Beauty Pageantry


The beauty pageantry industry is one of the most expensive sub-industries in the fashion world. Beauty pageants were competitions to give a royalty title to the fairest of them all. These competitions, in the beginning, were only for the elite female members of society and were purely based on physical attributes. Beginning in the late 80’s up until the launch of Beauty With a Purpose by Miss World in 2001, the beauty pageantry industry evolved. The competition required the contestants to represent a value, an ideal, to simply stand for something.

Over the years, beauty pageants have become a global phenomenon. Many countries and organizations have even started their own beauty pageants. The Big Four (also the oldest) Beauty Pageants however remain Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss International, and Miss Earth. Other fast-rising beauty pageants include Miss Grand International, Miss Supranational, and Miss Intercontinental.

Beauty pageants are expensive, both to the contestant and to the national directors. The reward of winning is however totally worth it. We put together 3 things you need to consider before you sign up for that beauty pageant.

  • Beauty Pageantry Costs
  • Multimedia
  • After the Crown


Beauty pageantry is expensive, both for the national director and the country representative. If you wish to participate in any beauty pageant, be ready to spend. here are a few costs to know about.


If you want to represent your country in any international beauty pageant, you need to be very aware of franchise ownership and how it works. In every international beauty pageant, each country is represented by only 1 individual. These individuals are usually crowned in their home countries and exclusively sent to the respective pageant. In Kenya for example, Ashleys’ Coiffure and Spa, crown Mr and Miss World Kenya, while Mwanzo Media, beginning 2021, crowns Miss Universe Kenya. Who gives these companies the right to crown?

The right or authority to crown a winner and send them to the international competition is not taken, it is given. The company or individual applies to the international competition, they are then given a list of requirements that they have to meet. Once these requirements have been met, there is a license fee that they are required to pay. This license allows them exclusively hold the pageant in their country and send a representative. License fees vary greatly depending on the ranking of the pageant globally. Some pageant licenses are USD 2000 others go all the way to USD 10,000. This fee is paid annually. This money is paid to the competition to allow you (your country) to participate.

Where there is no Franchise Owner (also known as National Director) in your country, some pageants will allow individuals to apply to participate in the pageant, at a subsidized fee. Bottom line, before you can participate in an international pageant, you (or a National Director) have to pay to participate.


A national event is a beauty pageant competition, held at the country level, to crown the person who will represent that country on the global stage. This cost majorly falls on the National Directors, it is however optional. Many National Directors invest heavily in producing national competitions and finding sponsorship for their winners. This cost heavily depends on the size of the company and event, the global ranking of the pageant, and what the National Director wants.

Some national directors do not organize national events. They simply find someone willing to participate and submit their details as the country representative. The advantage of this is that you do not get to compete at National Level. The disadvantage is, some directors will require you to bear some of the competition expenses including paying a percentage of the Franchise fee.

If participating as an individual, this cost does not apply.


Beauty pageantry has thoroughly evolved especially since social media is one of the few ways to get insight into most competitions. International competitions have become a marketing tool for many countries, especially for the host country. Contestants are therefore pressured to continuously share their experiences while in the competition on their social media platforms. This newfound celebrity status does not allow these contestants to re-wear outfits or even to dress down.

Miss Tourism Kitui County 2016. Training and Choreography by Velour Models.

Wardrobe is one of the heaviest investments a beauty pageant contestant will make. Most beauty pageants have a similar structure and therefore the most important wardrobe items a contestant needs to have include: A final evening gown, a national costume, bikini (2 pieces and 1 piece in the specified colo)r and a good pair of heels (gold, silver or nude as specified). These items are worn on the preliminaries or the coronation night. Throughout the competition, contestants change up to 4 or 5 times depending on the activities planned for the day. This means for the period of the pageant, whether 2 weeks or 1 month the contestants’ day-to-day wardrobe has to be on point.

In 2021, A contestant whose luggage had been delayed found herself apologizing on social media for walking to the lobby in flat shoes and a tracksuit. She had been brutally bashed for her dress code on social media, pushing her and her National Director to release a statement explaining the situation. Some contestants in previous years have arrived in the competition with up to 12 suitcases, for a 2-week stay and 1-night event.

Social media has become a crucial tool in pageantry. Many pageants do not give a detailed account of the day-to-day activities the contestants engage in, but the contestants do. Contestants’ stories on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or Twitter are more informative about what goes on in a pageant. You cannot let your guard down at any time.


Beauty with a purpose was first introduced by Miss World in 2001. Over the years, all pageants have adopted Beauty with a Purpose as a crucial element in the competition. Some pageants allow the contestants to pick a community service project that they are passionate about, while some pageants are geared towards a specific field.

