As a pageant coach, I’m frequently asked about what pageant systems are available to babies and young children. Since I was a judge at the Ohio Sunburst State Finals this past Saturday, I wanted to share this system with all of you.
Sunburst is now celebrating its 32 year and has been featured on the Travel Channel and Discovery Channel. The Sunburst system has launched the movie, TV and print work careers of many of its titleholders. The main focus of the pageant is on facial beauty. The judges and agents prefer a wholesome, age appropriate look on the younger contestants so please, no makeup on children 6 years of age and younger. This is taken right out of the state information guide.
For the beauty title, there are two areas of scoring-Interview (up close appraisal) and formal wear.
The interview is really an Up Close Appraisal; each contestant is in front of the judges for the same amount of time and will receive a facial beauty score only.
To help the contestants feel more comfortable, the judges may ask one question to help break the ice; but the answer is not scored nor is it a hard question. Typical interview questions would be like how old are you? What do you like to do? What pets do you have? What’s your favorite toy? What’s your favorite TV show? What school do you go to? What activities are you involved in?
Children 1 mos. - 4 years old must be accompanied by one adult. The attire for this event is an official Sunburst T-Shirt (which you receive at check-in) with your own white, denim or khaki shorts, skirts or pants, and shoes of any type.
Having judged this pageant for the past 8 years, I can’t stress this enough, please don’t put fake hair, flippers and makeup on your babies and young children here.
It is true that you will see both glitz and natural pageant contestants at the Sunburst pageant. However, the pageant system really wants the natural beauty of its children under the age of 6 to shine. Will you see some younger children wearing these things? Yes, but if something is really inappropriate or over the top, a judging panel will take this into consideration when giving a score.
Remember, they are looking for a wholesome, age appropriate look. That goes for all of the age groups. With the main criteria being facial beauty, a beautiful face can be spotted with or without makeup. You want everything to be tasteful.
The second scored area is Formal Wear. Attire for 1 mos.- 10 year old girls can be short or long party or pageant dresses. Adding my personal opinion here, the most flattering length for short dresses on young girls is a couple inches above the knee so the whole knee cap is exposed. A long dress should touch the floor. Fit is everything. The dress can’t be too tight, too big, too long or too short. Since children grow, have it tailored about 10 days before the pageant. That means finding a good seamstress before the pageant and having her reserve that time for you.
For girls ages 11-27, the formal wear attire is long gowns that are age appropriate. All boys are to wear a suit or tux.
For babies 1 month -4 years, each child will go to the center stage with one adult where they will receive their score. Girls 5-27 years are judged from the center stage. Do all your modeling in the center only.
There are no extra points given if little 9 month old Sally holds your finger and takes 30 seconds to step, step her way to center stage. Then when she gets to center stage, she’s so tired that she wants to sit down. When you try to make her stand and face the judges, she throws a fit because it took all her energy to walk there. Do yourself a huge favor, carry your young child to the center and then let her stand IF she is able. You want her best behavior to be at center stage because that is where the judges are told to award the score. A tantrum does not score high.
There are many side awards for prettiest eyes, hair, smile, personality, and attire; along with optional model search, daycare/school wear, swimwear, photogenic, talent, portfolio, composite and mail-in photo contests for the contestants to participate in as well.
State Pageant Age Groups
Age is determined by age the contestant is on the 1st day of the State Pageant:
For questions about the preliminary and state pageants in your area, go to the national website at http://www.sunburstbeauty.com/
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Rhonda Shappert is an expert pageant coach and an iPEC trained personal development life coach. She created Winning Through Pageantry™, to partner with pageant contestants and their support people to provide complete pageant preparation and achieve winning results in life through pageantry. In the pageant world she has held multiple local, state and national titles. 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 educates their children and has been married 21 years to her husband Stephen, is the former mayor of her community, and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Ohio Virtual Academy. She and her husband perform original contemporary Christian music. Their music CD entitled Cana is available through www.cdbaby.com/cd/shappert or on her website . For more information on Rhonda, visit www.WinningThroughPageantry.com.