13 Ways to Prepare for Your Daughter's First Beauty Pageant
How to Get Started in Toddler Beauty Pageants
If your little diva is itching to be in toddler beauty pageants, you need to consider many factors before filling out that entry form and sending in the fee. Glitz pageants, even small local ones, are often highly competitive. National winners sometimes use local pageants as practice sessions. Also, toddler beauty pageants (or any other type of pageant) are not cheap when you include everything you need to be competitive. Here are a few things you should think about:
- Start your child in pageants before they become a toddler. Baby beauty pageants are popular, and entering a baby is a lot less stressful for the parents in both time and money. You won't have to go through the labor and expense of tasks like tanning, makeup sessions, modeling, flippers, or intricate hair-dos.
- Think of your first pageant as a trial run. You'll get an idea of whether or not your daughter still wants to do beauty pageants after she's actually experienced one. You could luck up and actually win your first pageant, but the odds are not on your side, especially if you're competing against seasoned girls.
- Build up the excitement! Play up the fun! She doesn't even need to understand that she's actually competing against others. You don't want to put any pressure on her. The main thing you want her to do is to have a good time.
- For small children in toddler beauty pageants, stage personality is very important. If the judges see she's having fun, she'll get a higher score. Let her be a little silly on stage if she wants. Some natural silliness is better than a stiff, robotic performance. I've seen personality beat natural beauty and gorgeous dresses!
- There's usually a lot of wait time backstage, so be sure to take things to entertain your little girl. Storybooks, hand-held video games, and coloring books with crayons are all good ideas. Do not take markers—she'll end up with marks on her hands and arms.
- Rent or borrow a dress for your first pageant. There's no need to plop down $1,000 for a drop-dead dress until you know you both want to continue doing beauty pageants. If you don't want to rent a dress, purchase a non-glitzy dress on eBay and stone it yourself. We did this for our first pageant, and we not only won the prettiest dress, but we also won the pageant—over numerous seasoned girls!
- For shoes, you'll need plain white Mary Janes with a matte finish—not shiny patent leather. You also have to pick up white socks with a couple of layers of lace, but don't get the ones that have numerous lacy layers. You don't want your DD (darling daughter) to end up looking like a poodle. You might want to add just a few small Swarovski stones to the socks.
- You can style her hair in an updo or have her wear it long. Most of all, her hair must look neat. The can of hairspray is your friend! If you decide on an updo, tease the top a little and have a strand of hair framing her face. If her hair is fairly short, pull it up to her crown and secure it with a rubber band. Around the ponytail, place one of those scrunchies with curls. These are available at wig supply stores for just a few bucks—a lot cheaper than a real wiglet, and they'll be fine for a first pageant. If your DD wears her hair down, pull it back from her face. You can curl it into ringlets or simply turn the ends under. No matter which style you use, you'll need to add a hair bow that matches the dress. Don't go overboard with the bow. You don't want it to distract the judges from looking at your DD's face, but you do want to add a few Swarovski stones to the bow for sparkle.
- Do not put her dress on her until almost the last minute. There are just too many things that can happen. She'll need a button-down shirt to wear backstage so it won't have to go over her head and mess up her hair. Just before she walks out on stage, "fluff up" the skirt portion of her dress and look for any dangling strings.
- If you're in a lineup for the prettiest smile, there's a trick I used that very often worked. Kneel directly behind your daughter and whisper something funny to her. Lightly tickle the back of her neck, too. She'll likely respond with a full natural smile that the judges will love.
- Having a partner in the audience is a good strategy. Have him or her sit directly behind the judges, several rows back, holding up a hand puppet. This will get your DD to look in the direction of the judges and will help elicit a natural smile.
- For a first pageant, walk out on stage with your little girl. You'll probably lose points if she's over four or five, but that doesn't matter. Remember, you're not really trying to win this one. You're just testing the waters.
- Most beauty pageants give a small trophy or some other token just for participation. If your DD doesn't win one of the big trophies or crowns, make a fuss over her participation award. Display it proudly in her room. This will give her a feeling of accomplishment and a confidence boost.