In pageant trenches: Makeup mishaps, interview practice

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I’ve been interviewing and landing jobs for over a decade, but makeup is my downfall.

With D-Queen preparation workshops taking place every Tuesday except for spring break, I thought I was ready for the headshots and interview practice, until I got off work Monday at 10 p.m. and realized I had no foundation makeup.

As someone who is competing in a pageant, you’d think I’d have all the makeup essentials. However, you would be wrong.

For one thing, since my fiancé and I have been together for over three and a half years, I have gotten lazy in the makeup department. I usually enjoyed fairly clear skin, and I found 15 minutes of sleep more valuable than looking my polished best.

So why did I suddenly feel the need for foundation? I have eczema.

Eczema is a condition that makes your skin both red and itchy, which left untreated can get infected and spread over your body. I am one of those unlucky people who developed eczema as an adult, rather than as a child. I have several siblings and a niece who suffer from it, but until about a year ago, I was itch-free.

However, my eczema is triggered by stress, and since I am full-time student graduating this semester, working two part-time jobs, all while writing for the student paper and looking for future employment, I understand why my body decided to have a stress-induced eczema flare-up.

But it is on my face of all places, which has been a blow to my vanity.

With all the lotions I apply to my face to keep the skin from cracking, makeup would be inadvisable. It can clog the pores of healthy skin, so I’ve avoided using it to hide my eczema.

However, for the headshots, what the judges will see before I have an interview with them I knew I had to slap on some makeup.

So around 10 p.m. Monday, I frantically searched Smiths’ makeup aisle and finally settled on some liquid foundation and base powder, hoping for the best.


I made it to the Jennings Communication Building contestants’ pictures were taken in studio C – and was happy to get to know some of the other participants. Something we all had in common was that the pageant was a new experience for us, and we wanted to try something different.

As more women joined us, most were friendly. However, maybe it was my own insecurities speaking, but a few girls – your more typical, slender beauty queen-types – answered our greetings with a tight-lipped smile and a measured look before walking away.

There were bound to be some who would see the other contestants as nothing but competition.

My pictures were done quickly as I was there early, and then I headed off to the interview workshop.

Interview workshop

I’m going to be honest: I found the interview workshop a bit boring. Not to slight the presenters; they were funny and had interesting stories to share. It also was good to get a better idea of what the judges were looking for in a D-Queen.

But I’ve been interviewing for over a decade now, and am fairly comfortable with public speaking. So advice like “don’t pick your wedgies while leaving the interview” made for funny stories, but I didn’t find it terribly applicable. However, as there is a significant age and experience range among the participants, I’m sure the interview was necessary for other attendees.

As we were released from the last workshop, the pageant organizers reminded us to learn the group choreography and to have our résumé and essay turned in before the next meeting on March 21.

Just what I need: more homework over spring break.