“Ask Alyssa” – April 2014

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"Ask Alyssa" - April 2014

Q: Hi Alyssa! I’m Cassandra, and I’m a major fan! I want to be a pageant girl so bad, and I really want to model! I applied at a local modeling agency but they never got in contact with me! I was wondering, do you have any tips of how to start my modeling career and to actually sign up and place in pageants?

Alyssa: Hello Cassandra! My best advice for someone just starting out in modeling is to have someone take natural photos of you. No filters, no Photoshop. Do not pose or overthink anything. Just be you and natural. Have body shots and close ups. Have your hair down natural for a few photos, and then show the side profiles of your face with your hair up. Have very minimal makeup on. The most you should ever have is a little concealer and a light touch of mascara. Submit your photos to local agencies with your stats (height, measurements, etc). If you do not hear back, try another agency. Try again. This industry is full of “no” but after some patience, a “yes” comes along.

Q: Hi Alyssa, Ill be competing in this year's Miss Texas pageant and I’m wondering what can I expect during the pageant weekend? What goes on during pageant weekend?

Alyssa: Every state pageant is different (as I learned when I competed in New Jersey and then later California), but they all promise to be fun. Usually on the first day, there are registration and arrival photos, followed by your private preliminary interview with the judges. Rehearsals tend to follow. Either later that same day or the next day, the preliminary swimsuit and evening gown competition takes place. Whenever you are not on stage competing, you are on stage rehearsing. Especially with a state like Texas, there will be a lot of contestants and a lot of choreography to cover, so pageant coordinators take as much time as they can to rehearse. The final day is the final pageant, where one lucky young woman is crowned at the conclusion of the pageant. The days are long, and your feet might get sore (check out my blog post on what to pack for pageant weekend here: http://www.jumpersandjasmine.com/fashion/what-to-pack-for-miss-usa/), but you will most certainly enjoy the thrill and excitement that surrounds you all weekend long. 

Q: Hello Alyssa! I’m a big fan from Brazil. I would like to know what was the first thing that you thought when you had your name called as the new Miss USA? Thank you!

Alyssa: Hello to Brazil! The first thing I thought of when I won was, “Wait is this real?” and “Oh no, what do I do about my car in valet?!”

Q: Hi Alyssa!  So, I’m Tracey and I’m 18 years old and I will be competing in my first ever pageant this upcoming August in Miss Texas USA. I am not trying to win, but I am definitely going to try my best, and was wondering if you could please give me some advice on how I can do well at this event? I am EXTREMELY nervous, but on a side note, the State Director did write on my application that I “should definitely do this and you are perfect for this!” So I hope that’s a good sign lol!  I will appreciate any advice you can give me, I’ve been studying on this A LOT along with working out and eating healthy. Thank you so much! :)

Alyssa: Congratulations for being selected as a contestant! The best advice I can give you is to stay out of your own head. Do not let any voices in your head contradict. I know you have been studying a lot, which is great, but at the same time I do not think you should over-study. It’s always best to be completely natural because then you will find yourself the most relaxed. You won’t be trying to be something you are not. Judges are going to want to see the real Tracey. Nervous? Keep smiling! Guess what? The judges are nervous too! They have to select one winner for the entire state of Texas to represent them at Miss USA. Even if you do not go home with the title (which I have done many times), you will be able to walk away comfortably knowing you did your very best because you were YOU. Best of luck!

Q: Hello Alyssa! I am a proud Campaneller! My question is a little personal. You and Torrance are perhaps the most ideal and THE couple I have ever seen! You both are always by each others side. He came to Brazil to support you during Miss Universe when you were having a tough time and you have always been posting about him and his TV series and always praising his success! Please share some secrets on how you maintain such a strong bond (which I pray will be there for another 1000 years). How do you handle your highs and lows in a relationship? Much Love :)

Alyssa: Aww, well I do not like to speak too much about my personal life, however, my best relationship advice that I can give is that it is very important to maintain COMMUNICATION. Being open, up front, and honest is key. It’s best not to keep any secrets (unless you’re planning their surprise party or something!). The more open you are, the less you will find things to argue about.

Q: Hey Alyssa! I am about to compete in a Miss TX prelim. I have a tattoo on my wrist which was gotten in memory of my best friend who passed away. Should I cover up this tattoo for the pageant, or should I wear it proudly?

