Wednesday, May 20, 2020

What's in your Crown Box?

What do you have stashed in that little box? If its any inkling of what your bedroom looks like, it's probably a messy situation. LOL
So, what do you REALLY need in there (aside from your crown/banner). Make sure the next time you leave the house for your appearance, your crown box contains these 5 things.

*PS - if you are a FIRST time pageant girl, you might be wondering what is a "Crown Box?" ANSWER: A crown box is like a small piece of luggage that a pageant titleholder carries her crown and banner in for safe storage, usually brining it with her to appearances.

1. Sharpie & Autograph Cards  (or business cards)
Yo'll probably get asked for your autograph or have the opportunity to pass these out at an appearance, so be ready.
2. Mints 
You always want to smell minty fresh when speaking with people. But, avoid gum so you aren't chopping on it during speaking engagements and stick to mints instead.
3. Blister Band-Aids
Most appearances require some type of physical walking in a parade, touring through your states capital with a political official, modeling...and that means you are on your feet. Shoes can cause blister, so be prepared with blister band-aids so you can KEEP UP!
4. Compact Mirror
You want to make sure that you look presentable and your crown is on straight. After all,  you are a representative.  Look the part.
5. Travel Size Tissue
Sure, it gets the boogies out. But, this can be helpful for a number of things. Possibly, during your appearances - you gave or you witnessed a moving speech or testimonial the bought you to tears. Possibly, you spilled on yourself during the dinner gala. Possibly, your hands got messy from doing manual labor on a service project. Tissues can be a quick fix.

Lastly, looking for a DREAM crown BOX to keep all this in, you can find the BEST crown boxes in 2 locations:
1. At your NAM Pageant Boutique
2. Crown Couture Collection

Signing Off in NAMstyle!

Photo Credit: Brittany Link Photography
Hair/Makeup: Makeup By Maskara
Styling: National American Miss
Product Featured: Crown Couture Collection Crown Box
Models: The 2019 NAM Jr. Teen & The 2019 NAM All-American Teen

Friday, May 8, 2020

To Coach or Not to Coach

If I had $1 for every time I got asked about pageant coaches...what is a pageant coach, should I get one, do I need one, how do I find one, would you use one.....and it goes on.

So, I laid it all out right here for ya.

AND, for recommendations, here are some wonderful NAM sponsors who do provide coaching services!
Confidence & Poise
Pink Door Prep
Perfect Image Consulting
Bill Alverson

Signing Off in NAMstyle

Friday, April 24, 2020

HOW TO: manage your time & prepare for a pageant!

Girl, trying to squeeze in everything AND planning for a pageant can be stressful. How are you going to fit it all in??? Believe me, every pageant girl asks themselves this question. Here are some tips & tricks to utilize your time effectively when planning for your next pageant.

Also,  to stay organized, you can purchase the NAMplanner  HERE! (you don't just have to be a NAM girl,  you can be competing in ANY pageant)

Signing Off in NAMstyle!

Friday, April 17, 2020

3 Hair & Makeup Dos & Donts!

Everyone wants to look & feel their best Pageant Weekend! Here are some things to consider!

Plus,  these are the Top 3 Pageant Hair & Makeup Artists that I always recommend! I have had my hair and makeup personally done by them for special occasions (my wedding, events, photoshoots) and have had a WONDERFUL experience!

Olivia Rose Beauty
Makeup By MasKara
Michele Strom

Signing off in NAMstyle!

Friday, April 10, 2020

Stay Trendy for your Next Pageant

Did you know that I graduated Cum Laude from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchanding in Los Angeles, CA? In fact, I graduated with LC from that TV show your older siblings or parents used to watch called "The Hills" (back in the early 2000, she was super popular). But, I wanted to put my fashion degree to good use and actually forecast some trends. Ironically, I started seeing these trends at #NAMnationals19 this past November. But, I always use NAM nationals as a gauge of trend setting for the upcoming year, because NAM nationals is really a WHOSE WHO of pageantry - the top competitors are competing, top pageant winners like Miss USAs are judging, top fashion designers like AshleyLauren are on location with a pop up boutique. It's literally like fashion week for pageantry. 

