Wow! Has it been a year already? It seems like it was only yesterday when I was getting trying on gowns and heels to prep for the pageant. In about a month we will be crowning a new class of young men and women and as I wrap up my year of service I hope that the new royal court will take advantage of every opportunity given to them. Here’s my advice for the new 2016-2017 class.
BEAUTY AND FASHION
Pageant Gowns: Give yourself plenty of time to shop for two long evening gowns and a short cocktail dress. I highly recommend going to Santee Alley, a two block area in downtown LA’s Fashion District that sells both apparel, cosmetics, and everything fashion related.
Shop in June/July as it’s after Prom season and shops want to move their inventory.
Noell is a very popular store among pageant girls as they sell super glamorous gowns with extensive beading and elaborate designs. The showroom is an enormous two floor building and it’s definitely a splurge should you pay them a visit. If memory serves me right I think dresses start at around $400, but can go upwards to $1000 of dollars. Also do make an appointment as other customers have commented on being turned away even during business hours.
Personally, I purchased all my gowns at Atria Couture as they were more in my price-range. I budgeted about $200 a gown and while the designs weren’t as loud, the quality of the cloth material was thick and the stitching and design was cohesive. I definitely bartered with them so work on your negotiating skills.
There are many stores that sell gowns at different price-points; however, I’ve noticed that the dresses that were less than a $100 tended to be a thinner fabric and the sequences were glued on as opposed to sewn. To each his own, but I felt that if these were dresses that I would wear throughout the year, I’d chose to invest in pieces that I could wear multiple times.
Jewelry: Buy costume jewelry while you shop for your dress. It helps when you have your dress with you so you can see if certain earrings and necklaces match. Also, large dangling earrings look wonderful on stage. Silver crystals type of jewelry matched pretty much all of my outfits, but
Shoes: Wear heels that have a platform at the front and pick either clear or a nude color. It will help elongate your figure.
Hair and Makeup: I chose to do my own hair and makeup as it was an additional expense that I did not want to take into account, but I would recommend buying fake eyelashes to make your eye makeup more dramatic. I randomly stumbled upon this shop called The Makeup Shake, and they have some really great products including their own 3D silk eyelashes. “Eye Poppin” and “Mad Eye” are two of my favorite lashes to wear, and I always get compliments on how pretty my eyes look. They also carry some professional makeup supplies that I see at the Annual International Makeup Artists Tradeshow (IMATs), so it’s great that I can get some of my favorite products without having to wait until the tradeshow.
At the time I chopped off 8 inches of my hair, so I had no idea how to style a short cut. I practiced with my curling iron and do a classic french twist (with a ton of bobby pins) to give the allusion that I had more hair. Ha!
The dreaded Fish Bowl Question: You never know what type of question you’ll get, but I thought of it as I would prepare for a job interview. I wrote down my answers and practiced in front of the mirror my responses. Practice makes perfect. Sometimes I’ll even practice my answers in the car as I’m driving. 🙂
Additionally, since this was a Taiwanese pageant I made sure to have responses in regards to Taiwan current events and learned about different government officials locally and abroad.
I think like anything you do you get out what you put in. Some contestants were very casual and didn’t prepare as aggressively as others, whereas others were diligent and gave it their all. I always give everything I do my 100% and as Miss Taiwanese World I had the opportunity to meet multiple government officials, celebrate community milestones, and use this as a platform with my family and friends to talk about Taiwan and build community relations. You can see a few of my cool adventures here (10/10 Black Tie Event, Monterey Park parade, Lunar New Year Celebration at TECO)
Whether you’re a natural on stage or someone who wants to try something outside your comfort zone the competition part was a great opportunity to improve my posture, poise, and speech. It’s definitely something I can check mark off my bucket list and I can say that I have some incredible memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.