As a judge, Valerie Hayes has heard contestants make some really bad gaffes during their interview. The worst interview answer she ever heard was given by a stunningly beautiful and talented contestant who impressed the judges with her winning look as soon as she entered the room. However, when asked what made the Miss America Organization special, she said it was the fact that it was owned by Donald Trump and that the winner got to go on to compete in Miss Universe.
Winning the crown is more than beauty and talent alone. You have to develop your content and demonstrate that you're an intelligent woman who can represent the title, Valerie says. Contrary to popular belief, no one votes for an airhead.
Without question, the biggest mistake contestants make while preparing for their interview is under-developing their personal platform. What makes the Miss America Organization a leader is its commitment to community service. As the local, state, and national titleholder, you will be making appearances promoting and marketing your platform, but many contestants spend more time selecting their competition wardrobe than they do strategically planning and developing their platform. You won't be able to get appearances, discuss your marketing plan in the interview room, or compete at the state or national level if you don't correctly develop your platform for your local competition.
You need to sit down at the beginning of your pageant season and really plan out and fully develop your platform. Make sure you have a platform that is unique to you and helps you stand out as a contestant. Don't follow trends when selecting and developing your platform. After all, Miss America is about community leadership, not community, "followship." Really think through how you can make a difference through your platform and what type of appearances people will actually book you for. "Education and awareness" on your topic just isn't enough. Everyone is doing that, so why would you want to do that, too?
Source: Valerie Hayes