Perhaps it would be helpful to explain the purpose of having optional competition categories at pageants.They are to provide more opportunities for contestants to go home with recognition.
Only one person will go home as the Queen, but if a contestant is recognized for the other positive qualities she possesses, then she goes home feeling good about herself even if she doesn’t win the crown.
Optional competitions are another way for the pageant system to make money. There are many expenses involved in producing a pageant. If the directors don’t make enough money to cover the bills, the pageant will fold.
What’s important to understand is that optionals have no influence on the main pageant results. The only time optional competitions would factor into the crown is if a “high point” winner were to be crowned. To become a high point queen, contestants receive points for entering and competing in the different categories of competition and the judges’ scores are all totaled together. The contestant with the highest accumulative point total is the high point winner. This is usually done in glitz and semi glitz pageants. But for pageants such as National American Miss and Coed, optionals are judged by a completely different set of judges and the optional competitions do not hurt or help contestants’ chances of winning the overall title.
Now let’s address the topic as to if you should enter them. You will want to take into consideration your pageant budget, your physical stamina level, and how strong your skills are in the area you want to enter.
Please know that all the optional competitions take place either before the main pageant begins, or in between main pageant events. This means there is less time to rest, eat and get your hair and makeup ready for the main pageant. It can be very stressful trying to balance competing in multiple optional competitions along with the main pageant.
If this is your first year competing, I would suggest only doing the main pageant and watching the optional competitions you are interested in. You will get a better idea of what to expect without the added expense or stress. Then add one optional the next year. What you don’t want to happen is for you to get so tired from the optional competitions that you have no energy for the main event.
On the other hand, if money is no object and you’re the energizer bunny, go for it! But don’t enter the optionals for the purpose of thinking it’s going to strengthen your chances of winning the title because it won’t. They are completely separated.
The same thing goes for buying excessive program ad pages. Advertising pages are to raise money for the pageant system. Buying the most pages in the program book will not guarantee you the overall title. As a matter of fact, most of the time judges are not given a program book until after the pageant.
It all depends on how much stress you want to carry during the pageant. If you want a more carefree and relaxed experience, then I would say don’t do the optionals. If you want a chance at being recognized for other areas that you are strong in, then do the optionals. It all comes down to how much your wallet and nerves can handle.
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Rhonda Shappert is an expert pageant coach, an iPEC Certified Professional Coach, an Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner, and a member of the International Coach Federation. She created Winning Through Pageantry® to partner with pageant contestants and their support people to provide complete pageant preparation, achieve winning results in life through pageantry, and to Succeed From The Inside Out®. She has over 30 years experience in the pageantry world as a contestant, judge, emcee, staff member, mother of daughters who compete, Mrs. Ohio America 2005, and has held multiple titles at the local, state and national levels.
Rhonda graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors degree in Musical Theater from The Ohio State University and has performed on stage in 15 countries on the Asian, European and American continents. This mother of three home educate s their children and has been married 22 years to her husband Stephen, is the former mayor of her community, and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Ohio Virtual Academy. For more information on Rhonda, visit www.WinningThroughPageantry.com .