Miss Junior High School pageants, in some states also called Miss Middle School pageants, are beauty contests for teens from ages 12 to 14. The event can be arranged by a school or by a private professional pageant operator. In many circumstances the pageants offer cash prizes or scholarships to the winners, and the competition can be fierce. Consider a few tips before throwing yourself into the pageant frenzy.
Every pageant starts with the application form, which you should read and fill out carefully because it will introduce you to the judges before they set eyes on you, and it will be in their hands when you make your first appearance. Mention any youth groups, sports clubs and church activities you regularly attend, and give an indication of your reasons for participating. Mention any unusual hobbies you might have because that will increase the interest of the judges and give them something to ask you about. Pointing out good grades is also a good idea, particularly when the pageant is arranged by your school.
Posture and Poise
Walking straight with your head held high is a sign of good posture, which is essential at a pageant. Good posture can best be achieved by being active and doing workouts that strengthen the belly and lower back muscles that hold you erect. Poise and grace are a bit more difficult to achieve, as they should be part of your natural behavior. Taking dancing lessons will help as they will give you a sense of rhythm and a feeling for natural movements. If dancing isn't one of your talents, join the school drama group where you will learn to express yourself through gestures and body language.
Makeup and Hair
Junior high pageants allow makeup but usually suggest a moderate approach to the color scheme and amount applied. When dealing with your hair, a good hairdresser or stylist is your best bet to succeed. Look up hairstyles of pageant winners online, and take printouts of your preferred looks to the hairdresser to discuss the options and suitability to your facial features. In certain pageants arranged by schools, a hairdresser and makeup artist are provided.
For many, the dress is the most important aspect of the pageant. However, it is not the dress itself but the way you wear it that makes it special. Choose a dress that is age-appropriate and that makes you feel good when you wear it. Search online for pictures of pageant winners in the junior high category and evaluate their dresses. If you see something you like, spend some time finding it and even more time trying out various options. Take along someone you trust, not necessarily your best friend as she might be competition. Your mother, sister, aunt or even dad might be best suited to give constructive criticism.
Junior high school pageants often have a talent section, particularly when operated by a school. Performing alone on a stage can be quite daunting, so you should rehearse in front of your family as often as possible to get used to the feeling. If you are unsure about what your talents are, read a poem or a text you like and are comfortable with. Simple gymnastic exercises are also favorites, but ensure that you can perform gracefully and with some technical skill.
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Based in the U.K., Petra Turnbull has been working as a journalist since 1989. Her articles on the film and book trades have been published in "Screen International," "Dagens Naringsliv," "Film Magasinet" and other Scandinavian newspapers and magazines. She now manages her own book shop. Turnbull holds degrees in law and economics from Goethe University, Germany and Oslo Business School in Norway.