So, if you wanna stay trendy for your next pageant.....check out this video AND for additional photos of examples of these top trends, check out my previous blog of trends I saw at Nationals HERE!

OH...and for some great resources on where to SHOP these trends, check out my IGTV Pageant Pro series HERE

Signing off in NAMstyle!

Friday, April 3, 2020

5 Hot Spots to find your next Interview Outfit

Check out this video to find the best places to get a killer interview outfit! Plus, with direct links below to all the places I mention, you are just 1 click away from being Interview wardrobe ready!

Ashley Rene's
Bridal Elegance
Wight Elephant
Crowned Swan
New York & Co.
TJ Maxx
JC Penney's

Signing Off in NAM style!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Top Trends from #NAMnationals19

I love NAM Nationals because....well, it's NAM Nationals and there needs no explanation. But, I also love it because it's where you see the TOP TRENDS. Everyone is rolling out their best looks - hair, makeup, business attire, gowns, name it. If it's hot - it's at #NAMnationals.

But, there were some trends that I saw that I think we can expect to see a lot more of rolling into 2020 and are totally worth mentioning. Check them out...

Something that I saw a lot of (especially in the optional Runway Contest) was really simple, clean looks that were elevated with a bold shape or unique print. In the past for Runway, it seemed like girls would take formal wear dresses and cut them apart to make into what looked like shorts with a cape over it and there was lots of bling, print, color, texture - just a lot going on. But, these 5 looks not only scored high during runway, but I think the reason they did score well was because the girls took the less is more approach, thus letting their stage presence and modeling skills command the stage instead of their outfits.

This basic black has Hailey Sturgill looking trendy and sophisticated all at once. Also, a high neck line helps to bring focus to her face and elongated her body. The pop on the skirt added a little bit of flare, but was simple and not overpowering. No wonder she was in Runway Top 5 for our Miss division.
Mariah Turner is full of attitude and having a more simplified outfit paired well with her natural fierceness, winning her the National Runway title for the Jr. Pre-Teen age group. I thought the colors were youthful and I liked how the draping was off her sleeves and not necessarily a cape, like we see a thousand times. I love that she wore her hair natural and the pop of pink in her ears was fun.
I am obsessed with everything about this outfit. The shape, the cut-outs, the colors. The only thing I may have changed if it were me wearing it were the earrings (I would have worn black, but thats just me). But, pairing the black leggings with black boots kept the outfit from breaking up into pieces and once again, that high neckline elongated her look and she was clever to pull her hair back and off her face.
We've seen the high/low a thousand times before, but I thought Miss South Texas Jr. Pre-Teen really made it look elegant and youthful. I think what set this high/low a part was the material. It looked elegant, but fashion forward and because it was a heavier material, it took a shape on the runway instead of just being flowy. Also, I loved that the dress was simple, but the color popped on stage and the whole look was super age appropriate. 

I thought Miss Oklahoma Teen, Hosanna Hales, really gave us a unique look in this ensemble. Pairing a classic black dress with a flowy white vest, was a unique spin on a very classic look. I think I would have gone with dramatic ear cuffs if it were me, but other than that - I love the simplicity,  elegance, and shape.

First, lets' be clear - it's a pageant. So, there was plenty of sequins and sparkle. But, a lot less than usual. Fabrics seemed to dominate with lots of texture. Where there was rhinestones on a gown, it was minimal. I think it was refreshing to see and many of the girls that kept it fresh scored well. In fact, most of our National Queens who took home the crowns really kept it light on the bling, but heavy on the textures in their gowns. Check out what I mean.

This precious one shoulder dress was simple and clean on our new National Jr. Pre-Teen, Ava Gresser. The one shoulder bow kept it youthful and elegant. She did add a bit of bling at the neckline and on the trim of the bow, but it was minimal and her earrings were simple dangles. All eyes were on Ava, and not on her dress.
Olivia Wynkoop, our new All-American Teen sported a really timeless dress. Variations of this style have been seen in the 80's, 90's, and through today. The base of her dress was a simple white lace and the cape skirt added a bit of flair that looked angelic and soft as she took the runway. I love that she chose an off the shoulder dress. Olivia is tall and so this really complemented her height.

