Frequently Asked Questions
Initial Questions and Requirements
What are the requirements for entering the pageant?
If you are single (never married), never given birth to or have adopted a child, a United States citizen, a resident of the state of West Virginia, and you are at least 14 but under 28 as of January 1, 2017, you are eligible to apply to become an entrant.
Do I need to have pageant experience to compete in a Miss USA or Miss Teen USA state pageant?
On the contrary! Quite often our competitors are the “girls next door” with little or no pageant experience. Almost on an annual basis we have young women winning who have never competed with us before.
Do I have to win a Preliminary Pageant to compete?
No, you do not need to win a preliminary title or have previous pageant experience to participate.
Is there a talent portion of the competition?
There is no performing talent competition. There are three equally scored categories including: Interview, Swimsuit & Evening Gown.
Am I too old or too young to enter the pageant?
Never at any time are the judges directed to consider age when choosing a state winner. Age is only a factor in determining which division you will compete.
Are there any height or weight requirements to compete in the pageant?
Absolutely not! Whether you’re 4 feet tall or 7 feet tall, it doesn’t matter. In the swimsuit portion of the competition, the judges will be looking for physical fitness, which includes a healthy and fit body. There is usually a wide range of body styles and types in our semifinalists each year. We are looking for outgoing, intelligent and confident young women who are excited to represent the state.
How do you decide which young women in the community receive an invitation to participate??
We use consultants who assemble mailing lists for our use. They gather information from school-related activities, community activities, general mailing lists, etc.
What you are looking for in your winner?
We are looking for an outstanding person that will represent the state here at home, as well as at the national MISS USA® Pageant and Miss Teen USA Pageant®.
What happens after I submit my invitation to apply and my photo?
Once your form and snapshot are submitted, our review committee will determine if they feel you would make a good candidate for the title. If you are accepted to participate in the pageant, you will be contacted by email.
Is there an entry fee and if so how much is it?
There is a total sponsorship fee of $1,195.00 which covers your participation, room and meals during pageant weekend. It also covers the marketing and production of the event, as well as a year round staff to prepare the winner for her further competitions and reign. If accepted, you will receive paperwork packed with ideas and suggestions to help secure sponsorship.
What are the prizes and scholarship monies involved should I win?
Scholarship and prize money, as well as other prizes and awards, differ from year to year according to sponsors that are participating in this year’s event. For a look at last year’s prize package go to the respective Prizes page on this site.
How many contestants compete in the state pageant?
The number of contestants varies from year to year. Some years there may be more Teen USA contestants than Miss USA contestants and other years, that number is reversed.
How do I get to the pageant site and what are my responsibilities once I am there? What are the expenses incurred by my supporters and me once we arrive?
You are responsible for you own transportation to and from the state pageant location. Once there, your meals and lodging are taken care of by the pageant. Any incidentals you should incur (additional food from room service, phone calls, gift shop items, etc.) are your responsibility. Parents and friends are responsible for their own rooms and meals. Parents and friends are not permitted in your hotel room, nor are they allowed to attend meal functions with the contestants. Each contestant will share a room with another entrant. In order to keep the weekend organized, on schedule, and enjoyable for all participants, we have elected to limit the persons allowed in the contestant rooms. This way, one contestant doesn’t innocently dominate the room over the other by having a visitor, or visitors, coming and going.
Admission to the shows is by ticket only. You as a contestant do not need a ticket – everyone else must have a ticket. You may purchase reserved or general admission seats. You will receive a ticket order form in a future mailing. There is no limit on the number of tickets you may purchase, and you will be able to purchase them online or at the pageant itself prior to the shows.
You will receive an official program book, along with other gifts because of your participation. Your supporters may purchase these items along with flowers, jewelry, photo packages, videotapes and other items at the official Pageant Headquarters that will be set up during the weekend.
The pageant is divided into 3 phases of competition: For Miss USA contestants, these categories are Personal interview, Swimsuit, and Evening Gown. For Miss Teen USA contestants, the categories are Personal interview, Active Wear, and Evening Gown. Each contestant is responsible for her wardrobe needs and all accessories. There will also be a production number that will involve an additional outfit.
What are my responsibilities should I win and how much time & expense is involved for me and my family?
Time involved should you become a titleholder varies on your location within the state and your desire to make appearances. We make every effort to obtain appearances for titleholders, but realize that your education and family are a high priority, so we do our best to accommodate school and family when arranging appearances. Again, this is on a case-by-case basis and requires much coordination and communication between the titleholder and titleholder manager, who is assigned by Sanders & Associates. Appearances will be both on a local and statewide basis and may include parades, style shows, speaking engagements or trade shows.
Transportation for Miss West Virginia USA to and from the National Pageant are taken care of as part of her prize package. A stipend is provided for Miss West Virginia Teen USA’s transportation to and from the MISS TEEN USA® Pageant. Also some wardrobe and other expenses are provided for both titleholders. Transportation and expenses for parents to and from and at the national pageant are their own responsibility.
