Pageant Tips for Girls Under The Age of 18

Here are some general tips for young girls competing in natural pageant systems such as Miss American Coed (MAC) , National American Miss (NAM), and Pure American Pageants, that have formal wear, personal introduction, interview and fun fashion modeling as the areas of competition.

Formal Wear:

  • If you selected a full length gown for competition, it’s best for the gown to touch the floor. Hem it just high enough so the contestant can walk in the gown without stepping on it. Better a little too long than too short. Your shoes should not be visible when they are standing still.
  • Make sure there are straps on gowns for the girls ages 4-12. The 13-15 age group is tricky because you will see both strapped and strapless gowns. Here is a question to ask yourself when looking for a Jr. Teen gown: When your daughter is wearing the dress, does she look older than 15? If she could pass for an 18-year-old in the dress, it’s too mature. Add straps. Strapless gowns are the normal gown choice for the girls 16 years old and up.
  • Make sure the skirt isn’t too full or puffy. The judges want to see your daughter. If the dress is too wide, it will shorten the contestant’s height on stage and take attention away from the girl. There is a fine line between making a statement with your gown and it being too much. High slits are reserved for women over the age of 18.
  • Single colored gowns with tasteful embellishments tend to score best in these systems. If you think the colors of sherbet ice cream flavors, you’ll get a pretty good idea of the color palette you’ll see on stage. And of course, you will always see white.

Personal Introduction and Interview:

  • Check the rules for the system you are competing in. Do not go over the maximum time allowed. If the rules say 20 seconds and your introduction is 21 seconds long, you are going to lose points. The focus here is not on how long it is but in the delivery. The introduction must capture the judge’s attention within the first 7 seconds. If you think about how TV commercials are crafted that will help you write your introduction. Although, there is a fine line between showing your personality and being too over the top. You want to showcase your personality.
  • For interview, wear pantyhose and closed toed nude shoes for a polished, professional look. For girls’ sized interview shoes, buy nude colored dance character shoes. Your best bet is to order them online at a discount dance outlet because you won’t find them in department shoes.
  • A solid colored interview suit or dress is your best choice with the hemline being slightly above the knee. Mid thigh is too short. It should fit your contour perfectly without being too tight especially across your bottom. If your bottom looks like the capital letter D in your skirt, it’s too tight. Most suits for children are custom-made because you can’t easily find them in the stores.

Other General Tips: 

  • There is usually no makeup allowed on girls 12 years old and under. Makeup for the older age categories must be age appropriate.
  • Hair worn down with lift at the roots and soft body at the ends is the style that looks the most natural and youthful. Hair must be out of the contestant’s face. If you have bangs, gently sweep them to the side, or lift them up from your forehead. Bangs will cast a shadow over your eyes and face and the judges won’t see those features.
  • The style of clothing for the fun fashion and casual wear modeling competitions is real clothing NOT costumes or glitz wear in a natural pageant. You’ll see high low dresses, leggings with cute tops, and a variety of clothing expressing the contestants’ personalities. Avoid denim because it’s too casual. Display your fashion sense by accessorizing and customizing your outfit.