Most young women who have competed or are planning to compete have done so to earn scholarships to further their education. It’s vitally important to remember the value of your education as you work through the pageant system. Exemplify your dedication to scholarship by making goals and staying true to them. Dedication to academic studies is one way to prove scholarship is as important to you as it is to the Miss America Organization. MAO has maintained a decades-old tradition of empowering young women to achieve their personal and professional goals, while providing a forum in which to express their opinions, talent, and intelligence. Scholarships have been the cornerstone of the Miss America program since 1945, when Bess Myerson was the first Miss America to receive a scholarship from the organization.
Participating in the Miss America Organization not only helps you pay for college and prepare for a career, it provides an opportunity to gain additional life experience, work on issues of importance to society, enhance your personal and professional skills, and develop your performance-related and other talents.
If you’re competing to further your education and make a difference in the lives of others, your Miss America journey will be the most rewarding experience of your life. During this time, be open to self-discovery and tremendous growth. Along the way, you will realize and develop previously untapped personal skills and talents. The experience will instill in you a deeper commitment and investment in your community and public service, and will strongly influence your education.
As a contestant, it’s important to develop a personal style. Your personal style is like a signature—unique to you and easily recognizable to others, giving you that edge you need for pageant success. Your style should be based solely on what you like, what looks good on you, and what you can afford. Ask yourself what you would like people to remember about you and your clothing. Figure out which elements you’d like to add to your wardrobe and search out these pieces. Once you narrow down what items look good on you—and which make you feel good—you’ll be in style every day. And the finishing touch, for any outfit, is confidence. In the end, it’s the best addition to your wardrobe.
In 1989, the Miss America Organization founded the platform concept, which requires each contestant to choose an issue about which she cares deeply and that is relevant to our society. Once chosen, Miss America and titleholders across the country use their stature to address their platform issues with community-service organizations, business and civic leaders, the media, and others.
Fully developing your platform is key to successful service during your competition years, and for service success beyond. Sit down at the beginning of your pageant season and really plan out and fully develop your platform. 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 “followership.” Really think through how you could make a difference through your platform, and what types of appearances people will book you for. By fully developing your platform, you’re laying a firm foundation for your local competition that you could keep building on for your local, state, and national pageants. Start strategically, and you’ll end beautifully.