We understand your concerns as to time involved, and do everything possible to accommodate and coordinate schedules, but there are certain responsibilities that accompany the privilege of becoming a state titleholder in the MUO Pageant System.
What if I have a tattoo or body piercing?
Tattoos and piercing are a statement of your individuality and to this point we have not prohibited anyone from entering the pageant because of them. Judges are not told to look upon someone negatively because of tattoos or piercing, however judging is a subjective process done by each individual differently.
Should you feel that your tattoo might be a distraction, you may want to make sure it is covered by your swimwear, gown or even body makeup. If you are uncomfortable with your naval piercing, you may want to make sure your wardrobe covers it. You can opt to replace it with something smaller and less noticeable or you can remove it totally for pageant weekend.
Sponsorship and Paperwork Info
Where can I secure sponsors?
Sponsors can include, but are not limited to your family, friends, local businesses, fraternal organizations and clubs, schools, etc. You are not limited by geographic boundaries. You may secure sponsors from anywhere in or out of the state. If accepted to compete, you will receive paperwork to help secure sponsors. Sponsorships can help defray costs for entry fee, tickets, spotlight ads, wardrobe, etc. You may have as many sponsors as you like, but you will be limited to acknowledging only 20 under your picture in the official program book. You may buy spotlight ads to highlight additional sponsors.
What if I raise more sponsorship money than the required sponsorship fee?
If you raise more money than required for your entry fee, you may use the extra funds to cover any additional expenses associated with the pageant. Your overage may be used to purchase Spotlight ads in the program book, transportation or may go to purchasing your wardrobe.
What should I do if a sponsor gives me cash for my sponsorship fee?
If you receive cash contributions for your sponsorship fee, you may put that money into a money order or send a personal check. Please DO NOT send cash through the mail at any time.
Why am I asked to provide a report card / transcript?
This documentation is merely used as a proof of residency. The judges never see this. You will NOT be penalized for poor grades nor rewarded for exceptional grades at the state pageant.
If I need to check FALSE on the morals clause in the contract, will I automatically be disqualified?
No. Each individual case is given consideration. We do ask, however, that you quickly provide the documentation requested by the state pageant offices in order to get the approval process started.
What happens if I can’t get my registration materials in before the deadlines?
Deadlines are very important to us in order to make timely program preparations. However, we realize that unexpected circumstances can arise and that the collection of sponsorship may take longer than expected. Therefore, extension on due dates may be available if needed. If you need an extension, please call 724-785-4648 or email the pageant office – email@example.com.
What type of photo should I use for my official state pageant photo in the program book?
Most contestants will submit a professional “head and shoulders” style photo. However, a professional photo is not necessary. Just make sure there are no distractions in the background in your photo and that you are the sole subject. A 5×7 or larger color photo at 300 dpi should be emailed (firstname.lastname@example.org) or mailed to the pageant office.
What are spotlight ads?
Many contestants have asked to purchase special advertising pages in our Official State Program Book. So we are making up to 10 program book pages available per contestant. That is as many as 10 full-page ads or 20 half-page ads or any combination of the two. This is a great way for you as a contestant to gain added recognition and exposure by “spotlighting” your photo more than once in our book.
As a contestant, your photo is automatically included in our regular pageant lineup. The Spotlight Pages are something extra. Many times, your family members, friends, and other supporters want to give you added visibility. The Spotlight Pages are $350.00 for a full-page ad and $250.00 for a half-page ad.
DO NOT CONFUSE SPOTLIGHT ADS AND SPONSORSHIP FEES. Sponsorship Fees are required. Spotlight Advertising is not. Sponsors are listed in a special location in the program book. Spotlight advertisers and supporters will appear in your Spotlight Ads. YOU MAY PAY FOR YOUR SPOTLIGHT ADS BY CHECK, MONEY ORDER, OR CREDIT CARD. You may send camera-ready copy or you may send a rough sketch to us showing how you want your Spotlight Page(s) arranged. If you send a sketch, it is best if you obtain a business logo or letterhead from your advertiser(s) so that our printer can reproduce your Spotlight Page(s) clearly. If you do not send camera-ready copy, the printer will use his own discretion in arranging ad copy and cannot be held responsible for mistakes. Remember, you can reserve up to a total of 10 pages in the program book. Your advertisers and supporters may pay for Spotlight Pages by check, money order, or credit card. PLEASE NOTE: All credit card statements will show payments made to Pageant Associates.
How the Pageant Weekend Works
What are the judging criteria and clothing requirements for the pageant?
Interview- You will appear before the judges “panel style “. The procedure will have you standing at a podium in front of 2 panels of judges for a minimum of 2 minutes each. The judges will use this opportunity to consider your personality and overall presence. This is your chance to impress each judge with your opinions, your ability to communicate, and your overall sense of self. The judges will not be looking for rehearsed answers. They will have your Final Biography Form to use as a reference, but questions may be asked on any topic.
