In my opinion, if you're going to participate in the pageant world, there are three very important facts that you must know upfront and accept, or you'll drive yourself and those around you crazy.
FACT 1: Everything in pageantry is subjective, or based on opinion. That means there isn't one universal winning dress, hairstyle, makeup or answer that is PERFECT. You'll drive yourself mad if you are expecting perfection. Instead, the overall queen is chosen from the average score of a panel of 5 or more judges' opinions.
Even within the judging panel, the opinions will vary greatly. Three judges love your dress while the other two hate it. Four will think you are well spoken and articulate while one thinks you're opinionated and over rehearsed. Sometimes it happens that the panel will be split on a decision if it is an even number of judges. This is normal. Seldom are the results of a pageant a unanimous decision.
FACT 2: Every judge, audience member, family member, hairstylist, makeup artist, photographer, wardrobe consultant, and pageant coach has an opinion.
FACT 3: The only definitive opinion that matters if YOURS. I don't mean for this statement to be interpreted as an arrogant attitude like "I'm right, and they're wrong." Rather, be open and teachable to the feedback you're receiving. Listen for reoccurring patterns. If the majority of the judges are saying something similar, you may want to take a serious look at what they're saying. However, bottom-line is it's your decision as to what action you'll take based on the opinions and advice you're receiving.
For a brief period of time, I struggled with the contradictory feedback I was receiving from the judges, my coaches, family and friends. I quickly came to the conclusion that ultimately it was ME up on the stage, not them; and that I had to feel totally confident with my hair, makeup, wardrobe and answer choices.
So, in my opinion :), this is what I did to sort through this situation.
- Be very selective from whom you are receiving feedback and advice. What is this person's area of expertise? How credible are they? Can I learn from this person?
- Take time to get to know your values, boundaries, likes and dislikes. You know the old saying, "if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything". If you're trying to follow everyone's advice and basing your actions on the opinions of other people, you may find yourself feeling frustrated and confused.
- Take personal ownership and responsibility for your actions and decisions. Absolutely seek out mentors and people who can help you become more than what you are at the moment, see other options and explore different opportunities. But, it's up to you to make a decision as to what course of action you'll take.
The whole idea of being selective from whom you receive mentorship is key to your success. No one is a self made success story. Successful people associate with other successful people and all have mentors. Whose opinion has been influencing you? Do you respect them? Are they living what they preach? Are they where I want to be? Spend some time this week evaluating the circle of influence in which you circulate. If you're not where you want to be, step out of your circle and find people who can inspire, support and cheer you on to whatever you dream or goal may be.
Question: I just received my pageant score sheets from the judges, and they seem to contradict each other. How am I to improve if one judge tells me one thing and another judge says the opposite?
Answer: Yes, this can be very frustrating. To answer your question, I'm going to use the supermarket analogy. When you go to the grocery store, most of the time you go with a list and purchase those items you need at that time. You don't buy everything in the store. If you need peanut butter, you have numerous choices as to which brand you'll buy. You make your choice based on taste, nutritional facts, cost and one that meets your needs. Think of advice and opinions in the same way. Take what applies to you at the time and leave the rest…for now :).