Social Media’s Power in Pageantry

It has been a long drawn out debate how social media is not a barometer of one’s success in pageants. But let us reflect back on this topic now, in the context of the global pandemic, where being connected digitally is the norm rather than the exception.

In the past 3-4 years, we all have relegated Social Media as a non-essential factor in one’s pageant journey. However, here at Sashes&Scripts, we no longer subscribe to that ideology. And we believe this to have changed around 2 years ago.

Before anything else, let us first clear one thing: social media following is NOT the same as a Strong social media. They are not and will never be the same thing. Social Media Following is speaks of quantity, that’s number of followers and number of updates. Having a Strong Social Media is about quality. It’s about a strong visual language, engaging captions and conversations, discussions in the comment section, and most importantly image building. Social media strength is not about frequency of posting, but rather putting out quality content that your audience will respond positively to.

Virtual Resumes

Nowadays employers do background checks on prospective employees by checking their social media feed. This is no different in pageants. To believe that pageant organizations and even judges do not seek out pageant girls on their social media accounts is both naive and unrealistic.

This is why pageant girls are instructed to ‘clean up’ up their social media feeds so that past posts would not haunt them. Just think of Miss USA 2020 Asya Branch’s gay slur tweet, or Miss Universe Romania 2020 Bianca Tirsin’s black face controversy, or Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini’s rape joke.

Asya Branch’s explanation of her 8-year old tweet…

Just as social media can destroy one’s reputation, it can also be used to build someone up tremendously. Candidates are expected to show a positive image that people can look up to and aspire to be. By posting relevant, engaging, and quality content, pageant girls can present themselves in a professional and authentic manner by curating their feed.

Speaking about one’s accomplishments is something that pageant girls often do in interviews and one can take that further into their socmed feeds. Posting about your social responsibility projects, speaking about your passions, and informing your audiences on charitable causes is one of the most important use of social media.

Getting in Touch with Followers

Arguably, one of socmed’s positive aspects is how it brings one closer and more in touch with one’s followers. And one of the best examples we can show is how Miss Universe Philippines candidate Alaiza Malinao has showcased authenticity and relatability in her feed.

Alaiza’s ability to be relatable to her audience is exemplified by the way she communicates with them on Instagram and Facebook. She uses the same language that her audience can understand. She places herself among her audiences so that they aren’t alienated from her. And this is one of the keys to effective communication.

One of our Instagram followers @jutarejingjing commented in one of our posts:

"The power of social media are its content and influence... In real life, ordinary people like me for example, would go to Instagram to see her beauty and what kind of persona she projects; go to YouTube for her interviews to gauge her intelligence and communication, etc. go around Facebook and Google her to find more significant details about her. It helps to know them. 
In the prevalence of the internet we know the international candidates before the finals unlike in the old days we know the winners mostly after they win because of what we see in TV or read in publications. In fact I heard certain Miss Universe judges say they checked the social profile of the candidates beforehand as the finals approached."
Providing Infotainment

The regular posting of glamshots is one of the most awaited features on social media platforms. Moreso on Instagram. But what social media can do is much more than that.

Of course posting of glossy images of the pageant girls is now a mandatory thing, but so is promotion of the different designers, makeup artists, fashion stylists, photographers, hairstylists, etc… that helps promote the people behind the scenes. More promotion for them means more possibilities of glamshots with more of these fashion professionals. It helps both the pageant girl and the team behind her to be more popular.

Imagine this for sponsor shoots, then you can definitely increase the income potential of the pageant organization should a pageant girl promote the products of the pageant sponsor.

Miss Universe Thailand, Amanda Obdam, have consistently and regularly posted updates on her social feed which keeps her followers entertained and updated on her journey for the Miss Universe title

But there is more than just that as social media can be used to spread information for the good of everyone. During the 2020 series of typhoons in the Philippines, numerous pageant girls have helped spread information on rescue locations and communications, donation drives, etc… this is on top of sharing useful information on how to’s of evacuation, relief efforts, etc… When the pageant community first got wind of the seriousness of the Corona virus during the first quarter of 2020, pageant girls and beauty queens helped disseminate information about the deadly virus. We think that the pageant community have helped greatly in slowing the spread of the virus…

Social media can be used to do much good.

Building an Authentic Advocacy

When it comes to advocacy and social media, it is best exemplified by Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray. She used images, videos, public appearances and interviews as a platform to speak about causes that is most dear to her. And her social media template is one that is now the gold standard that every pageant girl is trying hard to replicate.

In a world where “pics or it didn’t happen“, having ‘receipts’ posted on your social media feed is now essential. People will believe that they see and nothing is more visual than one’s Instagram or Facebook feed…

Summary
I think people are confused & limiting social media to mean only FB [Facebook], IG [Instagram],Twitter, YT [YouTube]. Social media is also made up of apps, devices & other platforms, specially livestreams (like Zoom, Twitch & Discord), that people use to communicate in real time nowadays. 
Best example to date to have used all forms of socmed in full capacity is ME [Miss Earth]. And let's be honest, big audience live shows are still gonna be a pipe dream unless the CDC [Center for Disease Control] comes up with a super miracle cure. Vaccines don't provide guarantees so large "gatherings" are held on social media platforms; this is the current safe way for pre-&-final judging commitees to see a candidate's journey in real time. We don't know if & when MU [Miss Universe] will surely be held live so it's best to adapt to this part of the new normal. (Perhaps people are afraid of the new normal?)
- @thejanetvjohnson

Social media, we believe, will have a larger role to play specially nowadays when large social gatherings is still restricted and one’s mobility to do public appearances and social responsibility projects are limited. It will play an essential role in visibility from the candidate and a communication tool of what she is doing with her title, or for those competing still, for the title.

We firmly believe that social media influences how the ladies are judged. Having a good impression of one’s image is important and if social media builds a pageant girl’s image to the judges before or after meeting them, then that’s an advantage. Let us remind you of an excerpt we have written in 2019, in an article titled Is Social Media a Huge Factor in Winning Miss Universe:

"To say that social media has no bearing to the scores is a truth but it is naive to think that no judge has not and wouldn’t have not seen or felt the girls’ presence in social media one way or the other. Because the judges may not check the girls’ social media out but the pageant organization surely does. And the org has a huge say on the type of winner they are looking for. Never delude yourself to think that the girls aren’t judged by their social media presence. They aren’t scored but they are definitely judged, one way or another."

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