This little nugget stole the show during the Top 5 Question, professing her interest in #thatguy (AKA - Loren, one of our Official NAM entertainers). But, before she opened her mouth,  she was already gliding across the stage in this lavender gown which features a simple textured pattern on the whole dress and minimal stoning at the waist. It was soft and elegant, which made her witty attitude all that much more of surprise! Well done, Brielle Skye!
Caitlyn Kramer's Johnathan Kayne dress is a black crushed velvet, strapless dress. It was elegant and simple, but the multi-tier ruffles created a super trendy vibe. I love that with Caitlyn's dark skin - she took a chance on wearing a dark dress because it totally payed off and she captured the title of All-American Miss.

Back in my pageant day, everyone was chemically straightening their hair and a chi flat iron was in every pageant girls tool kit ...and by everyone I do mean yours truly! HELLO! Now, this really isn't just a NAM trend I am seeing, but it's becoming a pageant trend. (Hello Miss USA) Girls are rocking their natural locks, and even doing so for ALL hair textures..... and I am totally here for it. These were some of my FAVES (also, I too have naturally curly hair that I haven't worn natural since college....and I wish my natural curls were as pretty as these girls'!)

Maranda Saltzman snagged the 1st Runner-Up spot with her bouncy curls and bouncy attitude. Not only was she polished,  she won Miss Personality -and you can see why!

Our New National Teen,  Faith Pierre-Charles, has been competing in NAM for a few years and I have never seen her rock her natural curls. In fact, I didn't even recognize her for the first few days. But, Faith came to NAM this year being authentically herself, from her hairstyle to her paid off. 

 Briyah Love Nobles is the epitome of "authentic and natural." I remember her as a Jr. Pre-Teen at Nationals a few years ago and her bold personality and ability to stay authentic to herself is no surprise why she won the National Pre-Teen title this year  - she celebrated her authentic self, from what was in her heart to on top of her head ;)!

 Miss Oregon was a STAND OUT on stage! I loved everything about her styling - hair, gown, you name it. She oozed style and poise and the judges saw it, too - which snagged her a Top 5 placement!

 Hosanna Hales, Miss Oklahoma Teen, has naturally curly hair, and she always wear it back (I don't think I have ever seen it down since she started as a Jr. Teen with us a few years ago), which I think is a unique and rare look. It is uncommon to see girls with natural curls pull their hair up and off their face, but this look has become her signature and I think it's worth highlighting for that reason alone!

Miss Iowa Teen, Olivia went bold with the fro. I remember her wearing her hair like this at state during preliminary Formal Wear competition and when she walked out - the whole audience gasped (seriously). I think time stood still as she took the stage - she was a beacon of beauty and it was such a fresh look! I am so happy she rocked the same look at Nationals, snagging a Top 12 finish, Runway winner, and Destination Model winner!

Yo, the pants and jumpsuits were here for the party! Interview & Personal Intro competitions saw girls of ALL ages dominate their communication skills while wearing these. I think there is something about pants that makes a girl feel like "I can do anything a man can do" and I'm loving that jumpsuits are becoming power suits. Hello Glass Ceiling, it's a NAM girl....crash!

 Yes to Miss Fresno and this seafoam green, off the shoulder pantsuit! Talk about looking chic, but total #bossbabe!
Miss South Carolina made a clever move with a simple color, high neck line and simple detailing. This really elongated her figure and brought the eyes up to her smile, making us pay attention to what she was saying vs. what she had on. Well done!

 The one shoulder ruffle made a power pant suit feel girly and is totally age appropriate. Loving this look on Miss New York Jr. Teen!

 How precious is Miss Oregon? I'm loving the bow detail at the waist and the coordinating bow detail on the shoe. The ruffled sleeve paired with the bow detailing and soft color kept this fashion trend looking little girl pageant perfect.

 Terri Lynn, Miss Tennesse Jr. Pre-Teen, really went bold with this fabric and print.  The whole plaid/houndstooth fabric/print can come off really heavy and non figure flattering if you don't do it right, but she did. Adding the simple belt accented the look and kicked it up a notch to be even more on trend. The look is youthful, classy, and totally fashion forward. Well done!

