Preparing for a pageant competition? There's a lot more to it than finding the perfect wardrobe. Heather Sumlin is the director of performance programs at Mental Management Systems, and she specializes in mental management training for pageants. Fourpoints talked with Heather to get her advice on the best way contestants could prepare themselves for competitions. This is the final article in our three-part series, which shares tips with you!
What is your advice to contestants as they prepare for the judges’ interview?
Truly know who you are. People tell contestants all the time to just “be yourself.” But if you do not really know yourself, it is difficult to know how to “be yourself.” The toughest question for a contestant to answer, many times, is “Why should you win?” This question should be something you’re prepared to answer. You should know why this title is important to you, and what makes you a good candidate for the job you are working so hard to attain. Many times when I ask that question of a client, the response tells me why they WANT to win but not why they SHOULD. Why you want to win a pageant is completely different from why you should be awarded the title. Know what makes you unique, special, marketable, successful, and the best person to represent the title you seek. I think the reason this question is challenging for many contestants is because girls who seek a Miss America title are not usually self-serving people. These girls are dedicated to serving others and serving their community, and they focus a great deal of energy on building people around them. I find that they fear they will come across as arrogant or selfish if they focus too much on their strengths. I also find that many contestants seek perfection—and in seeking perfection they fail to find satisfaction, and frustration sets in. Spend some quality time with you. Know who you are now, who you want to become, and what you want to do with your future, and do your best to implement a plan to make your goals possible.
During the interview with the judges, how could contestants stay cool, calm, and collected?
This is performer specific—what will work for one contestant may not work for another. In our training and products we talk a lot about mental rehearsal, developing a mental program, mental practice, and pressure-control strategies, all of which are beneficial to this question. A quick response, however, is to train as much as you can with people who know how to help bring out the best in you. Trust that training on competition day, and before you walk into the interview room, fake a YAWN. Yawning lowers your energy, which in many cases is beneficial before interview for those who are nervous.
Source: Heather Sumlin, director of performance programs, specializes in Mental Management training for pageantry. Upbeat, motivated, fun, and encouraging, Heather could bring the best out in you! Not only will you learn the Mental Management system, but she will help you apply it to your pageant competition as well as other areas of your life. Heather is also offers interview training, resume and platform development, and creative workshop options, as well as personal instruction for contestants ages twelve and up. Click here to find out more about Mental Management Systems!