Angel Wood Know how to navigate the world of pageantry

I competed in Miss Utah Tech University Oct. 24, 2023, and one of my favorite areas of competition was presenting my evening wear. It allowed me the opportunity to show off my style, confidence and personality to a panelist of judges. Angel Wood | Sun News Daily

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Question: Are pageants worth competing in?

Dear readers,

Extravagant gowns. Public speaking skills. Interviews in front of panelists. Ninety-second talents. Performances. A better you. Welcome to the world of pageantry. 

Before I entered the pageant world, all I knew about these competitions came from the movie “Miss Congeniality” and the TV show “Toddlers and Tiaras.” From watching both of these, I gathered that pageants were toxic, damaging and a complete joke. 

How could any parent justify enrolling their child in a pageant that teaches them that physical appearance is the sole measure of worth and that falling short of victory means they lack value? Or worse, who would compete in pageants if people knew they were potentially dangerous as shown in the plot of “Miss Congeniality?”

Well, like the famous quote, “You can’t believe everything you see on TV,” this is no exception. There is way more to pageants than what meets the eye. Since entering the pageant world, everything negative I thought I knew about pageants is long gone.

Last semester I competed in Miss Utah Tech University, a scholarship competition1 part of the Miss America Organization. What led me on this journey was a desire to be more confident and be an example for my little sister and future daughters. Not to mention, a shot at representing Utah Tech and competing in Miss Utah seemed pretty amazing to me. 

As I experienced this opportunity, I found that it was anything but toxic and damaging. In fact, it taught me more about who I am and who I want to be. It taught me how important sisterhood and connections are throughout college. Most importantly, it taught me how to be confident on a stage, in an interview room and throughout everyday life.

These scholarship competitions can be scary. I know a big thing that made me hesitate to participate was performing a talent because, at the time, I felt I had none. I didn’t grow up dancing, singing or playing an instrument, which made up for about 80% of the talents everyone else was doing. 

What I did grow up doing was speaking in various leadership roles within the community, school and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This was a talent that I found to be extremely useful as I entered the scholarship competition because I was able to share a motivational speech as my talent. Everyone has a talent. Some may need to think outside the box for ideas on how to showcase their talent, but don’t let this scare you. 

Another thing that can draw people away from competing is public speaking skills. Most pageants require public speaking for different areas of the competition. For example, Miss Utah Tech had an onstage question and interview portion that required participants to think on the spot to answer questions professionally while still exemplifying their personalities. 

As someone who has learned to love public speaking, this experience improved my social skills as I now feel comfortable speaking to audiences due to the immense amount of preparation that came from this pageant. 

One of the biggest things I struggled with during Miss Utah Tech was constantly comparing myself and competing with the other participants. This is something that many participants will face at least once throughout their pageant journey, but remember, the only person you are competing with is who you were yesterday. No one is better than you, and you are not better than anyone else, so let this ring true as you compete to become a better you. 

If you’re considering entering a scholarship competition or pageant, I strongly encourage you to take the leap because it’s an experience you won’t regret. The benefits of participating in an event like this are numerous and will give you confidence while leading you to the road to success. 

There are many ways to get involved in the pageant world at Utah Tech. Some of these opportunities include:

There are even more scholarship competitions located around the community including Miss Southern Utah, Miss Greater Zion, Miss Washington County, Miss Red Rock and more. Many of the current titleholders of these competitions are students from Utah Tech, so if they can do it, you can too.

If you would rather learn more about pageants before competing, there are many ways you can still get involved. After participating in Miss Utah Tech, I was a judges chair for Miss Native and a panelist for Mr. Trailblazer. Both experiences gave me an inside look at what it takes to compete and what is looked at when scoring the contestants.

As I am currently on the road to competing in Trailblazer Queen April 9, I know that my prior experience with competing at Miss Utah Tech has prepared me for this exciting journey ahead. I may not win the crown, sash and scholarship, but I have already won something far greater–a lifetime of unforgettable memories, personal growth and confidence. You can win this too. 


Angel Wood

If you are seeking advice on something, message me on Instagram at @angel.utahtech.

  1. The Miss American Organization prefers to use the words “scholarship completion” rather than “pageant” due to the negative connotation that can come from pageantry. These words can be used interchangeably. ↩︎