By Dr. Stephanie Raye (www.PageantToPhD.com)
The most important beauty tool is your smile! With a genuine smile, an “average” face is made beautiful and a beautiful face is made irresistible.
As simple as it is, it’s surprising how often people forget the power of smiling. It’s free, it’s easy, and it helps connect people like nothing else. You want to be yourself and have your personality shine through? Then smile!
We could all stand to be more generous with our smiles, but as a pageant contestant you have a lot to lose if you don’t watch the expression on your face. If you don’t shine your brightest, they’ll pick the lovely contestant who does.
How to proceed? Notice.
Start paying attention to the people around you. And start noticing your own smiles or practice in the mirror. See what a fake smile looks like compared to a real one. People can spot a fake. Notice how this looks in you and in other people. A real smile generates from inside, lights up your eyes, and engages more of the muscles of your face.
It’s true that in a beauty pageant you have to smile often and you might not always feel like you are beaming from inside. Especially in a long on-stage segment, your face can even get tired as you wait for all the contestants to parade. And you never know when eyes (or a camera) will be on you, so you want to have ways to give your muscles a rest.
What to do? Practice!
Start by smiling more around the house. Smile at your loved ones and pets. Let yourself smile at any and all of life’s little joys. Slowly, you’ll increase your smile endurance. Of course, it’s easier to smile at the familiar. So…
Practice smiling at new people, like folks you normally don’t acknowledge at work. Smile at those you pass while you are out and about. If you don’t tend to smile with clerks at stores, for instance, start doing it. Look them in the eye, see them as a real person with folks in their lives that love them and smile.
Eye Contact and Smile Lines Equal Real Beauty
Indeed, real eye contact is the most important ingredient in a smile. Your eyes show what’s in your heart. Do what you love. If you don’t always love it, remember why you are doing what you are doing, find the joy in the moment and in the person in front of you. Cultivate that habit and you’ll never have to fake a smile again.
The more you smile, the more you’ll build the many muscles it takes to do it. And don’t worry about smile lines. There are all kinds of creams and treatments to help with those over the years and, trust me, you’ll want to keep some of them to show you are real and have lived a happy life. Nothing is more beautiful than a face that has aged gracefully with smile lines. Compare that to the face of someone who has held back smiles, frequently frowned, or habitually knitted her brow in worry or fear.
Cultivate a Range of Positive Expressions
As you practice, notice that you probably have a range of different genuine smiles. Noticing is the first step to being able to recreate the “best” choice when needed. I don’t mean being fake, but being in control of your face when the situation calls for it.
In other words, while you are in your pageant interview, a big toothy grin may not always be right for a situation or your best look. Embrace your big glowing smile, yes, and usually lead with that. And also learn to smile with fewer teeth, or close-lipped. If a question (or your platform) has serious content you want to be able to shift to a smile that shows compassion and understanding rather than glamour.
On a related note to smiling, learn to keep a pleasant expression on your face with gently upturned lips. It may feel awkward at first, but, again, it’s a matter of training your face. Your lips may not actually be upturned, that’s fine, but if you aim to feel that a bit inside, then chances are your face will look more alive and your eyes more active.
Why is this important?
If you watch people closely (and I do!), you’ll notice that when they are listening to others their face often goes slack. They might be interested or not, but they don’t look it. And from a beauty perspective slack facial muscles tend to make us look tired or older. So cultivate the awareness and skill of keeping a gentle lift in your face to optimize communicating the interest and excitement I hope you feel (much better than faking!) and look your most beautiful.
Remember, this isn’t just about increasing your chances to take home the pageant crown. Yes, smiling can make the difference. It’s an important life skill as you will interview with and interact with people in all domains of your life.
And, remember as a title holder you’ll be meeting many new people. Most will like you, some won’t. That’s fine, as a graceful pageant queen you will earn your crown every day by keeping some version of a neutral-to-positive attitude about negative people or events and softening hard hearts with your genuine words and smiles.
Copyright 2012 Dr. Stephanie Raye (www.PageantToPhD.com) You are welcome to use this article, in whole or in logical part and appropriate context, in your newsletters, emails, or websites as long as you properly quote any segments and, in all cases of use, whole or part, acknowledge Dr. Stephanie Raye as author and provide the link to www.PageantToPhD.com . (And if you agree to stop doing so upon request if Dr. Raye sees usage she deems as unprofessional or inappropriate.) Wishing you success! Please stay in touch with your stories and events.