With the exception of Miss World, all renowned beauty competitions include a swimsuit segment. The importance it takes in the determination of the final result varies from system to system, but it cannot be denied that the figure of the contestant is responsible for a significant part of her total score.

You would assume this would indicate that as a contestant you have to strive for the perfect body. Nothing is further from the truth.

To begin with, what exactly is the perfect figure?


Over the years the perception of the ideal figure has changed considerably. Miss Universe contestants in the Fifties and early Sixties would be considered “zaftig” by today’s standard (ABOVE PHOTO) and if they saw today’s delegates (PHOTO BELOW) they would probably urge them to have a hamburger.

Miss Universe 2015

In the heyday of pageantry the measurements 36-24-36 (inches for chest-waist-hips) were considered to be the ideals to strive for. Note however that if you are 5’2” with the measurements 36-24-36 you will look quite different than if you are 6’ with the same. Another thing is that you could be a bodybuilder with those ideal measurements. There is nothing wrong with that, yet that is not a look favoured by beauty pageants.

Then there is the pesky issue of proportions. How are your legs? Are they short, long or just right? A yardstick for evaluation indicates that the distance from the top of the thighs to the ground should be the same as the distance between the same starting point and the top of your head. Whatever the ideal may be, proportions are something you are born with and are not changeable or operable.

Take a look at Miss Universe 2014 in 2015, Paulina Vega. For many she won because she has a perfect figure. If you look closely though you will notice that her hips are considerably wider than her chest area. In her case, she does have the benefit of having wide shoulders.

Paulina through her walk and poses created the illusion of perfection. Her figure at Miss Universe was very lean and that is the first requirement for a winning swimsuit performance. Leanness and firmness are the operative words. Any perceived disproportion is then dealt with through your walk and posing to create the illusion of perfection, by beauty pageant standards.

The choice of swimsuit can also go a long way in helping you achieve perfection, but not all pageant systems allow their participants to bring their own competition swimwear.

So, to prepare yourself for the swimsuit competition first and foremost eat healthy and exercise. Once you have achieved the best fitness result for you, familiarise yourself with your body. Then find yourself a catwalk coach that is able to not just teach you how to walk and pose, but most importantly to design a swimsuit performance that is going to win you that portion of your competition.

Photo credits: Marcos Hirakawa, Emil Naquib, Miss Universe Organization






It is easy to spot a winner.  If you can imagine her on stage in an international pageant, she’s the one.

It sounds basic, but the pageant world has never been more competitive and it is usually apparent to a judge from the outset who has the attributes and qualities required to be able to rise to the challenge.

I look for energy, poise and elegance in a contestant on stage.  I don’t like to see an over-exaggerated walk, nor the flicking of a swimwear sarong like an aggressive matador.  Keep use of hands to a minimum.  Confidence is key, and less is more when it comes to a beautiful, flowing walk with great posture.  Posture is a bugbear of mine – head up, shoulders back.  It makes such a difference to how you look and feel.

In interviews and on stage, I love a contestant who will look each judge in the eye in turn – it conveys great warmth.  Interviews should be fluent and eloquent without gabbling, and a well-prepared finalist will steer the conversation so as to talk about the subjects close to her heart.  To me, interviews are less about their content than assessing how a contestant handles herself under pressure, and her ability to be able to talk articulately in a given situation.

A judge wants to see natural confidence embued with an unbeatable star quality.  If you can walk, smile, talk and feel like a princess, you have all the attributes required to become a queen.

Sally-Ann Fawcett

Recognised as the “Hedda Gabler of the Pageant World”, Sally-Ann Fawcett is the author of “Misdemeanours:  Beauty Queen Scandals” and the forthcoming “More Misdemeanours” (Amazon).

A former participant herself, Sally-Ann is a much in demand judge at pageants throughout Great Britain.

Photo Credit: Lee Dare



Welcome to The Pageant Consultancy, where our aim is to provide you with useful and relevant advice as you embark on that very unique experience called beauty pageants. You can also visit us if you just want to put your best foot forward as you present yourself to the world on a day-to-day basis.

We will provide you with the necessary information to get you started and/or organised in your preparations to compete in any beauty pageant, anywhere in the world. Off course we cannot take the place of a live coach, someone who is actually with you to observe and comment on your performance. Depending on where you are competing in the world and in which pageant system, your pageant organisers will provide either no or limited preparatory coaching leading up to the competition or they may subject you to intense, detail-oriented, training in the months, weeks and days ahead of that important Finals Night. Therefore you may not require the services of a live coach or that coach may ultimately be the main catalyst for you wearing that desired crown.

A live coach is useful because you are obviously unable to look at yourself during your presentations. You may think you are doing everything perfectly yet be overlooking an important detail. That is where the coach comes in, to be the eyes you cannot be for yourself.

Before you get to the point of selecting a coach, we will assist you in preparing yourself in all aspects of competition. This way you can identify which areas you require most coaching in, thereby using your budget in the best way possible.

You will probably spend months preparing for your competition. Your actual competition time however, will be between three to nine minutes, depending on the time allotted to the Personal Interview. Therefore you will put in a lot of work in order to make an impact in a very, very short time.

We are here to share with you what we have learned about successful competition in over thirty years of experience. We will answer your questions and point you in the direction of available resources, wherever you may be competing.

Pageants are a unique arena in which young women can acquire skills and resources that will serve them in whatever path they chose later in life. Let us be your first step in that endeavour!


Richard John Isa, Coordinator, The Pageant Consultancy


Photo Credit: Nigel Wilson