Miss Wisconsin Princess, Avrianna Artus, slayed in this adorable 2 piece pant suit.  It was a fresh, new look on the old 2 piece interview suit classic. The bow in her hair helped to keep it age appropriate. It's no wonder this look made its way into the Top 12 at Nationals!

When Miss Jamaica was announced as the winner of Miss World, her runner-ups were more ecstatic than she was...especially Miss Nigeria!!!! If you haven't seen the video, I posted it below and just watch #girlinthegreendress to see what I'm talking about. But, while I swear, I'm not just trying to bring the focus back home on really whats important at NAM...sisterhood and besties! But, this was a year that I saw SERIOUS support and LOVE for one another amongst the girls...on a whole new level. Is this a pageant thing? A generational thing? I'm not sure. But, I want to truly commend each of you girls AND your parents who were at #NAMnationals19 for having the same spirit as #girlinthegreendress and for making COMPASSION, LOVE, SUPPORT, SISTERHOOD...all the goodness ....ON TREND!

Well, that's a wrap on reviewing the hottest trends we saw this Thanksgiving. Will we see you be a trendsetter at next year's #NAMnationals. I sure hope so!

Signing Off in NAM Style,

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Girl, get it together!

2020 is DAYS away....I can't.

But, thankfully NAM has created the NAM 2020 Planner which has everything to help me prepare and "get it together"....or at least feel like I do. It's busy being a State Director, ya'll, and there is a lot of planning and organizing that goes into making the magic happen! So, girl - get it together and get yourself one ASAP!

What I love about the planner. It has TONS of pages (100), it's low cost ($28) and it's custom to NAM (yes, queen!)

Plus, how cute is the inside?!

I am also loving that I can write out my goals. Did you know that is proven that writing or drawing out your goals and dreams helps you to visualize and thus achieve them!

And,  with the contacts section, I can keep important contact info for my namily....but I think this can be helpful for girls raising their sponsor fees. This is a great place to keep track of the contact info for those businesses, family, and friends that you have asked for their support so you can follow up with them, and then send them THANK YOU's afterward. PS - to see all about my THANK YOU'S  - check out my previous blog post HERE

YOU'VE GOT THIS! (And this planner will help you get there!)

Signing Off in NAM Style,

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Photogenic Contest....what are the judges really looking for?

"Soo....The Photogenic Contest. What are the judges looking for? What wins?"

I can't tell you how many times I have been asked this. And, I get it. It's not a contest that is on stage, so people can't see all the entries. Of course, it raises question and people want to enter photos that will win! While this contest is easy to participate in, it's also SURPRISINGLY one of the EASIEST to do well in! So, I thought I would highlight what those judges look for and some tips to accomplish it.

But, before I share that with you, I want to point out a couple of things about the photogenic contest that you may not really be aware of, but can lead to winning additional trophies & prizes:

1. Just by entering 1 photo, you will receive a Photogenic Ribbon 
2. Enter 4 photos and you receive the Portfolio Trophy (Why? Because in the modeling industry - if you were going to "go sees" or auditions, you would be asked to bring your "portfolio." Your portfolio consists of about 4 of your best photos, so by submitting 4 photos - you have a portfolio.) However, each photo is judged separate, thus you are giving yourself 4 chances to win!
3. Each photogenic photo that you submit also earns you 1 point towards the Spirit of America trophy, which will be presented to you ON STAGE! For more details on Spirit of America CLICK HERE
4. By entering both the Optional Photogenic AND Casual Wear Modeling Contests, you will automatically be entering yourself into the Most Promising Model Contest. The winner receives a trophy, recognized on stage, and a Golden Ticket to the National Pageant in California! 
5. Remember, Photogenic is Optional and has no bearing on who becomes the next State Queen.

OK OK OK.....So back to what the judges are looking for! comes down to a criteria of 5 things to accomplish a solid photogenic score:

1. Follow the Rules.
If your photo breaks the rules, you aren't going to have a very good chance of winning this contest. For all the rules on this contest, CLICK HERE

2. Age Appropriate.
This is one of the key RULES, but I can't stress this enough. I can't tell you how many photos get turned in that are not age appropriate. An example is a 7 year old turning in a photo with a FACE FULL OF MAKEUP  (note* - you can wear makeup in your photos for ALL age groups, but it needs to be kept age appropriate) or a TEEN contestant turning in a photo that has her wearing a tiny bikini and standing in a scandalous position. If grandpa has a difficult time looking at the photo, so will our judges.

