The PRO’s and CON’s of being an Independent Candidate Pt.2

The second part of a two-part series on the pro’s and con’s of being an independent candidate in a beauty pageant here in the Philippines.
There is only a couple of Pro’s I’m afraid. But boy, these two Pro’s could surely pack a punch!

* Freedom! And all that comes with it.
– You won’t be tied down. You can easily choose who you want to work with, who you want on your team. I have heard some stories from pageant girls of restrictions imposed by some members of their past camps. Like which hairstyle to wear, what type of makeup to use, which designer for prelims/ finals…to horror stories of not being allowed to do what you want only to see other girls do those that you can’t. Well, kiss that kind of drama adios if you are an indie pageant girl.
– You won’t get to experience envying other girls in your camp for favoritism because you are on your own! That kind of freedom from that kind of pressure is a huge deal because you can concentrate on your own gameplan. You will be so busy working on your own strategies that you won’t have time to think of comparing yourself to other girls when you’re in a camp.
– You are free to change your gameplan as it suits your needs and the needs of the competition. Sometimes some mentors could be too rigid and inflexible in their methods. And its their way or the highway. When you are being thrown a curve ball, you cannot expect not to adapt your response to it. In a pageant journey, routes can change but the destination is still the same.
– You have the freedom to cut yourself off from people who don’t have your best interest in mind. The camp comes in a package and you may not necessarily gel well with all of them. Personalities clash and you might find yourself doubting what your camp may say on what is best for you. If you find yourself resisting more than accepting what is being taught, then you might be better of as an indie girl. When you are independent, you can choose to surround yourself with people you get along with and choose to cut off toxic people.
– When you are an indie pageant girl, you become more appreciative of peoples who extend you help. You become more grateful for small victories. And when you are surrounded by such positivity, you find yourself enjoying the pageant more. When you are enjoying the experience you get to show more of your personality which will surely get you noticed in a positive light.
* You get to be your own boss lady. And that I believe is the best part of being an independent candidate. 
– You define who you are. That is a powerful thought because it puts you at the center of your own story. There is nothing more rewarding than being your own empowered woman, a current buzz word in the pageant community nowadays.
– You claim your own victories and losses as your own. If things don’t go your way, you cannot blame somebody in a camp if you have none. You take your own losses as your own and those build character. And as such, you won’t expect things just to be handed to you.  You work hard for those things you want. Because you know that easy comes, easy goes. And when the moment of victory arrives (in whatever shape or form), the victory is all the sweeter because you know what it took to get there.
– You get to be comfortable making tough and uneasy decisions. As an indie candidate you would rely on your own personal navigation system a lot. You get to do what feels right to you without much noise from everybody else.
It will take lots of hardwork and hustling from the onset but if you are a girl who loves to have her freedom and who loves to take charge, then being an independent candidate might just work out for you. It will not be easy, but the rewards will be amazing. I strongly recommend that you take an introspective review before making the decision to jump on the indie pageant girl bandwagon. It is not easy joining a pageant and being independent is not for everyone.
I still would recommend you to be in a pageant camp (specially those that really provide good training and support system) as they can properly guide you through the ins and outs of a competition… specially if you are a newbie candidate. If you are a ‘yes sir/ ma’am‘ person, this might become a trouble for you later on. You probably be better in a camp if you would need more guidance than the average person. You just need to be open to them and communicate where do you want to take your pageant journey through. Because at the end of the day, it won’t be the camps or handlers who will be competing onstage but YOU. Ultimately, your pageant journey will be about you.

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The PRO’s and CON’s of being an Independent Candidate Pt.1

I have spoken of how having a pageant camp nowadays is no longer the biggest advantage a pageant girl could have in joining a pageant. And I have certainly spoken about having a personal glam squad to help you out is an added advantage. This post is about demystifying the romanticized ideals of going to pageants as an independent candidate.

