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Miss Latina International USA
Pageant Price Tag: What Does It Cost to be a Beauty Queen?




Being a title holder and competing in pageants is not as easy as most people think. Beauty pageants can carry big price tags. Before finding yourself scammed out of thousands of dollars, it's important to check out the pageant operator with the Better Business Bureau first. Below is an example of a scam:
Vanessa Moore (not her real name) was the second runner-up in her beauty pageant, and should have received some scholarship money for it. And as the leading fundraiser, she was supposed to receive a portion of the money she pulled in from sponsors. But instead of the roughly $5,000 she was entitled to, she walked away empty-handed. She never received a dime. Every time she followed up with the director as to why she hadn't received the money, there was always an excuse.

Is It Worth It?  The ads sound great, with promises of cash, scholarships, prizes, and well as modeling opportunities and more. But issues arise when promoters don't deliver what they promise. While there are legitimate pageants, there are also those whose only purpose is to fatten the pockets of promoters.

Win or lose, participating in a pageant has its rewards. All this begins with a question, what does it cost to be a beauty queen? Apparently, it's not cheap. Some titleholders are spending billions to participate in thousands of pageants in the U.S. each year. Women spend thousands and some spend tens of thousands. For many it's not as easy to sell those gowns later and when they do, they will not sell for the same price. While some pageants don't have entry fees, there's no escaping all in the investment that's required to compete.

It's a financial endeavor. The travel, the coaches, the wardrobe, the makeup, hair, and in some cases fees are staggering. If you want to be a contender, the money you spend crafting the perfect image is quite substantial. Some titleholders leave the pageant system feeling proud since many opportunities open for them and they walk away with a memorable learning experience and many become pageant directors and fashion consultants after competing. For many people, pageants are often stereotyped. The legitimacy and true career-advancement potential of a pageant is inversely proportional to the money directors ask for. There are many pageants that charge an entry fee in the thousands and yet have never produced a major star. It's the typical scam: Promise a young girl you can make her famous, make the parents spend all the money, and leave them with nothing but a few pretty pictures.

Beauty pageants though have put a lot of women through college and some have ventured into the field of politics and broadcast journalism. They are a great confidence builder and teach you how to handle yourself under pressure during interviews and in public speaking. Pageants are costly, but it's the same with any hobby or sport. There is a value in participating in what fulfills you that goes beyond the dollar amount.

Proceed with Caution
There are no official regulating agencies for pageants. How can you discern whether a pageant is legit or not? Ask for references of people who participated, especially some that didn't win. You also want to know how long they've been around, the longer the better. A bad sign would be if they don't seem open to answering your questions, then its best not to get involved with the organization or chances are that it's not legit. Before entering into a pageant, parents and others who want to get involved should consider the following questions:

Who are the directors? Usually pageants are operated by for profit organizations that solicit participants by mail or print advertising, or by broadcast media, to compete for recognition and prizes from the promoter.

Can the location (place of business) of the pageant company be verified? Where and when will the actual pageant be held? What accommodations are provided for contestants? Will there be adequate supervision?

Do all of the details add up? Are there judges and what are their qualifications? Do they have any affiliation with the company? Are refunds possible if a contestant decides to withdraw from the pageant? How are the winners chosen? What criteria are used for selection? What are the obligations of the winning contestant? What do former contestants and winners have to say about the pageant? Ask the company for references. And what benefit is derived from participating or winning?

Do the winnings sound too good to be true? Be sure to read any contract carefully and thoroughly in advance of entering a pageant to understand the rights and responsibilities of the winner or other contestants.

Surf the Net. "Google is a pageant girl's best friend." All contestants should conduct careful due diligence on a pageant before they decide to enter and gain information on the history of the program, the visibility of the program and its titleholders and any pending litigation against the pageant and or its directors.

The internet is rife with pageant boards and other resources where contestants can get useful feedback on various pageant systems. Every pageant should offer a contract for each contestant which lays out the expectations for the competition. Contestants should pay close attention to indemnity clauses and other proposed waivers of liability. The expectations for the newly crowned titleholder should be something that is set forth and agreed upon before the competition. Stick with legit pageants, and it could be worth all the effort. Everybody wants to be a princess for a day of a year.

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"Happiness is the smiles you bring to others through your success and joy. The dreams you have, the goals you set, the things you love, the experiences you create, the moments you share are all part of being you. It's never too late to be what you might have become. Live each day as if it is your last but never forget that the beauty of life is to give"

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