Best Beauty Pageant Answers
I've been watching beauty pageants since I was a little girl. But I never aspired to be Miss America, Miss Universe, or even Miss Corner of My Own Universe.
For me, watching these annual celebrations of the feminine ideal (and I use the term loosely), is like watching a train wreck. Only the trains have big hair and fake boobs.
To give them their due, beauty contestants have many fine attributes. Attributes that I didn't possess even at 20. That's okay, though. As I said, being a "miss" anything has never appealed to me. That's a good thing, or I'd feel like a complete failure. I'd be crushed.
Speaking of crushed,let me get to the purpose of this article:
To prevent otherwise qualified beauty contestants from crashing and burning on the final question. You know the one. The question that trips your favorite finalist up worse than a loose hem caught in a 5" stiletto.
I've seen it time and time again. In fact, it seems to have become an annual occurrence. The front-running contender (smokin' hot, 99 on the bathing suit scale, tasteful yet revealing gown, and a genuine talent (ballet, opera violiln, or piano all seem to be judged superior to baton twirling or tap dancing).
As long as she doesn't open her mouth (except to sing her little aria) she's on the fast track to the crown.
Then comes the perfect storm of
a) drawing the wrong judge, who
b) asks a loaded, seemingly impossible-to-answer-correctly question
Just like that, "POP" go her chances. Millions of viewers cringe in unison as Miss _______ self-destructs right in front of their eyes.
Here's the Deal, Girlies
Listen up, you wanna be beauty queens, cuz I'm only gonna say this once:
NOBODY wants your OPINION on ANYTHING.
Let me put this another way:
Nobody (including the judges and the audience) wants YOUR opinion on anything!
Their questions are a test of your ability to think on your feet!
So what do you do instead?
You show them your NON-ABILITY to NOT THINK on your feet.
It's such a simple concept. If you watch these pageants (which I presume you do if you're planning to win one) you know that the questions come in only so many varieties. Like all those other pageant "secrets" like spray-on tans and taping your bikini bottoms to your butt cheeks, I would expect "cheat sheets" to be part of the preparation.
Alas, it appears no one has passed along the secret to not putting your high-heeled foot in your oversized mouth.
Or maybe they did, but you (the contestant) were too ditzy to take their advice.
Possibly the best response in the history of pageants!
MM's Top 5 Beauty Contest Answers
Yes, I know I could make a lot of money selling this information. But then I'd run into ethical problems. I couldn't in good conscience sell my answers to some contestants but not others. So I've decided instead to post them here, where they are accessible to all. If I'm able to save even one beauty queen from embarrassment, it will have been worth it!
So here they are, for your edification (that means learning). Mighty Mom's all-purpose, never-fail answers to the most common questions asked by pageant judges!
Answer #1: Political Hot Potato
If you are asked about a controversial topic, do NOT inject (inject means impose -- oops, I mean "say") what you personally believe. If you do, you are guaranteed to piss off 50% of the judges and 50% of the viewing audience. Plus, there's a really good chance (like 100%) the judge who asked the question chose it because s/he has a very strong bias. It's a TRAP!
For example, in 2009 Perez Hilton asked Miss California about legalizing gay marriage. This year Oscar Nunez zapped Miss Oklahoma with a question about Arizona's tough immigration law.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand where Mssrs. Hilton and Nunez "might" be coming from.
The key for contestants is: Stay NEUTRAL. Stay positive. Smile pretty and say something completely innocuous (that means innocent or devoid (empty, or lacking) of any hint of meaning or slant).
Here's a good sound bite that should fit most politically charged questions:
"I'm so proud to be an American. America is a country where everyone is created equal.From the very beginning America was founded by people seeking to live how they wanted to live -- in freedom. Every American deserves the opportunity to live happy and free. That's why I'm so glad we're ALL Americans, so that we can all be equal."
Why this answer is effective:
1. It shows that you are patriotic. It's good to be patriotic when you are going after a title like Miss AMERICA or Miss USA.
2. It shows your understanding of the Constitution. Even if you have no understanding of the Constitution, people will think you do.
3. It steers adeptly away from any stereotyping, bigotry, racial profiling or discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Trust me on this one.
4. It's also inoffensive to any atheist judges, as it does not mention the word "God."
Answer #2: Women
If you are asked a question about women or women's role in society, pay close attention to who is asking the question.
If the judge is a FEMALE, chances are very good that she believes in equality of the sexes.
If the judge is MALE, chances are pretty good that he believes in equality of the sexes, too. After all, it's 2010.
Here's a suggested all-purpose answer:
"I believe women and men are not the same, but they are equal. Everyone deserves the opportunity to be the best they can be. I am grateful for the women who came before me. Without them, there would not be as many doors open to me and other women today. That's what I hope to do as Miss America/USA, set an example for other women and open doors so others can be successful too."
Why this answer is effective:
1. It doesn't slam men.
2. It hints at, but does not actually say "feminists" or "suffragettes" or "women's lib" or any other hot button terms associated with women fighting for the rights they should have had all along, but didn't because of our aggressively paternalistic (that means favorable to men over women) society.
3. It puts the position of Miss America/USA into a context of "helping" other women. Of course this is complete BS, but it sure sounds good!
"Nothing" is not the right answer!
Answer #3: Most Admired Person
One of the most perennially (that means every year) popular questions is "Who do you most admire?"
Whatever you do, don't blurt out the first name that comes to your mind. In fact, don't even say the person you really most admire -- unless that person happens to fit my criteria.