First off we list down the Con’s.
* You gotta be a tough nut to crack. Mental preparedness is key because things will not be easy. That kind of journey inwards should be the first step that should be your foundation for everything you have to roadmap later on.  As an independent you have to withstand being on your own first before you can have people flocking to your support. You gotta know who you are and be solid and comfortable in the person you are. Know that you are enough, and if you have doubts about that then you have to work on your confidence level.
* You gotta do your own homework on Personal Brand building. Know your own strengths and weaknesses and build plans for those. You taking ownership of your pageant journey will have to rely on how you want to be packaged and seen by the world. You would need to do your own research as you have to plan out your pageant strategies all on your own before you can add people to help you out. Having a clear sense of direction would make things easier for you an an indie candidate.
* Network like a telemarketer on crack. Because you are on your own, you would have to build your core team from ground zero. There will be a lot of NO’s before you could get a single YES. But keep knocking on doors, make sure they are the right kinds of doors for you. So you would have to rely on your connections and their connections to build a network of people that would help you for your pageant preparations.  Because this is where others can help you on your weaknesses. DO NOT be afraid to reach out to designers, media, makeup and hairstylists, pageant personalities and past queens for advise. Most of them genuinely would want to help out or would easily connect you to the right people.
* Prepare serious amount of moolah. Pageants are costly. In other countries, prospective candidates would have to pay the entrance fees and their own wardrobe and makeup for the pageant. SO if you are gonna do it on your own, be prepared that you are financially ready to shell out serious amount of money. If you aren’t that liquid, this is where your connections comes in. Prepare to make x-deals with a number of designers, photographers and fashion professionals. Build relationships with them so that they will be willing to help you out for free. But do not forget them once you won.
* Prepare earlier than anybody else. The girls with pageant camps would usually start preparing/ training on an average of 2-3 months before the application starts, as an independent you have to move that at least 2 months earlier. Because you will have to prepare for a lot of things like pasarela, hair and makeup tutorials, wardrobe planning, photoshoots, etc… Part of that time is taken up by building your own core team. So you have to decide early if you wanna join a pageant as an independent.
Those are just some of the Con’s and I am sure that there are many more that the list might not have covered. But these are the biggest ones and the most pressing of all.
Watch out for part two as we will be listing down the Pro’s of being an independent candidate.

Planning the Perfect Pageant Wardrobe Pt.2

By now you have an idea on your personal style. You know what works for you and your body type. It is now time to prepare for the type of clothes that you would be needing for your competition.
This post covers the most basic outfit items you need to plan out. It is probably not the most extensive list as some pageants require additional outfits for talent, preliminaries, outdoor activities, etc…

The Interview Outfit
In some pageants, the close-door interviews accounts for the biggest chunk of your preliminary scores. It is wise to make a good lasting impression during the interviews. Which makes the outfit you wear all the more important. Your interview outfit has to communicate you as a person. But it should be treated like interviewing like a job as this is exactly like a job interview. So make sure you do select the appropriate outfit and accessory: not too over bling-y, not too sexy or revealing, not too colorful, not too drab either. You are not required to wear a blazer. A dress or dressed-up separates would do. Prepare a couple of outfits just in case that there would be two separate interview sessions.
The Evening Gown
You might want to prepare at least 4-5 evening gowns for international pageants. Separate them by those that we call the “competition gown” versus the evening gown that you may be required to wear during the welcome dinner or a fancy party like the Governor’s Ball or the Charity Gala. What is a competition gown you say? The competition gown is usually the gown that has the ‘wow factor’ on stage. They are typically embellished or create movement… or they simply are the ones that would make the wearer get noticed during the evening gown competition.
The Swimsuit
Your swimsuit option should be made based on your body type. Some two piece bikinis are only flattering to a narrow range of body types, so you have to know what works for you. In cases where you can choose from a wide array of swimsuit styles, try to choose one that is monochromatic and doesn’t have a lot of patterns or prints so as it does not distract from the wearer.

The National Costume
Most international pageants require a national costume to be included in their wardrobe requirements. Most local pageants do not require this however. To really get the most out of your national costume, try to do research with your designer on the type of costume you want to wear. Try to make it authentic to your country. But you can be creative and over-the-top for this if you want.
Daily Wardrobe
This is the most difficult portion of the wardrobe to prepare because of the number of outfits you have to prepare. Try to get a picture of how many days there are in the pageant and that is the minimum number of day outfits you need to have. This number does not include rehearsal outfits, interview outfits, gowns and the like. So you need to know how much dresses vis-à-vis separates do you need to bring.
Rehearsal Outfits
Rehearsals are part of your pageant activities so you might want to come in prepared for this. While there is no clear-cut rules on what to wear, you might want to consider an option that is both comfortable and stylish. You want to be comfortable in rehearsals, but you can do that and still look like you are fashionably on point. Try to do research on sportswear brands (sportswear doesn’t necessarily mean athletic wear brands like Nike or Adidas) and imagine how they would fit to the activity.

