The World of Beauty Pageants is a fun, challenging and exciting world. I am going to share with you the best beauty pageant tips I’ve amassed over the years of competing.  I was crowned Miss. Italia North America; I traveled to Italy for 3.5 weeks to compete on the World Stage at ‘Miss Italy’. Recently in 2014, 2015 and 2016 I was crowned ‘Miss Superbowl Sunday’. In 2017 I tied for first place in the competition. I have also been crowed Miss. Budweiser Honda Indy.

These tips apply to pageant contestants but certainly also apply to anyone in acting or the business of show business…

Theresa Wins Miss Budweiser Honda Indy

 I ALWAYS take home the crown!
Now you can too…
Here are my best pageant tips:

Biggest Pageant Tip #1:  Always being ‘ON’

You are ‘ON’, whenever you hit the stage. You are definitely ‘ON’ when speaking with anyone involved in the pageant.  Importantly, you are also ‘ON’ while in the hair and makeup chair.

Hair and Make up matter a lot in the entertainment / pageant world. When you are in their chair be relaxed but present. Try to avoid being on your phone while in the makeup chair or hair chair. For sure, avoid eating or drinking while getting your makeup or hair done! Be respectful of people working with you and on you.

“Always being ON”  means your exterior must essentially be pleasant, content & happy. You are ON & you are fair game to be judged. Avoid talk about anything personal while in the makeup chair … ie // ‘Im having a bad day, ‘I’m tired’ or “my ex-bf did this,’ or ANYYYYthing…!!” (Especially negative things.) It’s certainly OK to acknowledge all of your thoughts … internally.  What gets you the win is monitoring everything that comes out of your mouth. Watch what you say. Around the clock.  In your hotel room. To your friends in the contest. It all matters. Always BEING ON increases your chances of winning the pageant dramatically. This is how you win.

Biggest Pageant Tip #2: Leave Your Worries Behind. You are Good! Be yourself.

YOU are good and you already have everything inside of you that allows you to win.
Try to leave any worries behind when you walk into the building where the pageant is being held.

Additionally, when you are ON STAGE:  ALWAYS, ALWAYS ALWAYS, hold your pose . It doesn’t matter if your feet hurt or your leg is tired from being bent, you just do it, and you SMILE HUGE the entire time. Anytime your foot hits the stage: Always have a big smile and bright eyes. Always.

During the pageant, be aware of your hand movements. Be highly aware your face movements. You always, always always want to be smiling huge. I know you might think it looks stupid, but that is how I won one of my biggest crowns (Miss Italia North America). The judges loved my smile.  Always hold your head high. Shoulders back. You are strong. You are the best. When you know this you will win.

I talk about hand movements because you want to pretend you have mittens on.
Your fingers should be nice and together, not all crooked or clenched, or anything like that.  Just nice and relaxed, but fingers together… (as if you were doing a queen wave).

Various international pageant Judges I’ve talked to say that they do take note of small details. Especially when its a close race. Even if the judges do not notice the small details;  You are definitely being photographed endlessly. You want to look your ‘pageant’ best AMAP 🙂
Paris Hilton once said that the endless pressure of the paparazzi meant she knew she is always photographed. It is futile to try to stop photographers from taking your photo – so make sure you make the best of the situation by looking your best for all your photos! If you do well to manage the media tour, the crown is more likely to come your way.

 The Pose!

Maybe your face looks awesome, and your hand is waving nicely, but your shoulder is too high by your chin! Always relax your shoulders fully.
In this photo, your pose is nice, but you were fixing your hair! Forget what your hair is doing. Honestly. Forget about your hair. (More on this later…)

You’re smiling big, but maybe your pinky finger keeps going tea -time wonky. 
 Always know what your hands are doing.

Below is a photo of me during a live televised segment in Italy prior to Miss Italy of the World.  … introducing myself, addressing the crowd … in Italian. They surprised us with this event to see how well we would fare. Obviously a little nervous to speak a considerable amount of Italian to 3000 Calabrese Italians.  In preparation for this task, pageant officials told us to ‘dress nicely’.  We were told we were attending an “event”. Little did we know, there were 3000 people on hand to watch us introduce ourselves as contestants at Miss Italia Nel Mondo.
…  Yet a classic example of me doing exactly what I shouldn’t be doing with my hands. 🙂

Theresa Longo
Pageant Tip:

ALWAYS, SMILE! Smiling a huge, genuine smile. A big, nice smile. If you feel silly, just start thinking of funny things and then make up some pretend thing in your mind to keep you smiling. You’ll smile just because you’re smiling. It’s really kind of fun.

Don’t worry about the audience whatsoever. They are background noise. Just totally ignore them. Do your thing. This crown is for you. It’s already yours just stay focused to get your hands on it!

