Auditions, Blog

How to Know a Fake Beauty Pageant

How do you know a fake beauty pageant? In my early pageant days I got scammed into participating in a pageant that promised huge cash prize winnings. I did not know better, and despite placing second in that pageant, wasn’t paid a cent of the promised cash. 

Sadly, the same people that ‘scammed’ us still organize pageants to this day. One day, when the time is right, I might be able to share that story. 

I get questions all the time via my Instagram page @beautypageantske about how to tell if a pageant is legitimate or not. Contestants also report to me incidents similar to mine, which I can only but empathise. 

What is a fake beauty pageant?

Con  artistes behind fake or scam beauty pageant may:

  • Advertise widely but not hold the event at all
  • Collect registration fee then disappear 
  • Refuse to remit the advertised prize money and gifts
  • Refuse to fulfil promises they made

I have thus compiled these tips that will help you gauge if a pageant is legitimate. While there are pageants that may meet all this criteria but still be fake, a lot of the fake beauty pageants are easy to filter out using these steps: 

How to know a fake beauty pageant

1. Website

Most legitimate pageants have a working website with all the info you need to know about the pageant, including the owners, past winners, pre and post pageant activities and contact details.

2. Social media

Are the social handles working? Through the social media you can gauge the overall aesthetic of the pageant and have a look at its activities. Consistent posting is a pointer that the pageant is serious about how it is perceived.

3. How long it has been running

Be very careful about participating in pageants running for the first time. Pageants like the Big 3 have an established reputation, that’s why there is no question about their legitimacy.

Most illegitimate pageants are one-off ill-organised experiments whose owners dip the moment they have made a bad name for themselves. They always resurface using a different pageant name.

4. Past winners

Speak to past winners and have them tell you what the pageant and their reign has been like.

5. Past  contestants

While the winner might sugarcoat some things, contestants (some who may probably be bitter from not winning) are more likely to give you a clearer, more blunt picture of what competing in the pageant is like.

Also read: How to Win Pageants While on a Tight Budget 

6. Check with the sponsors

Sometimes fake pageant organizers just place the names or random companies as sponsors to look legitimate. You can confirm with these companies whether they really are sponsoring that particular pageant.

7. Spelling errors on the pageant poster

This is not just about pageant sponsors, but generally institutions that care a lot about their image will avoid obvious spelling errors in their poster. Correct spelling means there are people in the organization who value the small things.

Granted, we all make mistakes from time to time. However, pageant spelt as ‘pegent’ in a poster, for instance, is a pointer of irresponsibility and nonchalance.

8. Venue of the pageant

Most backstreet pageants get held in questionable venues, like night clubs where the models will be open to heckling and being touched by drunk revellers.

9. Prize money

Illegitimate pageants lure models into participating with ridiculous cash prizes.

The Kenyan pageant industry is still young, and from my objective and honest observation, the best most legitimate pageants can do is 50k for the winner. Of course there are some that give more beyond that, but it is a rare occurrence.

Thus, if a new pageant promises 100k for the winner (not grand prize to be shared among the winners) and a car, and other lavish gifts, start asking lots of questions. Sometimes you just have to be practical to avoid being conned. 

10. Communication

The way the pageant representatives speak either on call or in WhatsApp groups tells a lot about the pageant. Most con men do not appreciate questions because the more questions you ask, the closer you get to finding out their lies. So they mask this with a lot of arrogance and dismissal.

11. Proper contact details

A legitimate pageant will list proper contact details and the people who speak to you won’t sound clueless. They will answer all your questions and furnish you with more information.

While it is important to ask pressing questions, remember to be respectful in the manner you ask questions, because this will also determine whether and how you get answered.

Kindly remember that a pageant organisation gets so many enquiries a day, so go straight to the point. Going to their DMs or WhatsApp and messaging ‘Hi’ will not get you an answer.

12. Proper social media handles

A good pageant should have proper social media handles and the pages should be updated routinely. Through the social media pages you can actually find out what the reigning Kings and Queens are doing. A social media page which is dead means the winners have no post pageant activities or they just do not care.

13. A working website

Information that hasn’t been posted on the socials should be on the website. A good website shows legitimacy and seriousness on another level.

14. Speak to former contestants and winner

The winner will most likely paint a rosy picture of the pageant because she won, the other contestants will be more forthcoming with the true Information and critique of the pageant. From the two you will get the overall picture of the pageant, the good and the bad.

15. Find out the real owner of the pageant

Last year Miss Universe ownership changed, and they made a big deal out of it. Leadership equates to accountability, thus is is very important to know who is behind every pageant.

Most scam pageants are organized by the same same people who simply change the name of the pageant or go to a different town.

A legitimate pageant should be registered under a company or business name. Such information should be made available on websites of serious pageants. 

16. Intuition

This is the most important part of all of this. If you feel something is off, then best believe it is off. Whenever people come to ask me if I know a particular pageant and if it is legit, I simply tell them to drop the idea and wait for another pageant, especially if it is a first time thing.

Why do I say this?

For you to come to ask me if a pageant is okay, means you have noticed something is amiss, and maybe you are just too scared to admit to yourself that the pageant is a sham. 

Most people who decide to push through with the pageant, always come back to tell me they wish they listened.

I know how badly sometimes we want to be part of something, and you badly want things to work out. I have been in that position. But these cons are counting on your vulnerability and desperation, that is the power they hold above you. What has always worked for me is to pray for discernment, and walk away from things that sound even mildly suspicious. The truth about how messed up the pageant is always reveals itself in no time, and something better ALWAYS comes along. 

I hope you enjoyed this and learned something, and wish you nothing but the most legitimate and rewarding pageant experiences. 

Do you want to win your next pageant? 

Most beauty pageants are won during boot camp- that training period you have before the pageant final night can make or break your pageant bid, and that it what most contestants do not know!

My Bootcamp Guide gives you insight on what goes wrong during boot camp that makes some frontrunners fail to even make it to the semi-finals, and how to be your absolute best, authentic self and have a real shot at winning a pageant. Order today via our mail beautypageantskenya@gmail.

Pageant boot camp guide
Pageant boot camp guide

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