Not all pageants have the same personalities and preparing outfits for the competition proper should include consideration on the activities you will be having. Each of your outfit should communicate something about you. Each outfit should offer a glimpse of your personality and taste. They say clothes makes the man, hence you should take into consideration how your clothes affect how you feel about yourself and how people see you in them.
In the end of the day your clothes should always enhance you and you should never wear anything that overpowers you or those that are not in sync with your personal style. Your clothes should reflect you, the best version of you…

Planning the Perfect Pageant Wardrobe Pt.1

How do you plan for your perfect pageant wardrobe? This is obviously something that all pageant girls have to think of. It may not be simple as you think but we can help out the planning stage to get into your best pageant wardrobe.

When planning for pageants, keep in mind that this is not your usual day-to-day outfit planning. This is a bit trickier than that. You have to know what you want and what image you want the world to know through your wardrobe. Most people do not necessary think about this but your pageant wardrobe should be a tool to communicate yourself to the world. It should be able to speak something about you without you having to verbalize it.
You have to consider carefully the following points before shopping for clothes.
1. Personal Brand/ Image – before discussing your personal style, you have to think first about your personal brand or the personal image. Are you: strong, empowered, confident… or empathetic, soft, approachable… or classy, sophisticated, reserved…or edgy, fun, energetic? You have to know who you are inside-out. Your personal brand should be true to your personality. You have to amplify this on your pageant wardrobe because it is one way of getting yourself noticed.
Your personal brand should be consistent in all aspects. Because this is the building blocks of how your wardrobe should be. This will dictate the fabric, color, silhouette and embellishments that your pageant wardrobe will be.

2. Body Type & Skin Tone – crucial to your wardrobe is figuring out your body type. You really need to assess whether you are top or bottom heavy, an apple shape, or an inverted triangle. You need to figure out if you have a long torso with short legs or wide hips with small bust. Because if your body is not the ideal proportions, you should use your wardrobe to make you look taller, leaner and stylish. Use fashion to create the image of a fuller bust, leaner legs, smaller waist, etc… You also need to know your skin tone because honestly no one skin color can pull off all colors. Blue, the most flattering color for all skin types, have hundreds of shades that will look differently on different skin color. Not all whites can flatter every complexion…warm whites have different effect as optic whites on a variety of skin types.
So, pageant girls you really have to invest time on pre-planning your wardrobes. Dress according to your body type to minimize your flaws and maximize your assets. This is where a good image consultant/ stylist slash friend can come in handy.
3. Personal Style – your personal style will be defined by combining your personal brand with consideration for your body type…because every wardrobe decision would have to be consistent with your brand. This makes building up your wardrobe easy, because you can easily put in those that reflect your image or the image you want to project. Once you have streamlined what pieces you would want to include in your wardrobe, it would be easy to tie them all up with accessories (earrings, belts, neck-pieces, arm bands and bracelets, shoes, bags, etc…) that complement your style. This would entail investing on pieces that you can use and re-use in varying mix-and-matches to keep your over-all look always adhering to your personal brand.

One of the most common mistake in planning pageant wardrobes is that pageant girls jump immediately to the selection of the gowns, national costumes and the dresses. This would only result to an incoherent personal style. Try to build your wardrobe by working on your personal brand and style to achieve a consistent look throughout the pageant proper.
Part 2 of this 2-part blogpost focuses on the items you need to think and plan for.

Miss World Philippines Winners: Battle Ready upon Coronation

One of the biggest criticisms that the Miss World Philippines had was the relatively short amount of time that our winners get to prepare. Since the time that the franchise was acquired by Cory Quirino in 2011, preparations of Philippine delegates seem to be cramped within a 2-3 month period. Some even in just 5-6 weeks.

The Miss World Philippines has been criticized by several pageant fans for its competition dates that leave very little leg room for preparations for the world finals. More often than not, candidates have less than 3-4 months to prepare themselves for the international competition that sees more than a hundred countries competing for the top prize. She who prepares in advance is most likely to win as she has to hit the ground running from the time she is crowned Miss World Philippines.
With too close a date to the international finals, most winners would have to compete in the Miss World Philippines as if they are already competing for the Miss World pageant. That is the strategy that should be adopted to be able to really make a killing at the nationals. Now that is a very tall order to ask for national competitors specially those who are coming from the provinces whose first national pageant would be Miss World Philippines. The only way that they can adjust to this is to prepare at least 6-8 months prior to the Miss World Philippines nationals or 12 months in advance for the Miss World competition. This would give pageant hopefuls enough time to come up with their Beauty with a Purpose project, Talent, Dances of the World, etc…

For Miss World, preparation is the key. Since the national pageant is pretty much fixed on the end of the 3rd quarter of the year, it is the MWP hopefuls that needs to adjust to the rigorous challenge ahead. There is no time for the swan-like transformation we hope to see. Our MWP winner has to be crowned ready for the challenges of the world.