One of the most important factors to consider when making the decision to enter a pageant is which pageant system to compete in. Most systems are similar in the competition format they use, but pageants tend to have differing goals and expectations for and from their winners. So the first question you have to ask yourself is “which system would I be most comfortable becoming and being the winner in?”
As is well-known, all the major beauty pageants, except Miss World, include a swimsuit round. It means that being physically fit is important. Miss Universe used to expect a lot from its contestants in this round, whereas there is evidence that in other systems you can get away with less effort. It used to be that if you were fit enough for Miss Universe, you are ready for the other contests, yet being fit enough for another competition did not mean you were Miss Universe-ready. Therefore one primordial question to consider is “how much effort am I willing to put forth in getting fit?” In pondering this question, please take into account that Miss World also has a fitness round, albeit centred on sport performance rather than physical appearance.
Closely related is the issue of being willing to compete in a swimsuit round. If you are not, then the only real option available to you is the Miss World system. Miss Universe has allowed a Muslim contestant to compete in a burkini and some national pageants, preliminary to an international contest which includes a swimsuit round, have allowed contestants to compete in the swimsuit portion in a different kind of garment, to cover their bodies. Many have applauded this move as empowering to the young women involved. We believe this just allows one individual to impose their will on the organisation and the other participants, therefore disempowering them. Each pageant’s rules are known in advance and if a contestant has any objection to any of the requirements of the contest, she should simply not compete.
Another consideration is whether the competition includes a talent round. Do you have a pageant-worthy talent or do you have time to actually fake one?
Another issue to ponder is the length of the international competition. This can vary from a few days to close to a month. The longer the contest, the more activities there will be and the greater the amount of money you will have to invest in an appropriate wardrobe and the more it will cost you to transport all that wardrobe to the pageant’s venue. It also means you will have to take more time off work or studies. Are you willing to invest all that time and money?
Finally, you have to consider what is expected of the winner of the competition. Some pageants require you to live in their headquarter city for the duration of your reign and travel extensively. This may sound glamorous, but stop to consider whether you really are willing to put your regular life on hold for a period of time and submit your independence to an organisation.
You should enter into a pageant with open eyes, aware of all that is expected of you. If not you could be in for a rude awakening.