Q: Hi Alyssa, I just had a quick question. I'm running for Miss Utah USA and I have three tattoos on the inside of my left arm. I know that Utah is a conservative state but I would like to think that my tattoos would not define me. With that being said, would you cover them or let them be out? I am a strong competitor and cannot wait to be on the stage and apart of this pageant. Id like to think that the judges could see past these and see my personality.  Thank you for your help.

Alyssa: Since both of these questions are similar, I will answer them together. Pageants always make a big stink about having tattoos covered up. While I personally see tattoos as art (my mother and sister have beautiful tattoos), some pageant judges and directors see them as a nuisance. At the end of the day, it’s YOUR call. Unless it specifically states in the rules that all tattoos need to be covered up, the choice is yours. If you feel your tattoos help show who you are, great! If your tattoo is in memory of someone and you want to proudly show it, great! If you answered any of those questions with no, then you have your answer.

Q: Hi Alyssa, my name is Tyler and I am competing in Miss Pennsylvania USA 2015. Do you have any tips on getting sponsors?

Q: First of all I would like to say I'm a huge huge fan of ours!!! My question is what are some ways I can gain sponsors to pay for my pageant competition if I don’t have the money to do so myself? Thanks:)

Alyssa: Hello ladies! Sponsors are great because yes they can help you with all sorts of pageant fees varying from registration to your gown. If there is a certain brand or company you would like to partner with for sponsors, it is best to either call them or to send them a professional email, explaining you are, which pageant you are competing in, your pageant experience, why you are calling them, and why you are inquiring if they would be interested in sponsoring you. You can also ask to meet with them in person if they are local. Hopefully this helps! Good luck!!

Q: Hi! Miss Alyssa, My name is Daryll from the Philippines. I am one of your avid fans since your winning Miss USA 2011. Being an American and a former Miss USA what is your opinion about LATINAS always making the TOP 5 in the Miss Universe? What do you think is the greatest edge of Latinas or even Americans over Asians, Europeans, and Africans?

Alyssa: Hello Daryll! While I cannot answer for any judge who has judged Miss Universe in the past, it’s no secret that the Latinas certainly know what they are doing when it comes to beauty pageants. And while I also cannot answer for any Latina who has competed (and placed) at the Miss Universe pageant, I believe that in Central and South America beauty pageants are one of the best and the top aspirations for women.  I recently watched an hour long documentary on beauty pageants in Latin countries, and girls start at a very, very young age prepping for pageants and those preparations do not stop until they are retired former beauty queens. I think that might explain why Latinas tend to do so well at Miss Universe, but it could also just be sheer coincidence. 

Q: Hi, I am considering in participating in Miss California in the next couple of years and i have the following questions: How did you know that doing pageants was right for you?  How did you prepare to become a contestant?  What is one of your biggest tips to in becoming successful? Thank you for considering at least one of my questions and Alyssa you are one of the best Miss USA, I wished that you would have won Miss Universe because you deserved it.

Alyssa: First of all, thank you very much for your love and support. My start in pageants happened to be just by chance. I received a letter in the mail for my state competition due to my Seventeen Magazine subscription, and at the time I would do anything that involved me being on stage, which included pageants. I was also still in that awkward phase in high school and still trying to discover myself. My parents gave me the choice if I wanted to try to compete, and I figured what harm could it do? I watched my very first pageant just months before my state pageant, I got my gown at a local bridal shop, my mom bought me a nice swimsuit, and that was the extent of my prep for my first year. I placed in the top 15, which to me was a huge success, but I decided to come back and try again the following year and try to place higher. My best advice for success is to ask yourself what is success to you, and keep going. There have been so many times in my life where I have wanted to just give up before I have reached a goal, but then I realize I would not feel happy or successful if I just quit. What kind of example would I be setting? I hope this helps and I wish you all the best!

Q: I got an open call for National American Miss (NAM) , what should I wear a dress or something I wear everyday?? What should I accept to be asked. I really want this.  Thanks for reading this and I cant wait for your reply . :)

Alyssa: Congratulations! Unless otherwise specified in your pageant packet or rules, you should always dress a reflection of yourself. You do not need to always wear a dress. You can wear nice pants and a nice top and some heels. You should always go into any interview or open call as natural as possible. Everything will flow and come easy because you aren’t trying too hard or trying to be someone you are not. Best of luck!

Q: Hi Alyssa! I wanted to know your tips on how to get “swimsuit ready” and did you have any “cheat days” when preparing!

