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What the Judges are Really Looking For

Pictured: Myja Gary, Miss Black USA 2021

It can be tricky figuring out exactly what the judges want to see in a winner. I've had the opportunity to judges tons of pageant and talk to judges across various systems. Here's the top thing I repeatedly hear judges in the top pageant systems share that they are looking for in their "it" girl:


Presence is a combination of your nonverbal communication skills and ability to captivate when you walk into a room. All elite winners of state, national and international pageants have the ability to engage through their presence. Therefore, presence is essential to making a connection with the judges. According to social psychologist and bestselling author Amy Cuddy, people quickly answer two questions when they meet you: Can I trust this person? Can I respect this person? To be an influential contestant, you need judges to trust you and see you as competent.


You've heard it over and over - you must be confident. Confidence is the faith and belief you have in yourself. If you don't believe in yourself, why would the judges?

You can cultivate your confidence each day. In the daily decisions you make you can strengthen your confidence muscles. Conveying confidence once you are in front of judges helps them to see your ability to be a successful titleholder.


This is one of the most overlooked qualities that contestants do not develop. Judges are looking for a girl or woman who is a leader. You must build your leadership skills and demonstrate those in front of the judges. Judges want to see a contestant who not only has vision but the ability to carry it out and inspire others to do the same. As a titleholder, you are a public figure who's expected to make a powerful impact. Therefore, leadership skills are key to communicate your value as a potential queen who will leave a lasting legacy.

Need help developing these qualities? I'm an email away at!


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