is in the interview. If you only watch Shannon Bream (because she’s a super cute pageant sister) for your daily dose of current events, you are falling short of being well informed. To develop a full view of current events, you must read/listen to information from both sides of the argument.
3. The wonky walk. This is a serious pet peeve of mine. My first thought is that it’s the shoes you are wearing. Either they do not fit or your ankles are not strong enough to balance on those “tippy tops.” (please stop wearing those). With smart phones and youtube there is ZERO reason to have a choppy, bouncy, flailing walk.
4. Interview Depth. What is it that you find you talk about most in interview? What do the judges ask about. If you spend 3 of the 5 minutes talking about previous titles and how much you love pageants, I’m sorry to tell you, that’s a huge problem. I have yet to find a girl who is singularly faceted. There are multiple parts of your life. Use them. Most everyone goes through school having to complete book reports and presentations. Use them. These are the things that make you interesting.
5. Talent. So much to say here. Many of the girls I work with are not life-long performers. They are completely unaware of how the body reacts to the adrenaline explosion of live performance. I know many people will say to keep your talent secret until the day of the show but this just isn’t smart practice. Speaking as a vocalist, you really need to log some hours of performing that ONE song in front of people so your muscles (like, for example, the ones you are using to sing) can get used to being all hopped up on adrenaline. There just is no substitute for this.