Alyssa: Everyone’s body is different. My body is different than yours, and your body is different from the person next to you. I happen to have a super fast metabolism, so my cheat days are everyday (don’t hate me!). However, the best advice I can give to anyone trying to be more swimsuit ready is to focus on making sure you are getting the right amount of protein (usually 20-22 grams per meal) and vegetables when working out. Believe it or not, your body does need some carbs to function! I’m not saying to go and eat a whole baguette, but I would suggest against cutting out carbs completely. Having a cookie once in a while is not going to hurt you. My favorite type of workout for the body is Pilates, since it involves stretching and strengthening your muscles as well as keeping them lean and toned.

Q: How would you suggest one should prepare for their pageant interview/onstage question?

Alyssa: My best suggestion would be to have a parent or another friend or relative constantly ask you questions on the spot, especially when you are not expecting them. It will help you to think on your feet a lot faster, making that “dreaded” preliminary interview and onstage question less dramatic. I would be swimming in the pool or driving my car when suddenly my mom would ask me a question out of nowhere to catch me off guard. We would start doing this randomly several months before any pageant. It did help me tremendously, and also helped me throughout my reigns.

Q: What is your advice for doing TV interviews? I have a Persian pageant show on May 10th any advice for live shows?

Alyssa: Participating in an interview on live television sounds so nerve wrecking, but my best advice is to tell you to pretend the cameras are not there. You are just talking to the host. The more casual and intimate you keep it in your head, the more relaxed you will be. Do not think about the camera. Forget about them.

Q: Hi Alyssa, First of all you are my favorite Miss USA to date, congrats on all your success, Ive always truly admired your individuality and how genuine you are!! I recently competed in the Miss Maine USA pageant and didn't take home the crown. I feel deep in my heart that I have everything it takes to be the next Miss USA but also was very disappointed. I know you competed multiple times to win California and I was wondering what kept you going, and how did you know you would succeed? Any advice and wisdom from you would be priceless and mean the world!

Alyssa: I can understand your disappointment. It took me two times to win Miss New Jersey Teen USA. Then once I did win, I did not win Miss Teen USA. Of course that can be a little heartbreaking. Then, since I felt that because I had competed in my state’s Teen pageant I thought that competing in my state’s Miss pageant would be just the same. But I was wrong. Twice I competed for Miss New Jersey USA and neither time did I win. One year I did not even make it to the top 5. When I moved to California and decided to try Miss California USA, I honestly expected it to take me a couple more tries before I would win. Hardly any California contestant had won California on her first try before I competed. Every time I had lost, I took comfort in knowing that everything has its time. Every heartbreak and every disappointment was a reminder that things in life are not just handed to you, even when you feel you deserve it. My advice is to keep going. Use what you feel deep in your heart to your advantage and not give up. Yes, it hurts when we try for something and don’t always get it, but use that fuel you forward. Whether the reward is the crown or something else, the disappointments you once felt will be worth it all.

Q: Hi Alyssa! I am such a huge fan! I recently won Miss Teen Illinois Galaxy 2014 and I will be competing at the Galaxy International Pageant in August. I have very fair skin and I struggle with spray tans because it seems like my skin does not like it and it comes off quickly. The pageant lasts a week. What are some tips to make a spray tan last longer? Which kind do you recommend?

Alyssa: One of my biggest struggles during pageants is maintaining that darn spray tan! My best advice is to exfoliate exfoliate exfoliate! It’s best to exfoliate right before you get sprayed. Then limit your shower time. Do not use very hot water to wash, as it will help the tan fade quicker. Also when you step out of the shower, do not rub yourself dry. Tap yourself dry. I maintained my tan at Miss USA with Neutrogena spray tan (available at drugstores) that I would apply every other day or so when needed. I try not to spray tan my face – I rely on makeup for that instead. I hope this helps!

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Have a question for Alyssa? Whether you're seeking pageant tips or advice, curious about her experience as Miss USA, or just want to talk pageants, click here to "Ask Alyssa".

This article was written by Alyssa Campanella

Alyssa Campanella was first introduced to pageants at the age of 15. At age 16, she won the title of Miss New Jersey Teen USA 2007 and placed 1st runner up at Miss Teen USA 2007. At age 20, Alyssa was crowned Miss California USA 2011 and ultimately won the crown and title of Miss USA 2011. Serving as Miss USA 2011, Alyssa traveled around the world on behalf of numerous charitable organizations and placed in the Top 16 at Miss Universe 2011 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. You can follow Alyssa on Twitter at @AlyssCampanella or visit her personal blog at www.jumpersandjasmine.com.