The most challenging part of being blessed of representing more than one title, is respecting the different brands and systems.
Unless you’ve been in those shoes it can be VERY hard to understand. But I do and I’ve learned through trial and error. I think that is one beneficial key addition that I can provide when it comes to advice, besides experience, in the sparkle world. BUT this can go far beyond the pageant world, it plays a major role in every day life, and in business.
So I’d like to share some tips and explanation from experience, because I see it far to often, when some contestants cross the line. I can’t help but think, “Bless her heart” or “No, girl, she just didn’t!” Basically, I am hoping some of what I share can save you on those mistakes on such a sensitive subject.
As a business owner. I completely understand the ethics of respecting your competition while protecting your hard work and brand. I always thought in pageants that it would be nice if directors and sponsors could “get along” per say. Share insight, knowledge, and contacts. After all, they do share allot of the same audience. If they could help each other out, maybe they could benefit off each other, deepen each others pockets with their niche markets. BUT that’s not always the case, and that’s not a negative thing. There’s more to it than that, it’s not just that easy. These directors poor YEARS and HOURS of hard work and hustle into their brands and systems. Into their business. Those that take it serious, it’s their bread and butter, how they put food on their families tables. So I completely understand. I know in our family business, competition is not allowed to step FOOT in our building, employees sign non-competes that we take VERY seriously! Same goes in pageantry, every state or national title (well those that are serious at least) come with a contract that YOU sign! This is no different. So while many contestants competing may not understand why you just don’t speak or promote another brand while your representing a title of another, I’m here to shed some light. It’s very simple… BRANDING and RESPECT.
Athletes sign contracts with brands such as Gatorade, Coke, Nike, Under Armor, Nutrition Supplements, heck even Water brands! You’ve seen it a million times, labels stamped all over the stadium, all over their uniforms. That Nascar driver gets immediately out of the car after a race and the VERY first thing he does is grab his “sponsored” drink and make sure when the press is around the media GETS that shot! After a boxing match, the winning fighter, the first thing he does is put back his T-Shirt on with his brand sponsors stamped ALL over it! Same goes for employees of that brand… did you know that some employees have those contracts too? Yes!
When I first won Mrs. Texas in 2009, then won Mrs. Texas United States in 2011, the first thing a fellow sister, a very special one, because she’s really the only other sister that could relate, she took me under her wing and shared a very important analogy with me. I’ve used it ever since to help clear the confusion: “When you work for Pepsi you do not promote Coke.” She was right. 110%. Now after its completely OK to appreciate the love for each system and sponsor but while their paying YOUR check, you do not. YOU are representing THEIR brand. It’s like bitting the hand that feeds you. Ladies lets set one thing straight, YOU are competing for THEIR title, not vice versa. Some titles you do get paid for, but MOST ALL come with a SPONSORED winning package right? Same thing! You are accepting those winnings, that title, or signing up to compete for that title, so please understand, this isn’t a surprise, this is very simple … it’s every day respect. Now some contracts clearly state these expectations to you, please read your contracts! Know what YOU are signing up for. And if your unclear, ask the director! Ask the director that you are representing if she minds you attend another pageant WITH HER banner on. Ask that director if she minds you represent another brand while attending her event, its just common respect. Respect for business and respect for others. You can’t go wrong ever asking a question before acting. In anything in life.
It goes more than just the director and brand too. Same goes with sponsors! Last year, the title of Mrs. International is a prestigious title, one filled with so many fortunate sponsors! I was so beyond thankful for. Clothes, make up, marketing, the list is endless. So the last thing I would do, as a person respecting those business’ and sponsors GIVING so GENEROUSLY to me, their time or money, is promote their competition. It’s just not right. It’s unethical. With any title I’ve had, with all the sponsors, Thats a no-no. A BIG No-No! Its called common courtesy, its common respect for another human beings hard work, time, and money. Just because it’s not as important to you, doesn’t mean it’s not to another.
I’ve seen it far to often, especially with MISS contestants. Teens have moms to advise them and Mrs. are already in the business world, so they tend to understand a little more. They get a gorgeous headshot sponsored by an elite photographer and make up artist under a state title, but then have headshots taken, before or even during their reign, by another and promote it all over their social media. Its those little things, you may not THINK your doing anything wrong, after all its YOUR social media page, right? No. No, thats advertising, and ladies if you don’t read your contracts or try to understand from a business stand point the respect thats needed to balance DIFERENT SYSTEMS and TITLES you could be doing some damage without even knowing. Promote your titles accurately and your sponsors (Thats a whole other blog- TITLES!) Ladies use your titles correctly! It can get you in allot of trouble, legally! These are copyrights, trademarks people own and protect. Have respect for your fellow pageant sisters and promote your current title exactly as its supposed to be. Don’t leave out the rest of what your banner states.
When you’re competing for a title, if you hire a coach most likely she will advise you to clean up your social media before competing. Cleaning up doesn’t mean she’s expecting to find horrible photos of you from the past that you need to remove. Cleaning up can mean, temporarily hiding previous post of other brands if you’re preparing for a different system. Why? This may sound ridiculous to you right? It’s not, it shows you understand, it’s business, and you can respect that. We live in an advertising world. This is part of it. Most likely they’ll be a former or another director from that system on your judges panel, they will look at that and this shows you understand the unspoken respect of branding. These judges will also know that the last thing a director would want is someone who isn’t going to work as hard for them as they are going to work for their title holder. Or someone that’s difficult to work with and can’t understand this common respect. It all boils down to business ladies. It’s business. Respect it goes along way.
You are signing up for it and it comes with the territory. Kind of like being a celebrity and wanting your private life to be 110% “private”. Doesn’t really exist. Limelight comes with the territory. Just as in pageantry, respecting the business and those that support it comes with the territory you are signing up for. I hope I’ve shared some light on this very sensitive topic because more than likely you will compete in more than one system and it makes it allot easier for you if you can understand this.
Hope this can make it a little easier for you to.. Sparkle on Sisters! ?