The most important thing to remember about the Personality Interview Competition is that it is ALL about your PERSONALITY! So when it comes to deciding what you will wear for this competition, allow your personality to influence your decision. Teen USA contestants are urged to wear whatever they feel is appropriate for an interview, with this thought; have fun with it while presenting yourself in a confident manner (no jeans). USA contestants are urged to be more sophisticated with your wardrobe choices.
Swimsuit for Miss USA contestants – Miss USA contestants may choose either a one or two-piece swimsuit in any print, pattern, or design. Look for a style that flatters your body type. The suit must be in good taste; therefore, no thongs or Brazilian cut. Pantyhose are not permitted, but you may use leg makeup. Oils and heavy body lotions should not be used. To keep your swimsuit from riding up in the back, there are products called “Firm Grip” and “It Stays.” These products can be obtained online or in pageant/dress stores. Shoes should be 3” or higher. Taupe, tan, neutral color or clear shoes are recommended. Wearing bright shoes for swimsuit competition will bring attention to your feet. We recommend choosing a quality-made competition swimsuit that will be appropriate for onstage. Pay special attention to the swimsuit lining, due to the bright stage lighting.
Active Wear for Miss Teen USA contestants – Miss Teen USA contestants will wear an active outfit to wear in lieu of swimsuits. Active wear guidelines here
Evening Gown- Judges focus on poise, overall appearance, and sense of fashion and style. No single detail of the gown, hair or make-up should garner attention. The overall effect should be a reflection of your personal style. You will need one evening gown. Choose your BEST color, a style that looks great on you and will show well on stage.
Opening Outfit- You will need one outfit specifically for certain shows. Criteria for this outfit will be updated when needed.
Do I need a different gown for finals than the one I wear for Preliminaries?
No. We highly recommend wearing the same gown for both preliminaries and finals. Nearly all contestants at the state pageant wear the same gown for both.
What is the Opening Number outfit for?
At the beginning of one of the shows, each contestant will be introduced to the audience during an upbeat, choreographed introduction number (contestant will not sing and the choreographed moves are very easy – you do not need to be a dancer). Criteria for this outfit will be updated when needed.
Do I need to pay for my hotel room and food during pageant weekend?
No. Your hotel room and meals during the weekend are provided for you by the state pageant. If you choose to arrive the night before or stay the night after the pageant, your room for those nights would be at your own expense. If you would like extra meals, snacks, etc. you will be responsible for those costs and will not be able to charge them to your room.
How many other contestants will I room with at the hotel?
Each contestant is paired with one other entrant in order to share each hotel room. Each room will have two beds, so each contestant will have her own bed. In order to be respectful to the contestant with whom you are sharing the room, only the two of you are allowed in your hotel room (no family or friends allowed at any time).
Who are the judges and where do they come from?
We are hard at work, searching the country for outstanding individuals to serve in these positions. Our judges are always from varied and exciting backgrounds and include some of pageantry’s most qualified individuals. We do not ask, or allow, judges to repeat these duties any two consecutive years.
Can anyone assist me while I am competing in the pageant?
Only contestants and staff are permitted in your hotel room, in the dressing room or backstage during the pageant weekend. Each contestant will share a room with another entrant. In order to keep the weekend organized, on schedule, and enjoyable for all participants, we have elected to limit the persons allowed into the contestant rooms. This way, one contestant doesn’t innocently dominate the room over the other by having a visitor, or visitors, coming and going. There will be pageant personnel in the dressing rooms to assist you with some of your preparation for the show. You should do most of your show preparation in your hotel room, prior to your arrival at the dressing room before show time. There will be time during the weekend for you to visit with family and friends between show time and rehearsals.
Preparing for the pageant should be FUN and can be done on your own. Please note that you must be “self-sufficient” during the pageant weekend, which means that no hair stylists or makeup artists will be allowed to assist you. So, if you do work with professionals prior to the pageant, make sure that they prepare you to do your own hair and makeup and truly be “self-sufficient”. If you have any questions regarding your preparations or just need some extra encouragements…don’t hesitate to call us!
What should my family and friends wear to the pageant?
We recommend anything from business casual to formal wear for the pageant preliminaries and pageant finals.
Will I have time to visit with my family, friends and out of town guests during pageant weekend?
Once you check in, contestants will have a packed schedule of activities, including meals, interviews, rehearsals and shows. You may also want to plan on arriving early or staying an extra day in the host city, to enjoy the experience with your guests. Time permitting, we will make every effort to include designated family meet and greet opportunities.
When will this year’s contestant photos be posted on the website?
The photos will be posted on the state pageant website approximately one week prior to the state pageant. Note: The photo you submit as your Official Head Shot, in addition to your on stage presence during pageant weekend, is what will be used when judged for Miss Photogenic.
Will the pageant be televised?
Right now there are no plans to televise the state pageant, however the Miss USA Pageant is usually televised and the Miss Teen USA Pageant is usually webcast from its location.
Can we videotape the pageant?
Only still cameras are permitted in the ballroom. Videotaping by members of the audience is prohibited. You will have the opportunity to purchase videotape and photo packages from our official photographers and videographers.