3. Quality
The Quality of the photo is important First, the actual photo. Avoid photos that are grainy, pixelated, or low resolution. This prevents the judges from seeing YOU. A nice, clear, crisp photo will do much better. Pay attention to lighting. YOu can take a well lit photo with your i-phone these days (tip - stand FACING the sun or light. The person taking the photo should stand with their back against it). Avoid putting filters on your photo. While they are cute for social media - this would not get you a professional modeling job. Also, you are required to submit a physical photo - print this out on photo paper and avoid printing this out at home on regular paper. If you were a professional model and went to a casting call for Fashion Week, would you submit a photo on printer paper? So, don't do it at NAM either.

4. Posing
Turn in a photo with a flattering pose. The judges are going to ask this somebody I would see on the cover of a magazine or a brochure? Make sure that we can clearly see you and that you are the only one in the photo. Avoid submitting photos with your family, friends, and pets. They did not enter the photogenic contest - YOU have.

5. Style
Any style of photo works. ANY! Professional works. A great photo that your dad takes in the backyard works. (I was 1st runner up at NATIONALS with a photo my Dad took on our porch!) A great selfie works. Full body shots work. Outdoor works. School Photo Works. Senior Photo Works. Headshots work. Color works. Black and white works. Do not focus on the style so much...because they all work (as long as they are keeping in with the rules).

Winning Examples:

You DO NOT have to have a professionally taken photo to win this contest. But, if you are looking to get some professional photos that you can also use for this contest, our National Photoshoot Sponsor is Brittany Link Photography. Our National Queens get flown to Houston every year for their official photoshoot with the top hair and makeup artists, wardrobe, etc...and Brittany takes behind the camera! She's also a NAM alumni and an award winning photographer who knows all about the NAM photogenic contest!

Can't wait to see what photos you turn in at this year's State Pageant!

Signing Off in NAM Style!

Thursday, May 2, 2019


Sooooo.....did you know that NAM is on Pinterest? Yes, PINTEREST ( you know, that app that you pin your favorite recipe or outfit to thinking you will go back, but if you are like me - never do! LOL!)

Anyways, for YEARS NAM has been on Pinterst and has 35 boards that are helpful to you preparing for your State Pageant! Thats right....35 tips, tricks, tools, and links to help you BE and DO your best!!! I know what you are thinking - how have I not checked this out before (PS - the website to it is on the back of your Magazines)

With NAM State Pageants gearing up this month, I thought it was a perfect time to help you NAM girls brush up on your being pageant ready by using this beneficial resource!


But, also Pinterest has other great tools to help you be your best that you may not find on the NAM Pinterest and here are some of my faves:

How to Win NAM Podcast by Pageant Planet
FREE Practice Interview Questions (some of these are aimed for much older contestants) Also - NAM will not ask about politics, religion, or boys in the interview.
5 Things in Winning Personal Interview
NAM Resume Tips

Signing Off In NAM Style!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Winning Personal Introduction from Pageant Access

My girl, Dani Walker (NAM Alumni & Miss Montana USA 2018) also hosts one of my VLOGS - Pageant Access! I love following Dani because of all the great tips she shares on everything pageants! Recently, I came across video and thought it would be helpful to share with the NAMily. Regardless of it's your first or fifth time competing at NAM, we can always use tips on how to do our best with Public Speaking! Check it out!

Hope you found that helpful! Keep practicing that Personal Intro and you are going to SLAY!

Signing Off in NAM Style!

Monday, April 1, 2019

TheBeautyByBella Vlogger takes on NAM!

Last year, video influencer TheBeautyByBella (who calls her followers Diamond Babes) competed in her very first pageant and it was the NAM Texas Jr. Teen Pageant. Of course, like any influencer - she vlogged her whole experience! But, this amazing NAM State Finalist has quite the following for viewers in sharing her beauty and makeup tips! Like, Im talking - hello James Charles!  She's so talented that I had to share with the NAMily! So, today I wanted to feature Bella and 2 awesome videos that might be helpful for all NAM girls, both new and returning.

