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Modeling & Pageantry
The Cost of Pageants and Other Facts (karma: 3)
By fdlgirl_002member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 485, member since Mon Dec 16, 2002
On Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:04 PM
Made sticky by oz_helen (35388) on 2008-07-16 06:02:51

Competing in pageants can be as expensive or inexpensive as you want it to be. The big thing is finding a pageant that suits your needs and budget.

One of the main things to look at is entry costs:
MAO (Miss America Organization) requires that each contestant raise a min of $100 for each local preliminary she competes in and $250 for her state pageant should she qualify. Each state representative needs to raise a min of $500 for the national pageant. All of the money raised is donated to the Children's Miracle Network and is tax deductible. I, personally, did not find it difficult to raise the money.

In contrast, competing in MUO (Miss Universe Organization) is much more expensive, usually. The entry fee for many state level pageants is upwards of $600 which DOES NOT include meals, hotel, and other things needed for the competition.

Competition Wardrobe:
My biggest expense, personally and I find it the same for many other contestants, is my evening gown. I own 7 evening gowns and each costs an average of $500. I have some that are much more and some that are less. There are gowns that cost $6000 and it is not uncommon for some girls to have several. It really depends on how much you want to spend. A good thing to keep in mind is to set a budget before shopping for a gown and look online for pictures of what you think you may want. Judges don't know the cost of your gown and an expensive gown doesn't necessarily mean you will win. "It's not the gown; it's the girl in the gown."

Swimsuit wasn't as much of a cost to me because it is so easy to find swimsuits that are suitable for pageants. I have one from Target and another that I found at TJ Maxx. However, buying designer pageant swimsuits can be a major cost and is sometimes a good investment. Jayme Shaw and Winnwear swimsuits, two of the major pageant swimwear desigers, cost an average of $350-$500(US). Lady M Swimsuits can also cost anywhere from $500-$1000. It is sometimes a good investment to purchase a high quality swimsuit because you will only have to purchase it once.

Interview suits are probably the easiest and hardest thing to find. Again, they can cost anywhere from $25 at a resale shop to $6000 for a designer. A plain black suit with a colorful top underneath works well for a beginner, but at a higher level most contestants opt for a brighter color that will set them apart. I have four suits. One green tweed suit I found on ebay for fall and winter months and a white suit for spring and summer months. I also have a red suit I found for $30 at a second hand resale shop. My mom and I always joke that we spend thousands of dollars on an evening gown that I spend less that ten minutes in and find secondhand suits that I spend upwards of 2 hours in. Ironic, isn't it?

Depending on what pageants system you are competing in, a talent costume also becomes an expense. I was lucky enough to find a tutu on ebay that was very cheap. Although, I have heard of girls having costumes custom made for $300 or more.

The last major wardrobe expense is shoes. I have three pairs of heels: interview, swimsuit/evening gown, and clear acrylics. Each pageant system or director may request a different type of shoe, but generally a pair of taupe interview heels and a pair of strappy swimsuit/evening gown shoes are sufficient. Heels should be the largest height in which you can walk comfortably. 3 inches is usually the recommended minimum.

Other Expenses:
Competing at a large pageant which requires travel and a hotel stay can also become a large expense if hotel accomadations are not included in your entry fee. Also, keep in mind meal costs and other emergency costs.

Pageant specific jewelery can also become costly, depending on where you purchase it. I have had a lot of luck at antique stores where you can find large clip on earrings and other things like that for a relatively cheap amount. Also, large stores like Target and Wal-Mart also sometimes have things that are substantial enough to work on stage. Jewelery can also cost quite a bit also. Swarovksi crystals, which are a popular pageants choice, can cost up to $2000.

Many girls also look to coaching for help in preparing for a pageant. I have five pageant coaches who each help in a specific area: Walking/Modeling, Presentation (hair and make-up), Dance instructor, and two interview specialists. Depending on the experience of the coach you have an hour can cost $200. There are also many coaches who are all around coaches who will help in all areas. I have found having my coaches beneficial, but I know many girls who have won a title without a coach.

Arrival clothing and rehearsal clothes is another optional expense. I have found that I feel more confident and I "psych out" the competition when I arrive in more stylish clothes. i also have four different dresses that I wear for rehearsal. Remember: you never know when the judges will "pop in" and you don't want to be wearing your sweats when they see you. Generally, arrival and rehearsal clothing can be taken from your daily wardrobe.

I have also had several one time costs including: hot rollers, a steamer, a rolling rack (Life saver!!), garment bags, hair accessories, lighted mirror, full length mirror, make-up (replaced every 6 months), and many other miscellaneous things.