It is best to avoid people in the following categories:
1. Music stars
2. Film stars
3. TV stars
4. Sports stars
5. Political figures
UNLESS ...they are involved in some amazingly altruistic (that means selfless, giving, good) cause that helps others. For example, Brad Pitt as an actor is a "no." However, Brad Pitt and his work to rebuild New Orleans is ok.
But you have to be careful about the cause. For example, think twice before naming someone who is a big PETA supporter (PETA is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) or Greenpeace. Some people, possibly including the judges, consider these fringe groups to be full of nut-job wackos.
You're pretty safe with saints and Mother Teresa, but steer clear of Popes. If you don't understand why, talk to me privately later.
Best choice for Most Admired Person: You simply can't go wrong with someone in your own family. Dad, Mom, Sis, Bro, Grandma, Grandpa, etc. Also good are former teachers, coaches or "everyday people" who have made an impact on you.
Bonus points if the family member/teacher/etc. is nobly battling an illness or other life challenge.
Why this answer is effective:
1. It sounds sincere, even if it isn't.
2. It is as non-controversial as they come. The chances the judge who asks you this question (or any of the other judges) has met the admired person in your life are minuscule (that means really, really, really, really small). You're on live TV, so they can't exactly fact-check to make sure Grandma really is undergoing chemo for breast cancer, now can they? Bingo! They can't help but give your answer full points!
3. It makes you look down-to-earth and like an old-fashioned family gal. Even the staunchest liberals in the audience support families (Fox News reports to the contrary).
Miss California on gay marriage
Answer #4: Famous Person You'd Most Like to Meet
While similar, this is not exactly the same as #3. However, the rules for answering this question are also similar to #3.
Now, the first name that pops into your head may be Johnny Depp. I mean, who WOULDN'T want to meet Johnny Depp? (I'm using him as an example. Feel free to substitute your own well-known heart throb).
But Johnny Depp is not going to score big with the judges. Why? Because he's "only" an actor. He is not associated with any humanitarian causes (that I know of).
A far better choice is someone who will make the judges sit up and say to themselves, "Wow! This girl is deeper than I thought!"
Best bets for a person, living or dead, that you'd like to meet:
3. Nobel Prize winners
4. Famous authors
5. Really successful business people who use their money to do good in the world
6. Anyone famous who has famously overcome adversity. This works especially well if you can link the famous person to someone in your own life. For example, Michael J. Fox because he, like your dear Uncle Joe, is fighting MS...
6. Saints. Everyone loves a martyr for a cause -- but not a rebel without a cause, although James Dean is an acceptable choice, assuming you even know who James Dean is (or was).
People to steer clear of:
1. Religious figures (other than saints). Even Jesus himself is a lightning rod for criticism!
2. Politicians. Founding Fathers (Washington, Jefferson, Adams, etc.) are ok because people pretty much agree they were cool. Lincoln is good, too. But avoid politicians from the 20th Century forward. For every person who thinks JFK was awesome, there's another who still believes Nixon was not a crook.
3. Sports Figures -- unless you are 100% sure they never, ever used steroids.
Why these are effective choices:
1. They are not polarizing (that means tending to divide people into camps).
2. Yep, that's pretty much the only reason.
Compare and Contrast Finalists' Answers
Answer #5: Questions about YOU
I know, your first impulse is probably, "Oh goody! I get to talk about my favorite subject, ME!"
Not so fast there, little missy. It's not quite that simple.
You may be (and probably are) self-centered and shallow. But the goal here is not to sound like you are. The goal here is to project an image that the judges will lap up like whipped cream.
Here are some suggested ways to do this:
Show Humility: Obviously you wouldn't be there if you weren't pretty. But then, so are the other 49 contestants. You didn't make it onto the national stage all by your lonesome. You had help at every step of the way.
Give credit where credit is due.Your parents, manager, your Sunday school teacher, etc.
"I was raised in a family where everyone supported and believed in each other. My parents taught us good family values. They worked hard so I could get a good education and enter beauty pageants. They taught me the value of working hard, too. It's an honor to be here representing the state of (fill in your state) and I just hope I can do everyone back home proud."
Don't be a Bimbo: You may spend your days working out, surfing and reading fashion magazines. But don't tell the judges that! In this year's Miss USA pageant Miss California blew her chances (IMHO) by gushing about her goal of always being in a "happy place" (or similar California-esque drivel -- and I can say that cuz I live here). I remember thinking to myself, "You bozo! All you had to do was switch the emphasis from making yourself happy to making others happy, and you would have nailed it!"
Don't be a Stuck-Up Sexist: I'm dead serious on this one. I've heard contestants talk about how they enjoy wrestling or roping hogs with their "guy friends" but don't really get along with girls. And this is supposed to make us like you more? I don't think so!
In summary, if you're asked a question about yourself, make sure you don't just talk about yourself. Talk about yourself in a way that creates an impression -- even if it's totally false -- that you don't live in a beauty queen bubble.
Got it? Good!!
Now repeat after me:
"I'm proud to be an American. If it weren't for being an American I would not be here, because this is the Miss America/USA pageant. My dream is to become Miss America/USA so that I can be more like the person I most admire, my Dad. Although he never got to be Miss America, he did get to fight for America in the Gulf War. My Dad is my hero for the way he raised us with good family values. Besides my Dad, who I already know, I'd most like to meet Thomas Edison. Thomas Edison gave the world the gift of electric light that we still use today. I have one of his light bulbs over my head right now. You may not be able to see it ,because my hair is teased up pretty high. But I know it's there and it's going to help me give a good answer no matter what the judge asks me, so that I can become the next Miss America/USA and be a proud American!"