You can ask Kandace Krueger

One thing I always tell my coachees is that they have to compete to win and prepare to fail. Competing to win means you have to give it your all. Preparing to fail just recognizes that the odds are not forever in your favour.

We have an interesting relationship to failure, as we attach all sorts of meaning to the fact that we have failed at something. The “Oxford Pocket School Dictionary” defines the noun “failure” as “not being able to do something”. That is all failure is, really. There were some measures you wanted to meet and you were unable to.

Off course, in beauty pageants failure is somewhat harder to take because your success depends for a great part on the opinion of others, the panel of judges. In sports you train hard for an event and after the event you know immediately whether your performance was sufficient for you to be successful. You also know which measures you need to improve in order to win next time.

Beauty pageant results are dependent on the personal opinions of a very specific group of people at a very specific moment. If you change just one of the judges, you most probably will get a different result. The opinion of those judges can also be easily affected by something very simple over which you have no control. Imagine if you will that you chose a gown colour, which is exactly the same colour as one of the judges or a judge’s date wore to the prom. Seeing that gown colour will have a whole different effect on that judge if his or her prom night was one of the best nights of his or her life or if it was a disastrous experience.

Failing at something does not make you a failure nor does it mean that you are any less than the winner. The winner was successful at meeting the measures and you and many others were not. That’s all! What you need to do is evaluate the result. You may decide that for you that one time was enough and that is fine.

If winning that crown is sufficiently important for you, do try again. Look at where you can improve your performance, make the necessary adjustments and go back on the field.

One shining example of someone who never let failure hold her back is Kandace Krueger,  who won the Miss Texas USA 2000 title at the age of 24. Since turning 18, Kandace had competed in local Miss Texas USA preliminaries, doing well but never winning.

In 1999, Kandace won her first local title but did not place at Miss Texas USA. In 2000 she won her second local title and, in her first appearance in the Miss TEXAS USA semi-finals, Kandace went all the way to win the right to represent Texas at Miss USA 2001.

Kandace won that title as well and placed third at Miss Universe 2001.




Continuing from our previous discussion on the Pageant Interview, we will now look on how to conduct yourself in the actual interview.

The final piece of preparation is to select one topic which you would like to tell the judges about yourself. Then you are ready to face the judges!

The interview can have two different question formats:

  • the direct question, in which you are asked a specific question on a specific topic, i.e. “What would you do to inspire the youth of your country?”
  • the open-ended question, in which you basically get to decide what you want to talk about, i.e. “Tell us about yourself?”

Starting off with an open-ended question is off course ideal, because you can go straight in and talk about the topic you selected beforehand. Do, however, avoid the following pitfalls:

  • do NOT start by saying your name. You have already been announced so the judges know who you are
  • do NOT mention your age, unless it is relevant for the topic you are going to talk about, i.e. you are 20 years old,  have been working since you are 16 and you are now the proud owner of your own home
  • do NOT mention your profession or study, unless you are going to talk about why you chose that profession or study as an insight to the person you are

The trick with a direct question is to structure your reply in such a way that you get to talk about the subject you chose beforehand. Some questions are easily malleable, whereas other aren’t. It also depends on your topic.

If you find that you can’t direct the question, answer it quickly in order to get another question. When I say quickly, I mean without embellishment. It is extremely important to answer every question properly.

If you are asked a question that you are comfortable with and very knowledgeable about, keep talking so that you do not give the judges the opportunity to ask you something you are not comfortable answering. Make sure you do not start repeating yourself though. Only stretch your answer if you have a lot to say about the subject.

Body language is also an important aspect of the Personal Interview. It is therefore important that you know how your body reacts when you are stressed.

  • if you have a tendency to fidget, sit in a way that will make make fidgeting more difficult
  • if you use your hands a lot when you speak, hold one hand over the other in your lap so as to control your hand movements
  • always address the judge that asked the question. Do however, take time during your answering to look at each of the other judges
  • look the judges in the eyes. Averting their eyes creates the impression that you have something to hide. If looking at them straight in the eyes makes you uncomfortable, focus on the space between their eyebrows
  • dress appropriately. Never wear cocktail outfits. You don’t have to wear a suit, but take into account the time of day and the fact that you are interviewing for a job
  • make sure what you are wearing and the way you sit does not give the judges unexpected views
  • do not wear distracting earrings or necklaces

It will for sure help you to practice, so invite some of your friends over and do some mock interviews.

If you are planning to compete, the best way to prepare for the Personal Interview portion of any pageant is to join a Toastmasters Club about a year before the date of your pageant. To this day I have found them to be the best coaches in the area of public speaking and structuring of your thoughts for communication to others.






NOTEWORTHY: This is How You Do Pageant Photography


Zara Nortley, Miss Galaxy England 2016

Photographer: Stacey Clarke

Make-up: Sascha Martini



NOTEWORTHY: This is How You Do Pageant Photography

Alexandra Krijger, Miss Curaçao World 2015

Photographer: Niko da Costa Gomez,