5 Things Judges Look for During Pageant Interviews

By Chelsey S. Rodgers, Esq

In the pageant system, the interview portion is the most important part of the competition. The judges know that you will be representing the brand of the pageant you are competing in and it is necessary that you can speak well to the public gracefully. Here are my top 5 thoughts on what judges look for, in reverse order.

5.  The fifth most important thing judges look for during your pageant interview is whether or not you LOOK the part for the job of a titleholder. Your look encompasses your hair style, makeup, appropriateness of your wardrobe and accessory choices, manicure and/or pedicure, and how well you resemble your head-shot in the program book.  Your ability to impress the judges begins as soon as you walk through the door into your interview and a well put-together look shows the judges your readiness for the job of a state titleholder.  

 4. Judges pay close attention to proper grammar usage.  The job of a titleholder exposes you to a variety of public and professional audiences. One way to show the judges your aptitude and intelligence is the use of proper grammar, which includes, but is certainly not limited to, correct subject-verb agreement, use of correct nouns and pronouns, and proper verb tense.  This may seem insignificant and yes, everyone gets nervous, but keep in mind the nature of this job.  What separates a strong contender from other contestants is the ability to put nerves aside and carry on conversation with a professional tone.

 3. During the interview, judges pay close attention to the content of your answers.  This also applies to the questions in your paperwork that is submitted to the judges.  Every written or verbal answer you provide should address some area of experience or personal characteristic that demonstrates for the judges your qualifications to carry out the job of a titleholder.

 2.  During the interview, judges are looking for complete answers; a complete answer to a question consists of what, i.e.“this is my answer,” and why, i.e. “this is why that is my answer…”  Addressing only one part of the “what” or “why” of a question without the other short changes the contestant and wastes a valuable opportunity to build a personal connection with your judges.

 1. Judges look for CONFIDENCE.  This is the most important thing judges look for during an interview! Your confidence is a major factor to finding success in the pageant world!

Judges from the Mrs. Pennsylvania America 2018 pageant prepping for their interview session with the contestants. (L to R: Cristine Gollayen, Terri Begg and Tetra Shockley, Esq)

Judges from the Mrs. Pennsylvania America 2018 pageant prepping for their interview session with the contestants. (L to R: Cristine Gollayen, Terri Begg and Tetra Shockley, Esq)

About the Author:

Chelsey Sophia Rodgers, Esquire is an attorney, beauty queen, business owner, and inspirational speaker residing in Washington, D.C.  She served as Miss District of Columbia International 2010 and Miss District of Columbia USA 2008. 

Chelsey is the owner of Brains & Beauties Pageant & Lifestyle Consulting and has served as an emcee and local/state pageant judge for multiple pageant systems, including the MAO, MAOT, MUO, Miss Teen USA, Miss United States, Miss International, Miss Teen International, Miss Black USA, Mrs. America pageant systems.

Chelsey is a summa cum laude graduate of Spelman College and juris doctorate recipient from Howard University School of Law.  She is licensed to practice law in New York, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.