THE INTERVIEW PROCESS: Interviews with American Coed Pageants is "Round Robin" Style. There will be several tables (normally 4-8) in the room with a judge sitting down behind each table and another chair for a contestant. The person monitoring the interview room will assign each contestant a table. Contestants will then have a brief conversation with each individual judge (30 seconds to 2 minutes per judge). After a timer sounds off, the contestants will rotate to the next table. When each contestant in the interview room has spoken to all of the judges, the interview is over.
SITTING DOWN: Stand with your feet parallel, knees touching the edge of the chair. Bend your knees, and set yourself down, sitting on the front edge of the cushion. Keep your knees together and cross your ankles, angling them over to the side. Place your hands neatly in your lap. Make your that you are sitting up straight and leaning slightly forward. Princesses and Sweethearts, if your feet are not touching the ground, make sure you do not swing your legs, many of the judges I have spoken to have been kicked by younger contestants! To stand up, uncross your ankles, plant your feet down firmly, and straighten your legs.
1) Make Eye Contact: This is a sign of confidence and honesty.
2) Smile When You Talk: Be excited to meet the judge!
3) Know Yourself (and Your Opinions) Well: In the interview, the judges want to know about you, I always tell contestants to have at least five interesting stories about herself.
4) Review the Information on Your Application: Many judges like to ask about your activities and interests, be prepared to explain everything on your application in infinite detail!
5) Shake Hands with the Judge: It is always nice to offer a hand to the judges, but use your own discretion. Some directors instruct their girls not to shake hands with a judge, but if the judge offers you a hand, by all means! Shake their hand. Practice your handshake! Make sure it is a firm one.
6) Ask for Clarification if You Do Not Understand a Question: The judges are real people, and understand that sometimes they do not make themselves clear. Just make sure you ask politely ("I am sorry, I do not understand your question." is much nicer than simply saying "What?!").
7) Justify Your Answers: Tell the judges the why! There must be a reason to why you love chocolate chip cookies.
8) Check for Lipstick on Your Teeth Before Interview: Nothing is more embarrassing!
9) Have a Sense of Humor: Everybody loves to laugh!
10) Have Fun and Share Your Life Experiences: This is the most important!
11) Be Optimistic: Remember, there is a positive side of every situation, if they ask you what your worst personality trait is, find the positive. (i.e. if you procrastinate, then share with the judge how you are trying your best to champion this obstacle; if you are "picky" like me, take a closer look, maybe you are a perfectionist, who wants to take things one detail at a time)
12) Chat with Other Contestants While Waiting in the Holding Room: This is a great way to loosen up before an interview (and a wonderful way to get better acquainted with your colleagues). Interviews are a conversation, talking with the other girls will warm you up before crunch time!
13) Think About Current Events That Affect Your Generation: At this pageant, judges are instructed not to ask contestants about politics, religion, and boy/girl relationships, but "statement of opinion" is always a legitimate question. Know what the major issues are for your age group, how it affects you, and what you have done to help. During the 2002 National Pageant (11/01), I was asked how I felt about the 9/11/01 attacks, and what have I done to help. Almost anything is possible.
14) Keep Your Grades Up (Morally and Academically): Remember, this is a scholarship pageant, to represent American Coed well, you need to have All-American values, image, and lifestyle. Take care of yourself inside and out. Work hard to get on the Principal's List (the "A" Honor Roll), set high standards for yourself, and take initiative to achieve your goals. If you live like a winner and work like a winner, then by all means, you are a winner.
1) Lean Back on the Chair: It may be comfortable, but it looks sloppy and makes a person think that you are disrespectful.
2) Use Idiosyncrasies/Slang: "Umm... like... well... ahh... you know... that thing... it was da' bomb diggity! Man, it totally rocked! I mean... geez, it was a rush, and I thought it was tite! Dude, it was bank, where's my car? Anyways! Yeah, It was sweet, I was totally stoked." I am sure you get the idea, be a lady, save "Teen Speak" for your friends.
3) Chew Gum: Gum is distracting and unattractive.
4) Roll Your Eyes When You Think: This was a problem I had, just practice the interview and video tape yourself.
5) Ramble: Just answer the question. Time is precious.
6) Preach: It is wonderful to know that girls have Christian values, but make sure you do not sound like you are trying to persuade someone to convert to another religion or change their political views.
7) Carry a Purse (or any other "excessive baggage"): At every pageant I have attended, there is always one girl that brings her purse into the interview room when they have been instructed not to do so. Remember, the judges came to see you, save the hat, gloves, and purses for sportswear modeling. Leave your personal belongings in safe place, or if you are older girl who brought make-up to do touch ups, do not hesitate to ask a queen or staff member to hold them for you during the interview.