One of the reasons many countries crown their queens early is to have enough time to get a community service project up and running. In most cases, contestants are required to submit a video showing the work they have done or are currently doing in their community and country. In some pageants such as Miss World, the winning project receives funding from the Miss World Organization and its partners.

It is important therefore to consider the cost of setting up a community-based project and filming it for the global competition. If you wish to participate in a beauty pageant in 2023 for example, start working on your CSR now. This allows you efficient time to plan, execute and create the necessary content for the international competition. Spreading the costs throughout the year is more effective as opposed to doing everything one month to the international competition.

There is a lot to think about when planning and executing a Beauty with a purpose project. Registration of your organization, putting together a team, branding, proposals, and media. You need as much time as you can to prepare effectively. (If you wish to learn more about Pageantry, join our Beauty Pageantry Classes)

Beauty with A Purpose- Velour Model Management
Velour Model, Jackline Mueni, during her beauty with a purpose, community visit.

One of the reasons some countries do well in pageantry every year is the intensity of their preparation. Robin Sharma in his book, The 5 AM Club says, “The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle.” Many countries crown their winners as early as March, this gives them a lot of time to prepare for international finals (October to December). Some countries even crown a year in advance.

There is a lot that goes into beauty pageantry, and a tone of skills one needs to adapt to perform well on the international stage. Ranging from presentation and poise to social media, communication skills, and catwalk, there is a lot to cover. These classes can be very expensive for an individual competing without a national director. It is the responsibility of the national director to prepare the contestant for the international competition. The national director bears the cost of training and preparation including media (Photoshoots and PR) and wardrobe. Working with a national director makes work easier and less expensive for the contestant in most cases.

Further preparation including media and public appearances, and social media management can be a little overwhelming if you are doing it all alone. Remember, content is king and the content you create needs to be crisp, a good camera phone is a must-have.


Beauty Pageantry is expensive. National directors in most cases take up the cost of travel, however, some prefer to split the cost 50-50 with the contestant. An individual contestant would have to foot travel costs on their own. This includes flight costs and some pocket money.

It is always a plus to arrive on the first day of the competition, therefore travel needs to be the first thing you take care of. Some contestants get sponsorship from companies, covering travel expenses, where there is no national director


This is one of the most psychologically draining part of any pageant competition. Convincing individuals to download an app, or spend money (however little) to vote is not only difficult but very discouraging as well. Some countries receive overwhelming support, while other countries struggle because of the value of their currency against the US Dollar. Where a contestant struggles to garner votes, they have to work extra hard in other areas of the competition. Some contestants create a voting budget, putting money aside to vote for themselves.


2021 proved without a doubt, the great contribution of social media in beauty pageantry. The easiest way to follow up on a beauty pageant is through contestants’ social media handles. Many contestants were making waves even before they arrived at the competition. Did this contribute to their performance in the pageant? Yes, it did, and to a very immense extent.

Modern-day beauty queens are also influencers. A good percentage of the total score depends on how big and influential their following and interaction on social media is. Miss Universe 2021 had a following of 2Million on Instagram before she was crowned. Her second runner-up, Miss South Africa, Lalewa Mswane had already made global news before she even arrived at the competition. It wasn’t clear whether she would travel to Israel considering the political setup between South Africa and Palestine. This debate was fueled online and this made her “someone to watch” in the competition.

Social media can work for or against a contestant. There are a lot of expectations where beauty pageant contestants are involved, unfortunately, these ladies and gentlemen are constantly compared against a fictitious beauty standard. Yes, pageants are more brain than beauty nowadays however, many online watchers and analysts will not pass up a chance to go viral even if it means tearing someone down. It therefore rests upon the contestant to protect their mental space.

As early as now, ask yourself, are you willing to put yourself in the spotlight and how much can you handle?

Competition organizers also use contestants’ influence to push their events and pitch for sponsorship. The multimedia challenge is a common phenomenon in almost all pageants. This challenge requires contestants to either get votes or create content and share it on their timelines. Times are changing quite fast and very soon beauty queens and kings without a proper social media following will barely be ranked.

If you are planning to compete in a beauty pageant in 2023, start working on your social media account today. Even at the country level, you will need that support to win before you take on the international competition. Lastly, create quality content, have a storyline, and stick to it.


Why do you want to participate in a beauty pageant?

Beauty pageantry has given so many young ladies and gentlemen an opportunity to not only launch a career in modeling but also launch their own non profit organizations. Some contestants only participate in pageantry for the fun of it, and that fine too.

Your why, will determine what you do after you hand over the crown to a successor. As a beauty pageant winner, take advantage of the doors the pageant opens for you while you still have the crown. Build as many good networks as possible and create a good rapport with potential future clients. When you get the opportunity to travel, learn as much as you can, you never know where the crown might take you.

It is undeniable, the impact that beauty pageants have had on contestants’ lives, take advantage of it and make the most for yourself.

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