As her term concludes, Miss Southeastern 2018 Alyssa Larose, a junior elementary education and special education major, gave advice to the upcoming pageant contestants.
There are five categories of competition that contestants prepare for: private interview, lifestyle and fitness, talent, on-stage question and evening gown.
Prior to the pageant, contestants will complete the private interview. Larose suggested that contestants practice several mock interviews so that they feel comfortable in front of judges. She further explained that the judges are not there to trick contestants.
“They want to hear what your opinions are and kind of figure out your personality,” said Larose. “So, the main thing to do to prepare for an interview and on-stage question is to keep up with current events, form an opinion on things that you may not have formed an opinion on before, and also, look over your resume that the judges will be getting a few weeks prior to the pageant.”
According to Larose, contestants working on the lifestyle and fitness category need to remember that the judges are looking for someone who is physically fit as well as confident in their bodies.
“You don’t have to be the skinniest person on stage,” explained Larose. “You have to be the happiest person in your own skin. Give yourself a goal and work towards it so that when you get up on that stage in your bathing suit, you are excited for everyone to see all of your hard work.”
Talent is one of the most heavily weighed competitions. Larose listed criteria of a successful talent showing.
“Do something that you’re comfortable with, that’s entertaining, and that can also kind of make the judges see your personality,” said Larose. “I tap dance because it’s something that I’ve done since I was 2 years old, and it’s my favorite genre of dance.”
For the on-stage question, the emcee asks the contestant a question pulled from a bowl. Larose shared how contestants can make the most out of the time they are given.
“I get more nervous for the on-stage question than I think a lot of people do, but honestly, it’s important to remember that you only have 30 seconds,” said Larose. “So, answer the question, make it sound great.”
The last event before the awards and crowning is the evening gown. Like the lifestyle and fitness category, contestant should look proud of their bodies.
“It’s important to remember that the judges aren’t looking at your dress but the girl wearing the dress,” said Larose. “Just be confident. Walk with good posture.”
At the end of the night, only one woman will be crowned Miss Southeastern. Having competed in pageants since she was 4 years old, Larose encouraged participants to enjoy the experience and to try pageants more than once.
“Don’t be discouraged, and if you enjoyed your experience, do it again because you shouldn’t stop after your first pageant,” said Larose. “You should continue doing it, especially because in the Miss America Organization, you can continue getting scholarship money every single time that you compete.”
After weeks of preparation, Larose advised contestants to get a lot of sleep the night before the pageant. She also wants contestants to feel confident in their preparation and to not change any part of their routines last-minute.
Larose said, “Get to the theater as early as possible to do some last-minute walks on stage, practice your dance one more time just so that you feel comfortable, and after that, it’s all up to the judges.”