Mao Peirui knows a thing or two about pageants: She was crowned Miss World China 2018 and made the Top 30 at the Miss World finals hosted in Sanya in November last year. Following our interview with her in the story “Face Value” from our issue “Wild Rides,” Mao shared eight insider tips on what it takes to make it as an international beauty queen:
1. Know your style
Pick out the right dresses for your shape. Know how to do your makeup and what looks is the best for you. This was one of my weakest points in the international pageant. I regret when I look back and see how light my makeup was. I really needed some makeup tutorials!
2. Know how to engage with camera
You need to have go-to angles, go-to poses, and go-to smiles. On the stage or during the competition are not the right times to be figuring this out. You’re going to feel like you are taking millions of photos: with the crown, without the crown, with the sash, without the sash. And at the competition, people are going to be live streaming all the time; your fellow contestants are going to running after you to take selfies with them.
3. Know how to walk
Most Chinese contestants are trained to do a modeling catwalk. Everything is straight, clean, and clear. You are showing off the clothes you are wearing. But, in international pageants, everything is different. You need to be twisting your hips and walking on the stage almost like a Victoria’s Secret model [to show off yourself].
4. Practice your smile
I was once criticized by my fans for not having a very good smile. I have heard that some women practice their smiles by biting down on a chopstick to show eight of their teeth—but I have never tried that myself!
5. Be able to communicate (in English)
Communication skills are necessary for succeeding in an international pageant. You will need to communicate clearly with staff, judges, media, and other contestants. English skills are also important. I remember that there was one beauty queen who spoke only one language, so she relied on just a couple other pageant contestants who happened to speak that language to translate literally everything.
6. Have good people skills
In the Miss World competition, there are people assigned to each group as team leaders. Their job is officially to manage you; but you know that they are also observing you and influencing the judges. You need to be able to get along with everyone in your group.
7. Develop your social media presence
As a pageant queen, you need to know how to market yourself. This is something that I am bad at. Previously, I thought that girls were kind of narcissistic if they were always putting up photos and telling everyone what they were up to. But the reality was that these women had accepted their role as public figures. In Sanya, I saw these girls who had so many fans who really cared about them.
8. Do your homework
You need to know the criteria you will be judged on. You need to know your competition and the other contestants. You need to know what judges are looking for; what shoes to wear; what key points to put in the answers to interview questions. These little things make a big difference in the end.
Photos from VCG