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Do Beauty Pageants Help You "Get Discovered"

Updated on October 5, 2012
Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler
Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler

The Magic Bullet

Is there a sure fire way to get noticed by the "right people?" Is there a path to follow in order to get discovered? For some talented individuals, YouTube has been the ticket. It is because of YouTube that Justin Bieber as well as numerous other singers, rappers, and movie makers are now household names. But what about for becoming a spokesperson or model? Is there one path in common among those who have "arrived?" For many parents, beauty pageants are that magic bullet that will propel their child into stardom!

Leading Lady Examples

Watch any news or entertainment show, and the face staring back at you could pass for a fashion model. My husband regularly comments how Fox News only hires former beauty pageant contestants. So I did some research and found that he wasn't far off. But Fox News isn't the only station doing it.

Brooke Burke, Dancing With the Stars: She's everyone's favorite co-host on this ABC top show. For me, it seems that Burke came out of nowhere, but in reality, she has been in the industry for years. Her bio says that she is a former beauty queen who later modeled. It was through modeling that she got discovered and was catapulted from there. She's an inspiration for all of us women to look good in our 40s.

Robin Meade, anchor on Headline News: Robin is my favorite talking head in the morning. Her delivery style is so casual and confident as well as cheery and sincere! It's always a treat to see what outfit she wears every day. Her background is that of a humble Midwestern tomboy. When she was 17 (1986) she started in beauty pageants and continued with her winning Miss Ohio in 1993. She finished in the top 10 at Miss America. While she didn't win, these skills definitely helped her in her pursuit of a career in journalism.

Gretchen Carlson, co-anchor on Fox and Friends: Not just another pretty face, this former Miss America winner (1989) graduated with honors from Stanford and serves on the board of the March of Dimes and Miss America Organizational Board. In the pagent world, Gretchen is considered one of their "brightest titleholders ever" because she was the first women crowned Miss America whose talent was classical violin.

Diane Sawyer, ABC's World News Tonight anchor: While not a Miss America beauty title holder, Diane does credit her career beginning with the winning of National Junior Miss in 1963. Read this exerpt from Diane Sawyer's bio on Pagent Center's website:

"A serious student, she excels in the Junior Miss program - which bans any swimsuit competition and actually judges contestants' school grades and community service. Oddly, Sawyer initially strikes several judges as too serious to serve as a teen titleholder... until a silly stroke of luck changes their minds--and the course of the crown. During rehearsals, nearsighted Diane walks headfirst into a metal post in front of the judges and dissolves into girlish giggles. Charmed by Sawyer's silly side, the judges change their votes in her favor and, that night, she is named 1963 America's Junior Miss.

She uses her pageant scholarship money to attend Wellesley College where she graduates with a bachelors degree in English in 1967 and is hired as a press aide to President Nixon. She switches gears - to television reporting - in career move that puts her on the track to stardom in network news as one of the highest paid female anchors in television history. Her rather inauspicious start as a newsgirl / weathergirl in Kentucky soon leads to positions as co-anchor of ABC's Good Morning America, anchor of PrimeTime Live, co-anchor of ABC's 20/20, first female correspondent on CBS's famous 60 Minutes, and then, in 2009, as the anchor of ABC's evening news program, World News with Diane Sawyer."

Other titleholders worth noting:

  • Halle Berry, Miss Ohio USA 1986, Miss Teen All American 1985
  • Oprah Winfrey, Miss Black Tennessee 1971
  • Vanessa Williams, Miss America 1983


Eden Wood is the show's most famous contestant.
Eden Wood is the show's most famous contestant.

Toddlers and Tiaras

TLC's reality show Toddlers and Tiara's showcases three young children every episode and their journey through a particular pageant. Like millions of other fans, I am in love with this show! It's not just the train-wreck children that I like to watch, it's also the glitz, the fashion, and the drama that keep me coming back.

The show's most famous contestant is Eden Wood. TLC has been checking in on her since 2009 and Eden was only four years old. In the years that have followed, Eden has been featured on the show several times, released several songs, been featured on Entertainment Tonight, and toured across the nation.

Most moms on Toddlers and Tiaras dream of great things for their sons and daughters. They feel that pagents are THE way to get their child noticed. Say what you want about pagents, this model has worked for several children.

Makenzie and her NiNi

Alanna captured the producers of TLC's Toddlers and Tiara's show so much she got her own show! Let me say it is a laugh  out loud good time!
Alanna captured the producers of TLC's Toddlers and Tiara's show so much she got her own show! Let me say it is a laugh out loud good time!

Success Stories

Say what you will about the pageant industry (my dad calls them prosta-tots), this route has been the ticket to stardom for lots of young girls. Hands down, my girls' favorite beauty queen has to be Makenzie. I've posted the video of our favorite Makenzie line. This child is a bit of a handful, in my opinion, but she is entertaining to watch. Makenzie has earned quite a few high titles and her mother hopes that this is just the beginning of her daughter's career.

Then there's Alanna, a curly-headed child from south Georgia who has made herself famous with the phrase, "A dollar make me holler, honey boo boo child!" While Alanna has yet to clinch any beauty pageant title, she scored with her own reality TV show called Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. Let me just say that this show is laugh out loud funny! Every person in her family has a nickname, including her baby-daddy which her mom calls Sugar Bear and has labeled as "smexy!" Episodes show this family going to redneck games, four-wheeling, shopping at "the department store" which is actually the dump, and going to the ultrasound of her sister who is 17 years old! I promise, writers can't make this stuff up!


Top 10 Pageant Tips

  1. Be yourself. Judges can spot a fake a mile away.
  2. Smile--a real one.
  3. Look perfect from head to toe. They are always looking for the total package.
  4. Find a way to stand out from the other contestants. Make them remember you.
  5. Practice, practice, and practice!
  6. Keep good eye contact with the judges.
  7. Be aware of fashion trends and colors and try to follow them.
  8. Imitate others who are a bit further along than you. Learn from them.
  9. Be gracious, even if you lose. Good character will stand out.
  10. Make friends and not enemies. The pageant world is small.

Money Saving Tips

Try to save money wherever you can since entry fees and gas for your car will never be on sale. Think dress rental/resale.

I would prefer rental over resale because photos can be deceiving. Remember, you often get what you pay for.

Many mothers learn how to spray tan their children themselves.

If you're really feeling adventurous, you might try sewing your own pageant dresses! Of course, advanced sewing ability is required, but I've seen many moms and dads do it beautifully.

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    • my_girl_sara profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Lyerly 

      4 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for the sweet comment!

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