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10 Ways to Compete in Pageants on a Low Budget

How to Compete in Pageants on a Low Budget

Pageants are an expensive hobby, that goes without saying. Unfortunately, most young people who compete in pageants in Kenya do not have the financial muscle to buy those bespoke outfits, super-glam evening gowns, fancy shoots, shoes and hair.

The passion is there, but the bank account is saying something else. That is why recommend that all beauty queens should really take pageant financial literacy classes so they do not go into debt trying to chase crowns. Here is how to compete in pageants on low budget.

How to compete in pageants on low budget

Draw up a budget

You cannot plan anything if you do not know how much you are working with. How much can you afford, what is your limit? This will give you an overall plan.

List the things you need

List the things you will need to purchase or obtain with their prices. The thing with pageants is, most of the money will actually be spent on miscellaneous things – the things you never really foresee but are just as important.

Cross things off your list

How does the total of the things you have listed compare to your budget? My guess is that it is way above your budget. It is time to cross things off your list.

Do you really need three new gowns, or good one for the pageant night would do? Do you really need a new pair of shoes?

What about photoshoots, can you somehow schedule the evening gown and swimsuit one to be on the same day? Check off everything you do not really need and remain with the most basic ones.

Hire stuff

A new pageant gown can go up to Ksh 18,000 and that may be your whole budget. But do you know there are places that hire evening gowns, and also there are queens who hire out their pageant outfits?

Hire more buy less, you can get a good gown for as little as Ksh 3000 or even less. Pageant Shop Kenya (on Instagram as @pageantshopke) hires out pageant outfits for every category.

Get creative

Do you really need to buy an outfit when you can make one? The creative outfits category is a very popular category with Kenyan pageant organizers, and these outfits can be expensive to obtain.

Why not just invite friends over and together make a cute creative outfit instead of buying one?

Market Wednesdays

Every Wednesday, we host Pageant Market Wednesdays via our Instagram page (@beautypageantske) and display pageant items for sale sent by our fans who no longer use them.

The items range from shoes, props for traditional outfits like shields, gourds, Maasai accessories, suits, cocktail dresses and the like. You might just get what you need and very cheaply there.

Talk to former contestants

Ask them if they can sell/hire their outfits instead of you having to buy new things. Some of them may even let you borrow them.

Buy second-hand shoes

There is a pair of pageant platform heels I bought at Tom Mboya in 2015, a day to my Miss University competition, at Ksh 500. I only stopped wearing those heels because I grew tired of them, otherwise they are as strong and stable as ever.

I wouldn’t usually advise anyone to go for secondhand shoes, but I am not blind to the financial constraints that pageant contestants experience. You have to do what you have to do, and if push comes to shove don’t feel bad about getting cheaper alternatives.

You can get good stable heels from Tom Mboya Street, Latema road (Odeon), Bus Station and the area in front of Savanis on a good day (or night because street vendors mostly operate at night because of kanjos).

Partner with upcoming designers

Here is a hack, do not ask the designers to give you their stuff for free, remember these people are also trying to earn a living and they cannot give every model freebies.

Ask them instead to give you reasonable discounts in exchange of mentions, marketing them on the pageant stage and via your socials and modelling for them for free. Everybody wins this way.

Start early

Pageant stuff become more expensive when they are bought a few days to the pageant – it is in the constitution. Go check.

Last minute pageant shopping is when you realize that the shop that has always sold good shoes suddenly does not have your size, all the evening gown don’t fit and the pageant is in TWO days!

From the moment you make up your mind to compete in a pageant, you should always be on the look out for outfits with good deals. See an earring that will look good at the boot camp and it is cheap? Get it. A good pair of shoes though the pageant is months away? Buy it.

Build your collection and closet gradually. By the time the pageant draws near, you will be needing very few things.

Also remember, pageants are more than outfits and glam. So what if you do not have the best evening gown in the competition? How many people have had the most expensive gowns and still not won? And why would we waste our time practicing for pageants if winning them just meant having the most expensive outfits?

Be brave, what you need to win is in you, not outside you.

Now go out there and slay, my Queen.

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