We welcomed Hannah for an interview to discover more about her pageant journey, her passion for coaching and some fabulous top tips for all contestants.
How did you pick your coaches and whilst preparing for internationals, did you get a coach/what made you pick them?
When I first started pageantry, there were no pageant coaches around that I knew of in 2010. I learnt a lot from experience and my feedback from each pageant, watching different pageant finals and reading up! I love reading about pageants, even if all the information was heavily geared towards US pageants, which was why I wrote, “The Ultimate Pageant Handbook” to make sure that this time round, girls in pageants had something that was UK based and gave you all the information you need!
When preparing for internationals, I seeked advice from my directors and studied the pageant finals but wanted to make sure that I put my best self forward, which I did whilst carrying my first child and competing with a newborn. I had that determination and internationals were going to get the best version I could give them! I would have loved to book coaching at that time, but there were bigger priories in my life and by the time it came to my fourth international, I had started coaching others so I didn’t feel comfortable being coached as I didn’t want it to be a conflict of interest.
What makes for a good coach?
For me, a good coach is someone who has empathy, knowledge and passion for pageantry.
I feel a good coach for pageantry needs to have success within the pageant world, having experienced the highs and lows and made those mistakes, so that they can give the best to their clients. A great knowledge of different systems, whether it’s research or experiencing it by competing. Winning the crown itself is great, but it’s the journey to get you there. You need to be 100 percent happy with that journey, what you offer to pageants, your purpose within pageantry and how you will put this into practice.
A good coach is always striving for perfection, adapting with the ever changing pageant industry, always looking to improve their teaching techniques and what they can offer their clients.
Lastly a good coach needs to be personable, you need to get along with your coach and trust them, to know that, yes they will be friendly and encourage and support you, but they will also be honest as you aren’t paying for a friend, you are paying to get the best out of yourself and learn from the best!
What made you want to become a coach?
I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, which was why when I completed my degree in Classical History, I was going to undertake my PCGE and teach but life took me on a different path and I actually did all my personal training qualifications and began coaching and teaching exercise instead! I qualified in 2013 and you learn all the skills needed to help someone achieve their best version of themselves, which can be applied to pageantry since there are no formal qualifications to be a pageant coach as such. I’ve been in pageants since 2010 and started coaching local girls and boys in glitz and nature since 2015 but only really opened my books in 2019 to the whole pageant world with great success, with clients taking national titles and placings.
For me, it’s seeing that change from the start to the end of the training, the growth and development, knowing that I added that little extra sparkle with training, coaching, knowledge and friendship. I want all my girls to win of course, but for some, even just placing is an incredible achievement as we all know only one girl can take the crown.
I wanted to be a coach people could trust, to relate to, and for those who have followed my journey within pageantry, I have overcome a lot of obstacles to get where I am today. I’m proud to be a plus size pageant coach who has won at internationals, who is still competing in pageantry to not only better myself, but to be able to give more to my clients, but also to be affordable for everyone who wishes to gain that little bit extra knowledge within the pageant world.
And what pageant tips can you give to fellow pageant queens reading in preparation for their pageant?
You need to be prepared, write everything down and create a plan of how you are going to prepare for this pageant. From appearances, your platform, social media as well as your preparation in regards to outfits, walks and interviews. A prepared queen is ready for anything!! My top tips for pageantry are:
Make sure you are comfortable with your platform: Don’t pick a platform because it's popular but also sometimes the causes you are promoting can hit a little too close to home and emotionally Crain you. You want a platform that you can raise awareness for, be productive with this platform so have plans of what you can achieve rather than just a few Facebook posts and be passionate, you have to believe in your platform otherwise don’t be afraid to change it!
Don’t get too much inside your head! We always talk about the physical elements of coaching and pageantry but there is a lot of emotional preparation and development that goes into competition prep. Focus on yourself, rather than the competition, don’t be afraid to unfollow and take some time out for your own mental health. Once you are in the right mindset, that crown will be yours!
Practice, practice, practice! Whether it’s hitting some poses on your daily walk, practicing your interview and onstage questions in the bath, you can practice anywhere! Dedicate some given time to it in your schedule so you know that at that time you will pageant prep, whether it's planning your social media posts, coaching sessions or looking/adapting your outfits.
Know what you are talking about. In Interview I always say to write three main points that you want to get across, so rather than focusing on things that you can’t provide much context to, you have three big points that you can talk about. For example, if you created a campaign, you are more likely to focus on talking about that and why you started it, and how you can progress should you win rather than taking part in someone else’s campaign. Look at what showcases the best of your finalists journey and highlight what you can achieve as a queen.
Finally, never stop learning and never change who you are. It’s important to showcase YOU, so learning about yourself and what you can offer is better than trying to fit a mould that doesn’t serve any purpose. Read up on different pageant books, YouTube, podcasts, interviews, there is so much more out there now!