The Miss America and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen organizations awarded $7,000 and $5,000 respectively, in preliminary competition scholarships in 2013. Contestants performed their talents, showcased their health and fitness, and proved their poise and stateliness. And for their representation of each phase of competition, judges’ panels scored young women who now carry on in their academic studies with the promise of funding. But performances in Atlantic City and Orlando were far from improvised, and those contestants who were awarded are willing to share their secrets for preliminary scholarship success.
Heather French Henry is Miss America 2000, and now she's a designer! We asked Heather to give us the skinny on pageant style.
fourpoints: What is your opinion of the old adage, "white always wins"?
Heather French Henry: I can count on one hand the number of Miss Americas who won in white over the past two decades, so, I definitely believe white doesn't always win. When choosing a gown, I believe it's more important to choose a gown that fits "your" style, "your" body, and "your" coloring.
fpts: What is a cost effective way for girls to afford evening gowns?
HFH: I had this very problem when I was competing. I had three jobs, and was a full-time college student. I do feel that great gowns are worth saving for. When you go for quality, then you can use one gown many different ways. It can go from your evening gown to talent gown to eventually a walk-on gown. One gown can last you several years if you choose well.
fpts: How do you keep a teen contestant looking like a teen?
HFH: It is important to look "age-appropriate" in a teen competition. I had difficulty here because I always looked older. I feel sticking with a soft color palette in the wardrobe can help was well as toning down the make-up and hair.
fpts: How can contestants incorporate their personal style into the pageant wardrobe?
HFH: This is the one area most judges complain about–the contestants not choosing their own wardrobe. I believe guidance is good, but in moderation. The beauty of the Miss America system is that all of our contestants are unique in style as well as opinion and it should show.
fpts: Explain the concept of styling and outfit.
To read Heather's answer and more styling advice from the former Miss America, subscribe to fourpoints!
Every contestant knows that special feeling of finding the "right" gown–you look in the mirror, and stand a little taller, you smile a little brighter, you feel invincible in it. And you are wearing that gown, not the gown wearing you.
Your talent costume should be the same, you should feel great in it, and it should complement your talent, not overshadow it. There are elements to a great performance that are important to bringing together a "winning" talent piece, and it's important to look at your performance from others' viewpoints.
Fit Your Talent
These are the questions that I ask before I start designing, because the most important things for me are that the costume will not only look great, but also be functional and complement your talent.
Fit Your Budget
With the economy, I think budget has been a concern for most contestants. I think it's always important to determine what your budget is before you go shopping, whether it's for your interview outfit, gown, or talent costume. Figure out what you're comfortable spending, and then work within that budget. If your budget is limited, there are always options, and working with a professional can help point you in the direction.
Above all, love your talent costume. It should be functional and comfortable so that you can perform to your absolute best in it. The right costume can elevate your talent, and add to the entertainment value of your performance.
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Source: Trisha Tidd
Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler was named Tuesday night's preliminary Talent winner for her Operatic Vocal performance of "Il Bacio," during the first night of competition of the 2012 Miss America Pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Laura will receive a $2,000 scholarship. Also in the spotlight was Miss Utah Danica Olsen, who was the preliminary Lifestyle and Fitness winner in a Deaville Kompliqué swimsuit with 18K gold and Swarovski crystal accents. Danica will receive a $1,000 scholarship.
To see videos from the awards ceremony and behind-the-scenes interviews from tonight's preliminary winners, visit facebook.com/missamericaorganization tomorrow morning!
Source: Miss America