As I said before, pageants can be as expensive or inexpensive as you want them to be. My biggest tip is to set a budget for each wardrobe piece and stick to it. Also, find a system that will fit you. If you want to model and be "discovered" maybe MUO is right for you, or if you're looking for scholarship money, then maybe MAO. Do some research on each pageant system in your area. And have fun, don't let it become a "must win."

Toodles!!

13 Replies to The Cost of Pageants and Other Facts

re: The Cost of Pageants and Other Facts
By reelcrazymom Comments: 37, member since Sun Oct 15, 2006
On Sun Jul 13, 2008 01:40 PM
This is a great post, very informative with lots of pointers and details. Glad you posted it for everyone to refer to.
re: The Cost of Pageants and Other Facts
By Joaniemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 1707, member since Wed Mar 30, 2005
On Tue Jul 15, 2008 10:05 PM
This is an awesome post, I'm kinda thinking of pagaents and if I do decide to partake in one I'm looking this up. It should be a sticky.
re: The Cost of Pageants and Other Facts
By fdlgirl_002member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 485, member since Mon Dec 16, 2002
On Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:28 AM
sorry that this is completely off topic, but THANK YOU FOR MAKING THIS A STICKY!! This quite possibly one of the best days I have ever had on ddn!!

Yay!! ;)
re: The Cost of Pageants and Other Facts
By kaymember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 1474, member since Sat Aug 11, 2007
On Tue Aug 05, 2008 08:12 AM
Wow, that's pretty interesting. That's a lot of money that goes to pagenting.
re: The Cost of Pageants and Other Facts
By Stronghold Comments: 26, member since Wed Oct 08, 2008
On Thu Oct 09, 2008 10:17 AM
Very Helpful post. Just entering the world of pageantry, this was a very useful post! Thank you for sharing.
re: The Cost of Pageants and Other Facts
By alicelovestodacemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 960, member since Wed Nov 12, 2008
On Sat Dec 20, 2008 05:36 PM
wow pageants are v.expensive lol x
re: The Cost of Pageants and Other Facts
By blue_eyed_hottie Comments: 28, member since Sun Oct 19, 2008
On Tue Apr 07, 2009 01:42 PM
Im 16 years old and I've been wanting to do pagents for a while just haven't . I know its a little late to start doing it but i want to do it for fun so its ok .
Do you have any tips for people my age that are beginners , or like for the dresses like is there certain colors judges are looking for in my age group ?
if you could help let me know thanks :)
re: The Cost of Pageants and Other Facts
By Abbidoyo Comments: 2, member since Wed Jan 14, 2009
On Sat Jul 31, 2010 09:45 PM
I did Miss Illinois Teen USA last year and the entry fee was over $1000. It included meals and hotel but it was still hard to raise the money. I am going to compete in the Miss America system this year, hopefully. The $1000 was too hard to earn.

Comment #9418778 deleted
Removed by Theresa (28613) on 2013-06-20 13:29:04 You can not advertise your business for free, sorry!

re: The Cost of Pageants and Other Facts
By Ivys_mom Comments: 46, member since Tue Mar 15, 2011
On Wed Apr 04, 2012 03:03 PM
My daughter is addicted to watching toddlers and tiaras. Some of the parents spend so much money on the costumes. It is almost unbelievable. I think that we will stay out of the pageant scene and stick to dance!
re: The Cost of Pageants and Other Facts
By JigEnPointemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 855, member since Mon Jan 23, 2012
On Sat Sep 15, 2012 03:13 PM
1. Paying to enter a pageant is NOT a rip-off. It is not the modeling world. It is different. The Miss America, Miss USA/Universe, and Miss Earth systems are 3 of the biggest pageants in the USA, and all require an entry fee. They are all also spectacular events that are NOT a rip-off.

2. Toddlers and Tiaras is NOT real pageantry, and those within pageantry abhor the misrepresentation that this television program encourages. If you want to REALLY find out what pageants are about, then I suggest attending your local state Miss USA and Miss America pageants, as well as the Miss Earth United States pageant.
re: The Cost of Pageants and Other Facts
By LyraOdette Comments: 69, member since Sun Apr 21, 2013
On Tue Jun 18, 2013 09:45 PM
Old costume jewelry works too; I have a pageantgirl friend and it's an unspoken rule she goes through all my jewelry (used to be my Grandmother's) first before shopping. It really looks real and is so pretty (it's about fifty or sixty years old).
re: The Cost of Pageants and Other Facts
By ShannonMurphy Comments: 5, member since Mon Jan 21, 2013
On Thu Jun 19, 2014 09:11 AM
This is a very helpful post. I have been considering competing in the MAO. Thank you for taking the time to post!

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