First Video: Follow Bella on her NAM journey as a NEW, 1st time NAM State Finalist HERE!

Second Video: Check out this SICK (is that still a I using that appropriately?) makeup tutorial on how to create this BOLD, Rainbow, Butterfly Look (Listen - I would NOT encourage you to do create this look for NAM competition...but how fun is this!)

Be sure to follow Bella on her vlog and best of luck to Bella in the 2019 NAM Texas State Pageant!

Signing Off in NAM Style!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Holy Hairstyles!

I've been throwing it back to past over the past few blogs and revisiting the transformation of style throughout the past 17 years of NAM. Today I thought we would take a stroll down the evolution of....THE HAIR! And I gotta tell ya, this blog was my fave! It's funny how iconic hairstyles are. Think about it, even though FRIENDS has not been on the air for over 20 years, "THE RACHEL" is still something I think every generation can understand the reference and appreciate it!

2003 - 2005
In the early days, the style was VAST depending on your age. The curlier the better for the little girls, with matching bows or fancy up-dos!

While older girls kept it super simple and almost BONE straight. It seemed like once your turned 13, you were automatically gifted a hair straightener and it was the one item you could not live without! (I clearly did not get the message, as I kept curling my hair. Yep, that's me in the middle!)

2006 - 2007
I introduce you to the return of "the bang" It seemed like EVERYONE - both younger and older girls were rockin' the bangs" Also, it seems like - I once again, was behind on the style as I didn't cut my bangs until 2013 (yep - that's me in the giant Barbie necklace)

I like to call this the year of the "side sweep." Girls were sweeping one side of their hair behind one ear and pinning it back with poppy pins. They usually complemented it with soft, big curls. But, straight hair was also just as common. I think girls dug it because it was elegant, but worked well with EVERY age division and seemed relatively easy to do.

2010 - 2011
Then came "the wand" I was first introduced to the wand by Sarah Rose Summers, who is the current Miss USA. But, a then 15 year old Sarah showed me how she kept super tight curls throughout her hair ALL day long. It was a curling iron that had tapered at the bottom and had no clamp. You would wrap your hair around it and then hold it. I can't tell you how many times girls burned their fingers doing this!

2012 - 2013
After the hype of the wand, girls were settling for soft, loose curls and the center part became "a thing." Ironically - girls were still using the wand to create the curls and then brushing it out. But, a new technique came about. Stylists were figuring out how to curl hair with a a straighter. Yep, they started at the top of the crown, clamped down on a patch of hair, and wrapped the hair around it - just like they had with the wand. Then they slowly releases and pulled the straighter down. Combing the hair out with a soft bristled brush and voila!

2014 - 2016
"The Swoop" had always been a pageant staple...since the 80's. Some variation of it will probably never go out of the style in pageantry, but it was REALLY prominent over the span of these 2 years. I can't tell you the number of girls that I saw in rehearsals with giant rollers in their hair to give extra body and curl.... and then a clip holding their swoop up right until the moment they went on stage. If you aren't sure what "The Swoop" is, its when your hair is parted to one side and the swoop is the side where your hair swoops UP and away from your face. It is ALMOST always met with loose curls of some sort and it seemed like EVERY division was rocking it!

2017 - 2018
AU NATURALE seems to have been the theme over the past 2 years, with it really being prominent in 2018. I can't tell you the number of girls that were putting down the hair tools and chemicals and going with what God gave them...whatever that is! And, this wasn't just on the NAM stage, but almost every stage. This past year, I went to the Miss Universe Pageant in Bangkok and the women that were taking the international stage were rocking the most natural hair styles. Now listen - let's be clear - they weren't just waking up in the morning and getting on stage with bed head, but you get what Im saying! It seems that there is no such thing any longer as a "pageant do." Anything and everything is acceptable. Pageants were created so young women could feel good about who they are and what they want to accomplish...and having a hairstyle that makes you feel that way is just the cherry on the cake!

I am certain that 2019 will build off the all natural hairstyles we've seen over the past few years. The hair industry is always changing, beauty video tutorials have millions of viewers, and girls are feeling more liberated in their beauty choices than ever before. I'm just waiting for a girl to win wearing a scruncci...then I know life will come full circle!

Signing off in NAM Style!