Teen beauty pageants are a traditional activity that can provide memorable moments, enhance your confidence, and even help you earn some much-needed cash for college.
Finding Teen Beauty Pageants
Local pageants can be a great way to get started in the world of teen beauty pageants. These events are usually associated with local fairs and festivals. You'll be competing against your own friends and classmates, adding to the fun. Look for announcements in your local paper or flyers around town looking for pageant entries.
State and National Pageants
Most national pageants offer a preliminary level of state competitions. Winners of these events are then eligible at the national level. Visit each organization's website to find out more about eligibility requirements, judging, and more.
- Miss America and Miss USA are perhaps the most recognized names in beauty pageants. Only older teens are eligible for the Miss America pageant; it has an age range of 17-24. While only teens 18-years-old and up are eligible for the Miss USA competition, Miss Teen USA is open to girls from 15-19.
- Distinguished Young Women, formerly America's Junior Miss, is open to high school seniors. Contestants are judged on academics, an interview, talent, fitness, and self-expression.
- Miss American Coed Pageants offer divisions for older teens, young teens, and preteens. The organization aims to create a family-friendly and age-appropriate pageant at all levels while helping to build self-esteem and teamwork.
- Teens who are 13-17 and at least 25% Hispanic can enter the Teen Latina World competition.
- America's National Teenager offers opportunities for girls as young as 9 and as old as 18. Judging is based on academics, activities, an interview, an evening gown competition, poise, and personality. There is a separate talent and speech competition.
Deciding to Participate
Debating whether you should get involved with pageants? The following points may be helpful in making your decision:
- Teen beauty pageants offer a great chance to earn scholarship money.
- Competing helps you develop skills that will transfer to any area of your life. Develop poise and grace under pressure. Improve your public speaking and interviewing skills. Learn how to balance competing with other commitments.
- You can make great friends as you face a pageant as a group. While you may come across pageant participants who are catty and only looking out for themselves, you're more likely to find supportive comrades.
- Pageants can become a family affair as moms, dads, brothers, and sisters gather behind a shared goal.
- Pageant participation looks great on resumes and college applications.
- You'll be able to travel and explore new locations. Whether you're driving across the country to participate in an event or traveling to nearby communities as the winner of a local title, you can meet great new people and have unforgettable experiences.
- Enjoy the thrill of competition.
- Pageants are an expensive business. Most pageants require an entry or sponsorship fee. From violin lessons for a talent competition to beauty services like manicures and waxing to the perfect formal dress, all of the pieces necessary to put your best foot forward can add up.
- Beauty pageants have a bad reputation in some circles. Some feel they are degrading to women. Others decry pageants for young girls, saying they make them dress in provocative ways at too young of an age and lead to "stage mothers" and too much pressure.
- When competing, the common teen insecurities can be magnified. You're no longer worrying whether your crush thinks you're pretty enough, but whether an entire panel of judges think you're pretty enough. The pressure to be thin can also lead to eating disorders in teens.
- A busy competition schedule can mean weekends away from friends.