Theresa Longo wins Miss Italia North America

Pageant Tip * A Very Common Pageant Mistake*

One common mistake, is ‘ fixing’. Once you hit the stage, there is no fixing.No touching your hair, none! No, nervous pulling or tugging or adjusting. (Unless your hair gets stuck in your lip gloss or something … do NOT touch your hair!). WINNING Pageant Tip: No Hair Fixing.  
Do your own hair, or have a conversation with the stylist to determine what is the best (most manageable) style for you to wear depending on the event.
Pageant Example: If you know you will be touring the entire day for 10-12 hours (posing, greeting people, signing autographs)  choose a hairstyle that will hold up, and resist the heat if it is hot outside. Many professional stylists know the tricks of the trade.
Always say you love your hair and makeup. If you must adjust your make up or hair to your liking, do so privately and happily. Wear whatever dress they give you, smile, and OWN YOUR LOOK.
Remember: You are always on.

Summary of Pageant Tips Thus Far:

– Keep the pose (ALWAYS keep your pose: One leg bent, arm on hip, SMILING HUGE)
– No fidgeting or touching your hair or brushing it over your shoulder, nooooothing!

When you are on stage, you are watched, judged & analyzed every second. That means, every second, you must be ON. Have a look at this line up of the pageant finalists to see exactly what I mean:

Theresa Longo at Miss Italia Nel Mondo

It happens to all of us. It is difficult to stay in full blown pageant character 100% of the time. These are really strict rules. This is why there is only one winner.
One of the most difficult parts of the pageant during the initial contest: Staying in ‘pageant’ character. You must be willing to stand in heels, one leg bent, hand on hip, for upward of ten minutes while they talk about whatever!

You must be as still as a statue, not moving. 🙂

Theresa Longo at Miss Italia Nel Mondo

Pageant Tip: Try This for Practice…

While at home, prior to the pageant – Put on heels, practice a pageant pose and hold it, smiling for ten minutes. You can meditate and make it fun.

There are many times in pageants when I want to move, or fidget, but I really try my best not to and it works.

Sometimes pageants are massive.  An example of one beauty pageant I was a part of. Miss Italia of the World (World Pageant) is a 3 week long lead up to the final event.  IMAGINE, being ‘ON‘ from 7am when you wake  for hair, makeup. Makeup and hair involves touching, pulling, prodding, and painting :).  Sometimes you  stay up way too late on Facebook and finish an entire day of promotion, ending at 10PM each night…. for 3.5 weeks! 🙂
There is a lot of travel involved. There are a lot of photos and promotional tours for pageant sponsors.
It is a time you will never forget. Many aspects and people intersect together to make a pageant whole.
It is a wonderful experience to be involved in a beauty pageant!

An additional Beauty Pageant Tip:

If you really want the title,   you will do whatever they (pageant officials) say, you do it with a big smile, and you stay quiet. Keep your thoughts to yourself no matter how tired or hungry or crummy you feel.

World Beauty Pageants can be demanding, because, as I said, its usually a 2-6 week deal. You can imagine what it is like to be ON all day, every day for that long. You literally give yourself to them. You also get to experience the world in an incredible way. We visited all sorts of amazing places while in Reggio, Calabria & met incredible people. What a blessing!

 Additional Beauty Pageant Tips to help you WIN! …

Practice Interview Questions – This is a great way for you to prepare for your moment to shine. Judges always ask different types of questions. Some may purely be about yourself, and your lifestyle, and are often easy to answer. Some questions can be quite deep and philosophical, this can be a bit trickier.

Pause Before Answering – Say anything except: “um”.
Be confident. Speak Slow. . .  and take a few seconds to think about your answer. This shows you’re considering your answer carefully, and that you are comfortable in your own skin.

Keep Up to Date with Current Affairs – A top pageant interview tip is to pay close attention to what is going on in the world. The judges may ask you something about an event that has happened recently, and ask for your opinion. Study what is being said on the news and in the papers, and decide your stance.

Additional Pageant Tip:

You are incredible no matter what. Even if you win or lose the pageant the experience & people you meet will always be unforgettable.  If you follow the guidelines outlined above, you will learn the best Pageant Tips to help get the win more often!

My concluding advice is practice. Hold your pose in heels. Practice walking in heels with your hands nicely put. Practice smiling for 10 – 15 minutes straight. Always love your hair and makeup & be willing to go outside the box.

Things that helped me win titles: Being personable, being honest, genuine, caring. SMILING HUGE!  Staying as still as a statue, and acting as if I am in front of royalty at ALL times!! 🙂

Theresa Longo Wins Miss Budweiser Honda Indy

Pageant Tip: Follow this advice!

Write down your goals. Start writing down exactly how you envision your highest self. Write it down like it is happening now.  <– This can apply to your entire life, & not just with your modeling goals.

I hope you have found my Pageant Tips helpful & insightful!
Good luck in all your competitions & may all your dreams come true!  



Theresa Longo crowned Miss Superbowl Sunday 2014 and 2015!


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About Theresa

Canadian Feature Film Actress & International Model. Qualifications include live television, feature film, radio experience, TV Host, event production, & PR. Theresa flexes her knowledge of brand development and marketing while pursing a career in the arts industry in the heart of downtown Toronto. Skilled as a strategic marketing & planning expert, Theresa Longo travels nationally and internationally as a Corporate Brand Ambassador and loves to write and record original music.

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