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!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Throwback to our Production Number Outfits!

The last blog post, I featured how much formal wear gowns have revolutionized over the past few years, specifically the past 17 years of NAM. But, today I wanted to feature some fun throwbacks and showcase our Production Number Outfits.

State Production Number T-shirt:
The very first year of NAM, we had a Red t-shirt and since then girls have worn light blue, Kelly green, purple and a million different shades of pink!

A lot of people ask me how we decide what colors or graphics go on the shirt each year.

True Story: We have actually googled what the most popular color is for that year! We haven't done this EVERY year, but this has definitely occurred!! LOL! Also, we try to think of colors that will pop on stage and that might be the type of t-shirt that a girl DOES not already have in her closet.

Sate Directors used to vote from a selection of graphics put together by the NAM National Office's graphic arts department. But, for the past few years - we have let the GIRLS decide...after all, its YOU GIRLS who wear the shirt (even though - I totally snag one myself each year!) So, at each National Pageant in California over Thanksgiving - the girls attending the National Pageant get to vote from 4 choices of graphics. The winner is what is printed on the shirt the following year at State Pageants! In the photos below, the purple shirt and the pink shirt with the "LOVE NAM" graphic are what NAM girls selected as their favorite design!



National Production Number Outfit:
Our National's Production Number Outfit has evolved the most over the years. In the first few 12 years, the outfit consisted of a 2 piece black lycra ensemble. The bottoms were always black pants, sometimes with beading up one pant leg. But, the top changed from year to year. Sometimes, older girls saw a one shoulder, other years - it was a halter. I remember one year it being a long sleeve top with shoulder cut outs and bling on the top. The younger girls had a a top that changed colors each year, but always tied in black. A few yeas ago, popular pageant designers wanted to start partnering with NAM and since then we have seen Mon Cheri, Sherri Hill, and AshleyLauren as Official Production Number Outfit Sponsors, dressing our girls in adorable cocktail dresses, each year with a different style.

Fun Fact: we still pay tribute to the original "black dance outfit," and we always ask that the designer still tie in that classic color to their design.


Wondering what the NAM 2019 State Pageant T-shirt & Nationals Opening Number Cocktail dress will be? I guess you'll just have to be there to find out! Stay tuned!

Signing off in NAM Style!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

And just like that, it's 2019!

It's crazy that it's already 2019 and just like that NAM turns 17 years old! Now, that NAM is an official teenager (and she's quite a fashionable one at that), I thought it would be fun to look back over the past 17 years...of NAM fashion! From Formal Wear Gowns to Opening Number Outfits, it's been a wild ride watching not only the lives of young women transform through their involvement in this program, but also the fashions! For now, lets focus on my favorite competition...Formal Wear! And let's see just how much the Fashions have changed over the past 17 years!

In the early years, looking back it seemed that there weren't a lot of dress options out there. Dresses were simpler, colors more bland (lots of black, white, light pink), fabric was a little less bold compared to the options that exist now, and shapes were kept minimal.

Finally, as pageants grew, so did designers and we started to see MacDuggal, Sherri Hill, Tony Bowls,  and Jovani dominate pageant stages. As competition amongst designers has grown, designers have had to find ways to diversify themselves and create bold and different gowns...because nobody wants to look the girl next to them. Finally, we began to see dresses take shape. However, we still saw designers struggle to play with color. Pinks, blues, and whites seemed to be the only colors that were seen on not just the NAM stage, but pageant stages across the globe.

Around 2009, we saw chiffon take over and it seemed like everyone was wearing that fabric for their gown, which was playful and elegant, but limiting in what designers could do with dresses.


Then came the year of the pink in 2011. Different shades from red to light didn't matter, it seemed that pink was the monochromatic color of the year!

But, then in 2012 - it was all about the blues and greens. Different shades and styles, but it dominated non the less.

In 2013, we saw designer Sherri Hill start to explore with cut outs and printed/dyed fabric, which was really exciting and a step forward in the gown evolution.

In 2016, Princess, Jr. Pre-Teen & Pre-Teen style dresses really started to escalate. Designers finally cut loose and everyone rejoiced! LOL! Skirts had texture (ruffles, feathers, rosettes) and no longer were dresses one solid color, but we saw prints and fabrics on the younger girls that we had never really seen before. Finally, designers gave the little girls the breath of fresh air they had wanted and ability to really express their personality, which NAM loves!

In 2017, older girl dresses took on a world of their own, as focus became put on the structure and architecture of the dress. We saw dresses truly start to "take shape" and the skirted cape or peplum became all the rage...and has continued still to today. Ironically, this style is truly a throwback to the 90's when this style was see on the Miss USA & Miss America stage. I guess we can say design always comes back around.

This past year (2018), was the year of the cap sleeve. Everywhere we turned, it seemed that girls were wearing a sleeve of some type, specifically the "cap sleeve." Aside from this trend, we also saw BOLD colors - greens and neon yellows, florescent pinks and it was glorious!

Also, this was the first year at NAM that rules for Formal Wear changed! Older girls could wear 2- piece dresses and trains were welcomed for all age divisions. As style changes, so do our rules so that we can accommodate both the individual style of our contestants and what is available from designers.

I can't wait to see what this seasons brings! But, what really excites both myself and the judges at NAM is girls being able to showcase THEIR unique personality in their wardrobe. After all, THAT is what both Fashion AND Pageants are ALL about! And, Im loving that as long as its age-appropriate - ANYTHING GOES!

For rules and guidelines for NAM Formal Wear, review your Info Magazine #1!

Signing Off in NAM Style!
XOXO - Breanne