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For the past seven years, Lindsay Messina has been involved in the competition world – first as a competitor, and currently as a coach and judge. Read her personal account of the view from the judges’ table and what it takes to make an impression:
When I judge a show, I score competitors based on my own experience as a competitor. I scrutinize each individual, their stance, their pose and their overall beauty and appearance. Each federation has its own regulations – some require a different style of walk, while some have different rules as to what the competitors can display on stage with their suits and behavior.
I also love giving feedback to the competitors. I am often asked many questions after competitions and I love the fact that I can help competitors improve their walk or their stage presence or their appearance. I never seek out competitors to offer advice, but if I am approached, I am more than happy to answer any questions.
There are many events that I judge where I personally know the competitors. Remaining completely objective is paramount both to the competitor and the event producer, and I feel that has earned me my spot at the judges’ table.
It’s never just one quality that I look for; it is the total package that wows me over. My advice to future competitors: if you know your strong assets, make sure you master them and capitalize on them. For example: if you have a great body, make sure you hold your poses and show the judges your complete physique; if you have a killer walk, make sure you strut on that stage like you own it. If you are confident and are on the stage just to have fun, make sure you show the judges your energy and your big smile. Mastering your specialty will separate you from the rest.
Depending on what category and federation you choose, I suggest you put in the time to research, look at every website and learn the protocol. You can even email the promoter and ask any questions you may have. If you can, find someone who has competed in that show previously, and ask them as many questions as you possibly can. The veterans have invaluable experience to share and I encourage the women I know to always reach out to the new competitors and help guide them along the way in this very competitive and exciting journey.